John Conyers Accuser Breaks Non-Disclosure, Says He Propositioned Her for Sex - NBC Chicago
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John Conyers Accuser Breaks Non-Disclosure, Says He Propositioned Her for Sex

John Conyers, who is 88 years old and the longest-serving member of the House, is accused by multiple former female staffers of sexual harassment

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    A former staffer of embattled Rep. John Conyers spoke publicly for the first time Thursday, revealing herself as the woman who reached a settlement with the Michigan Democrat after enduring what she said was repeated sexual harassment that included propositions for sex and invitations to hotel rooms.

    Breaking from a nondisclosure agreement she said she is currently under, Marion Brown appeared on NBC's "Today" show to expose what she called "uncomfortable and very unprofessional" behavior by Conyers, who she worked for for 11 years.

    "It was sexual harassment... violating my body, propositioning me, inviting me to hotels... He has touched me in different ways, and it was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional," Brown said with her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, by her side.

    Conyers, who is 88 years old and the longest-serving member of the House, is accused by multiple former female staffers of sexual harassment. His lawyer said he is innocent and plans to fight the claims "tooth and nail," adding that the congressman has no plans to resign from Congress.

    On Thursday, a political consultant said that Conyers had entered the hospital for a stress-related illness he attributed to the "media assault" on the congressman.

    And the top leaders in Congress, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, called for Conyers to resign. Pelosi's call was a shift from her earlier statement that Conyers was an "icon" who deserved "due process."

    Brown revealed herself as the woman who had reached a settlement with Conyers after alleging she was fired for rejecting his sexual advances. The 2015 settlement was first reported last week by Buzzfeed, which said Conyers paid more than $27,000 to a woman in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement.

    Brown, who confirmed that she is currently under a non-disclosure agreement, detailed some of the sexual advances she said she experienced from Conyers in a Chicago hotel in 2005.

    Conyers "invited me to the hotel and he has undressed, you know, down to his underwear," Brown told "Today's" Savannah Guthrie. "He asked me to satisfy him sexually. He pointed to areas, genital areas of his body, and asked me to touch it."

    Brown said she didn't know what to do and was frozen in that moment.

    "I didn't want to lose my job. I didn't want to upset him," she said. "I just told him I had to leave and go somewhere else. I did tell him I was not going to do that and I did not feel comfortable."

    Brown said she told Conyers' then-chief of staff, who she claimed agreed to talk to the congressman.

    "I didn't see any change because it continued after that," Brown said. "But there was no other action formally."

    Despite the continued harassment, Brown said she "endured it" because she "needed the income" to raise her kids.

    A request for comment on Brown's statements was not immediately returned by Conyers' attorney.

    Brown explained that she is "taking a risk" in speaking publicly after signing the confidentiality agreement and that she wants to "stand up for all the women in the workforce that are voiceless."

    "Congressman Conyers came out and called me a liar basically," she said. "So I am here to say that I'm not a liar."

    Brown didn't say whether she thought Conyers should resign. She said his political future is in the hands of his colleagues and the House Ethics Committee, which is investigating the sexual harassment claims. 

    "All I want from the congressman is to acknowledge what he did and apologize... to me, for calling me a liar."