A woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) publicly revealed her identity for the first time Thursday and opened up about her experience working in the congressman’s office.
“Some of the things that he did ― it was sexual harassment, violating my body ... propositioning me for sex,” Marion Brown, who worked as Conyers’ deputy chief of staff from 2003 to 2014, said during an appearance on NBC’s “Today.” “He has touched me in different ways and it was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional.”
“He asked me to satisfy him sexually,” she continued. “He pointed to genital areas of his body and asked me to touch it.”
Brown’s 2014 complaint, and a settlement she reached with Conyers in 2015, were first reported by BuzzFeed News last week. The report did not identify Brown, who signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the settlement that prohibited her from speaking about it.
The report included Brown’s accusation that Conyers had fired her after she rejected his sexual advances. Since then, at least two other female former staffers have accused Conyers of sexual harassment. Conyers denies the allegations.
Lisa Bloom, the high-profile attorney representing Brown, issued a statement Sunday calling on Conyers and the congressional Office of Compliance to release her client from the non-disclosure agreement.
Brown said Thursday that she decided to break the agreement and speak out to be a voice for other women.
“I felt it was worth the risk to stand up for all the women in the workforce that are voiceless ― ordinary women like myself with extraordinary challenges, working in the workforce, that are dominated by men,” she said.
Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House, has rejected calls from some lawmakers to resign. He announced Sunday that he was stepping down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee while the House Ethics Committee investigates the allegations.
Brown wouldn’t say whether she believed Conyers should resign.
“I’m going to leave that up to the ethics committee and his colleagues,” Brown said. “All I want from the congressman is for him to acknowledge what he did and apologize ... to me for calling me a liar.”