Currently facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, veteran Congressman Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., will not run for re-election in 2018, according to a family member who now plans to run for his seat.
Ian Conyers, 29, the grandson of Rep. Conyers’ brother, confirmed the news by phone with ABC News early Tuesday. Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator, said his uncle plans to make a formal announcement at 10 a.m. on the Mildred Gaddis radio show. The New York Times was first to report the story.
“He is not resigning. He is going to retire,” Ian Conyers told The New York Times. “His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health.”
The news comes as the 88-year-old Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, faces calls from Capitol Hill for him to step aside due to the allegations. Last week, his attorney, Arnold Reed, said the congressman refused to be “forced out of office.”
Reed said his client denies any wrongdoing.
A dozen House Democrats have called on the representative to step down as Congress looks into sexual misconduct allegations levied against him. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said he should resign, calling the allegations against him “serious, disappointing and very credible.”
The congressman was the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee before he stepped down last week. John Conyers, first elected to the House in 1964, is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The House Ethics Committee announced this month that it would investigate claims of sexual harassment and age discrimination involving the congressman’s staff. John Conyers, who has denied those allegations, said he would cooperate with the probe.
His decision came after BuzzFeed News reported last month that Conyers’ office paid a female aide over $27,000 to quietly settle a wrongful dismissal complaint.
Last week, a former staffer accused John Conyers of making unwanted sexual advances toward her in the 1990s.
The woman, 77-year-old Deanna Maher, alleged that he touched her inappropriately on at least three occasions, including once in 1999 when he allegedly placed his hands underneath her dress.
Separately, Melanie Sloan, a lawyer who worked with Conyers on the Judiciary Committee, accused him of being “increasingly abusive” to her, behavior she said wasn’t “sexual harassment” but “sexual discrimination.”
Another accuser, Marion Brown, alleged that Conyers propositioned her for sex multiple times over more than a decade, according to The Associated Press. Brown settled a complaint in 2015 with Conyers over the allegations, according to her attorney, the AP reported.
Conyers acknowledged that his office settled a harassment complaint involving a former staffer, but denies the allegations against him.
Source: ABC News (KARMA ALLEN KATE HODGSON)
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