Congressional leaders called on embattled Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to resign over his developing sexual harassment scandal.
“No matter how great the legacy it’s no license to harass or discriminate,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday morning. “In fact it makes it even more disappointing.”
The top-ranking Democrat’s suggestion comes hours after Conyers was hospitalized with a stress-related illness and one of his accusers revealed herself in a detailed interview.
House Speaker Paul Ryan later said Conyers, currently to longest-serving lawmaker in the chamber, should “resign immediately.”
Pelosi commended the record of Conyers, who has been in Congress since 1965, but said the charges against him are “serious, disappointing and very credible.”
“It’s very sad,” the California Democrat continued. “The brave women who have come foward are owed justice.”
She said Democratic leadership had learned more information about the allegations since Sunday, when she declined to say Conyers should resign after 52 years in office.
Later that day, Conyers stepped down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. And on Wednesday night he decided not to run for re-election in 2018.
By Thursday morning, however, Conyers was in a Detroit hospital with a stress-related ailment, his spokesman said.
“The congressman is resting comfortably in an area hospital,” spokesman Sam Riddle told reporters. “He’s doing okay, as well as can be expected for a gentleman that’s approaching 90 years of age.”
Riddle told CBS affiliate WWJ his boss was hospitalized over recent stress.
His wife, Monica, was with him at the hospital, Riddle said.
Earlier in the day, former staffer Marion Brown revealed herself as the former employee who received a settlement over sexual harassment allegations against the veteran politican.
“All I want from the congressman is for him to acknowledge what he did, and apologize…for calling me a liar,” former staffer Brown told “Today” in her first public interview about the Michigan Democrat.
Conyers regularly “violated my body,” she told “Today” on Thursday, as well as propositioned Brown for sex.
Brown described how Conyers asked her to pleasure him at his Chicago hotel room.
“He pointed to (the) genital areas of his body and asked me to touch him,” she said.
“I didn’t know what to do,” she continued. “I didn’t want to lose my job, I didn’t want to upset him. Also, he asked me to find other people that would satisfy him.”
The staffer said she told Conyers she didn’t feel comfortable and left.
Matters became worse in 2010, she told Today, when she “got phone calls asking me to come to hotels.”
“This continued on for lots of years,” the told the show.
At one point she brought it to Conyers’ chief of staff in Detroit three years ago, who said he’d talk to the congressman.
The chief of staff later told Brown he’d spoken with Conyers but no formal action was taken, she said.
News of the settlement earlier this month prompted other accusers to come forward, prompting Conyers to first step down from a top committee post. The representative, in office since 1965, then announced Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2018.
Brown, a single mom, stayed at the job because she still enjoyed the work, Conyers was otherwise a respected figure and needed to support her four children.
“I had to raise my kids,” she told “Today.” “(The job) was something that I enjoyed. I needed the income. I endured it.”
The former staffer said she was coming forward to make a change — so that things will be different by the time her young granddaughter enters the workforce.
“I want her to not have to endure sexism and gender inequality,” she said. “I want to stand up — and I felt it was worth the risk — for all the women in the workforce that are voiceless.”