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The Detroit News is reporting that a former Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)  is accusing the congressman of three separate sexual harassment/ unwanted touching incidents.

The victim,  Deanna Maher, who worked for Conyers from 1997 to 2005 in one of his Detroit offices. According to Ms. Maher the three incidents included:

The first instance of harassment happened, Maher said, shortly after the congressman hired her in September 1997 during an event with the Congressional Black Caucus. “I didn’t have a room, and he had me put in his hotel suite,” said Maher, 77, adding that she rejected his offer to share his room at the Grand Hyatt in Washington and have sex.

(…) In the second alleged incident in spring 1998, Maher said she was in the passenger seat while Conyers was driving to Detroit Metropolitan Airport and that he touched her.

“He was trying to feel me up with his right hand,” she said. “I kept pushing his hand away. Then he put his hand on my neck and started trying to tickle me. We were on I-75, and he was driving erratically. I was saved by the bell because we got pulled over by the police for the way he was driving.”

In 1999, at a meeting in Highland Park with ministers, Maher said Conyers “put his hand up my dress and whispered in my ear, ‘I didn’t know you had such great legs.’ ”

Conyers’ attorney Arnold Reed basically called Ms. Maher a liar questioning why she worked for Conyers  for years after the incident.

“I needed to earn a living, and I was 57. How many people are going to hire you at that age?” she said.

Conyers’ status as a leading Democrat deterred her from going public at the time, Maher said, adding she doesn’t have anything to lose now.

“I didn’t report the harassment because it was clear nobody wanted to take it seriously,” she said. “John Conyers is a powerful man in Washington, and nobody wanted to cross him.”

Conyers’ attorney Arnold Reed questioned why Maher would continue to work for Conyers for so many years after the alleged incidents. The lawyer added that Ms. Maher’s charges are uncorroborated, but that’s not exactly true.

Former Detroit Free Press reporter Joel Thurtell said Monday that Maher told him about the alleged abuse at the time, but she didn’t want to go on the record.

“She told me about the sexual harassment claims, but at the time she didn’t feel confident she wouldn’t be hung out to dry and retaliated against,” said Thurtell, who left the Free Press in 2007 and runs a blog, “Joel on the Road.”

As for why she stayed on the job Ms. Maher said honestly, “I needed to earn a living, and I was 57. How many people are going to hire you at that age?” she said.

Conyers’ status as a leading Democrat deterred her from going public at the time, Maher said, adding she doesn’t have anything to lose now.

“I didn’t report the harassment because it was clear nobody wanted to take it seriously,” she said. “John Conyers is a powerful man in Washington, and nobody wanted to cross him.”

Apparently Conyers has a reputation that goes beyond sexually harassing staff. On Sunday’s This Week With Bill Clinton’s former press secretary George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts said female members of the press were all warned about the Detroit Congressman.

Don’t get in the elevator with him, you know, and the whole every female in the press corps knew that, right, don’t get in elevator with him. Now people are saying it out loud. And I think that does make a difference.

John Conyers may be the longest serving member of congress, but based on the revelations of the last few days, that “service” should have ended a long time ago.

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