Ex-staffer: Conyers 'harassed' and 'verbally abused' me repeatedly

Staffer says she was not 'sexually harassed'

By SOPHIE TATUM
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Former staffer to Rep. John Conyers (right) speaks to CNN's Erin Burnett.

(CNN) - Former Capitol Hill staffer Melanie Sloan on Wednesday detailed her experiences working in the 1990s for Rep. John Conyers, whom she said had harassed and "verbally abused" her repeatedly.

In a Washington Post report published earlier Wednesday, Sloan had accused Conyers of verbal abuse and harassment during her time working for him.

Sloan said she didn't think she was sexually harassed by Conyers, which she reiterated Wednesday night in an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" with Poppy Harlow, but The Washington Post reported that she described the congressman's behavior as inappropriate. To the newspaper, and again to CNN, she recalled one instance where he had called her to his office when he was in his underwear.

"He was just not dressed," Sloan also told Harlow.

The Post also reported that Sloan had said Conyers "routinely yelled at and berated her." Sloan told The Post that she had requested help from congressional leadership on the matter, but it was repeatedly ignored.

"There was nothing I could do to stop it," Sloan said, according to The Washington Post. "Not going to leadership, not going to my boss, not going to a women's group, not going to a reporter. I was dismissed and told I must be mentally unstable."

Wednesday night, she repeated her claim to CNN, saying, "Nobody listened to me."

The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into the Michigan Democrat's behavior, after a report by BuzzFeed published Monday said he had settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 after allegedly sexually harassing a staffer.

In response to the investigation, Conyers issued a statement Tuesday denying the allegations of wrongdoing, but did not dispute the existence of settlements or payments.

"In our country, we strive to honor this fundamental principle that all are entitled to due process," the statement reads. "In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so."

An attorney for Conyers told CNN on Wednesday that the lawmaker will not resign. In a phone conversation, attorney Arnold Reed said Conyers was taking the allegations "very seriously" but did not plan to give up his House seat.

"Mr. Conyers is not going to resign," Reed said. "If everybody that was facing 'allegations' -- including the President, members of the House and Senate -- resigned, we'd have a lot of unemployed people walking around."

Reed added that Conyers was not taking the allegations lightly but that he is innocent of all wrongdoing.

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