A second woman who worked for Michigan Representative John Conyers has come forward to accuse him of sexually harassing her on three occasions while she worked for him.
Deanna Maher, Conyers’ former deputy chief of staff who worked for him from 1997 to 2005, told The Detroit News in a story published Tuesday that the first incident happened shortly after she was hired, during a September 1997 event with the Congressional Black Caucus.
“I didn’t have a room, and he had me put in his hotel suite,” Maher, 77, told the newspaper, adding that she rejected his offer to share the Washington hotel room and have sex.
She said that twice in the following two years Conyers—who stepped aside as ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday after reporting that he paid off another former staffer who alleged sexual harassment—touched her legs under her dress against her will. She said the other instance with the now-88-year-old Conyers involved unwanted touching in a car while driving to the airport.
In response to Maher’s allegations, Conyers’ attorney, Arnold Reed, questioned to The Detroit News why she would continue to work for him years after she said the incidents occurred and insisted Conyers “has not done anything wrong.”
But Maher said she needed to keep the job to support herself and that her age was a factor in her decision to stay.
“I needed to earn a living, and I was 57. How many people are going to hire you at that age?” she said. She also said because Conyers is a powerful figure in Washington, she assumed no one would believe her if she came forward.
“I didn’t report the harassment because it was clear nobody wanted to take it seriously,” Maher also said. “John Conyers is a powerful man in Washington, and nobody wanted to cross him.”