Rep. John Conyers Steps Down From Judiciary Committee Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Conyers' 2006 Staffers Felt like 'House Servants', Baby Sat His Kids Six Weeks at a Time

In a statement announcing Conyers' departure from the judiciary committee, Pelosi said: "We must ensure the Congress has a climate of dignity and respect with zero tolerance for sexual harassment".

Democrat John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the US Congress and an iconic civil rights leader, said Sunday he is stepping down from a leadership position as he battles allegations of sexual harassment. BuzzFeed also published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately - rubbing their legs and backs - or requesting sexual favors.

"After careful consideration and In light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters", Conyers said in a statement.

He added, "I am grateful to my colleagues who have called for due process before weighing judgment". "I can not in good conscience allow these charges to undermine my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, and my friends on both sides of the aisle in the Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives".

Pelosi said she wants the ethics committee investigation to reach its conclusion on Conyers. "Just because someone was accused, and was it one accusation, was it two, I think there has to be―John Conyers is an icon in our country", Pelosi said, defending the 88-year-old representative. "But I have come to believe that my presence as ranking member on the committee would not serve these efforts while the ethics committee investigation is pending".

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Ms. Pelosi's comments on Mr. Conyers decision to step aside came after she had appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and refused to say if she would remove him from his Judiciary Committee post and defended his record, calling him an "icon". "He has done a great deal to protect women".

Members of Congress have complained about the "due process" system, saying it is outdated and biased toward insulating lawmakers from suffering penalties for misconduct.

"I don't know who they are? I commend the courageous women coming forward".

"Women have spoken out", she told Todd.

Pelosi continued that she was confident Conyers would "do the right thing" as his case is reviewed, but stopped short of referencing resignation.

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