Former intern claims Conyers “brought up the then-developing investigation into the disappearance of former federal intern Chandra Levy” when she turned down his sexual advances.
On Tuesday, disgraced Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) retired after numerous women accused him of sexual misconduct. He faced an investigation by the ethics committee and calls from colleagues to resign.
New accusations may have been the tipping point. Today, The Washington Post reported a former intern claimed Conyers “brought up the then-developing investigation into the disappearance of former federal intern Chandra Levy” when she turned down his sexual advances.
Courtney Morse, 36, said she was a 20-year-old college student when Conyers propositioned her. She said Tuesday that she believes he resigned to escape further scrutiny.
“It feels like an easy way out,” Morse said. “He doesn’t have to face an investigation now. If he is vehemently denying he did anything, then it’s not about reconciling the issue. It’s about protecting his legacy.”
Morse told The Post she quit her internship after Conyers drove her home from work one night, wrapped his hand around hers as it rested in her lap, and told her he was interested in a sexual relationship. When she rejected his advances, Morse said he brought up the then-developing investigation into the disappearance of former federal intern Chandra Levy.
“He said he had insider information on the case. I don’t know if he meant it to be threatening, but I took it that way,” Morse said in an interview. “I got out of the car and ran.”
Morse joined Conyers’ staff as an intern and he didn’t act inappropriate. It didn’t start until he “asked her to stay on for a paid summer internship.” WaPo continued:
Morse said Conyers then began buying her gifts and asked her to dine with him in the members’ dining room. At the end of one work day, Morse said he offered to drive her to a residence where she was staying about 30 minutes from Capitol Hill.
“I thought it was odd that he was driving home an intern. It was out of the way, so it wasn’t convenient,” she said.
A few weeks later, Morse said Conyers made a sexual overture after driving her home from work a second time.
When she rejected his advances, Morse said she felt intimidated because he brought up the investigation into Levy’s disappearance.
At the time, police investigated the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy, who had not been seen since May 1, 2001. Her dad told investigators that she had an affair with Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA). The police searched his apartment and began investigating him for possible obstruction of justice. Levy’s parents thought he was involved due to his evasiveness. Condit left Congress in 2003.
A man discovered Levy’s remains in a park a year later. The case eventually went around an illegal immigrant Ingmar Guandique. He was convicted, but the verdict didn’t stick due to witness testimony. The U.S. deported Guandique.
Morse resided with Matthew Salomon and his family during her internship. He confirmed Morse’s account to WaPo and said he even tried to confront Conyers, but the lawmaker drove away.
The first report came out on November 21. Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal claim in 2015 with a former employee who said he fired her because she said no to his sexual advances. More and more women began to speak out against Conyers.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dug herself into a hole when she defended Conyers on Meet The Press. Later in the day, she lashed out at him on Twitter. A few days later, she finally stated she believed Conyers should resign.
Conyers has remained hard headed through this all, denying the allegations, while his lawyer criticized the alleged victims. In one instance he appeared to mock all the women who have used the #MeToo hashtag to share their stories of assault, harassment, or rape.