Cony­ers re­signs from Congress amid ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions

El Dorado News-Times - - National -

DETROIT (AP) — Demo­cratic Rep. John Cony­ers re­signed from Congress on Tues­day after a nearly 53-year ca­reer, be­com­ing the first Capi­tol Hill politi­cian to lose his job in the tor­rent of sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions sweep­ing through the na­tion’s work­places.

The 88-year-old civil rights leader and long­est-serv­ing mem­ber of the House an­nounced what he re­ferred to as his “re­tire­ment” on Detroit talk ra­dio, while con­tin­u­ing to deny he groped or sex­u­ally ha­rassed women who worked for him.

“My legacy can’t be com­pro­mised or di­min­ished in any way by what we’re go­ing through now,” said the con­gress­man, who called into the ra­dio show from the hos­pi­tal where he was taken last week after com­plain­ing of light­head­ed­ness. “This, too, shall pass. My legacy will con­tinue through my chil­dren.”

He en­dorsed his son John Cony­ers III to succeed him.

Cony­ers, who was first elected in 1964 and went on to be­come a found­ing mem­ber in 1971 of the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus, eas­ily won re-elec­tion last year to his 27th term in his heav­ily Demo­cratic district in and around Detroit.

But after be­ing pub­licly ac­cused by one wo­man after an­other in re­cent weeks, he faced grow­ing calls to re­sign from col­leagues in the House, in­clud­ing Demo­cratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

As the furor grew, he stepped down as the rank­ing Demo­crat on the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, and the Ethics Com­mit­tee be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing him.

Demo­cratic Rep. Jer­rold Nadler of New York said he was sad­dened by the res­ig­na­tion of his “friend and men­tor” but added: “There can be no tol­er­ance for be­hav­ior that sub­jects women to the kind of con­duct that has been al­leged.”

It will be up to Repub­li­can Gov. Rick Sny­der to set a date for a spe­cial elec­tion to pick some­one to serve out the re­main­ing year in Cony­ers’ two-year term. State Sen. Ian Cony­ers, a grand­son of Cony­ers’ brother, said he plans to run for the seat.

On Mon­day, yet an­other al­le­ga­tion was lodged against Cony­ers, when a wo­man who said she worked for him for more than a decade, Elisa Grubbs, said he slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while she was sit­ting next to him in the front row of a church.

Grubbs also said she re­peat­edly saw Cony­ers touch­ing and stroking the legs and but­tocks of other fe­male staffers. Such be­hav­ior “was a reg­u­lar part of life while work­ing in the of­fice of Rep. Cony­ers,” she said.

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