A former deputy chief of staff said Rep. John Conyers made an unwanted sexual advance toward her and touched her inappropriately twice in the late 1990s, the Detroit News reports in the latest sexual misconduct allegations against the veteran lawmaker. Deanna Maher, 77, who ran a Michigan office for the Democrat from 1997 to 2005, says there were three instances of inappropriate conduct. She says the first was in 1997, when she rejected his offer to share a hotel room and have sex. The others involved unwanted touching in a car in 1998 and unwanted touching of her legs under her dress in 1999, the AP reports.
Conyers' attorney Arnold Reed says the allegations are uncorroborated and he questions why Maher would work for Conyers for so many years after the alleged allegations. She says her need for employment explains why she stayed on the job. "I needed to earn a living, and I was 57. How many people are going to hire you at that age?" she says. Maher says she didn't report the harassment because Conyers is a powerful man in Washington and she didn't think it would be taken seriously. Conyers, 88, announced Sunday that he is stepping down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. He is being investigated over a report that his office paid $27,000 to settle a staffer's sexual harassment claim.
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