Representative John Conyers (D-MI) was hospitalized for a stress-related illness, according to Sam Riddle, a spokesman for the family. Riddle arrived at the Conyers residence in Detroit just before 9 a.m. to make his announcement.
The 88-year-old Congressman had been accused of sexual harassment by at least three women, the first of which was made public by BuzzFeed last week. Allegedly, Conyers fired Marion Brown for resisting his sexual advances, then later settled with her when she sued for wrongful termination. The Former aide told NBC that all she wanted from Mr. Conyers was an admission of guilt and an apology.
The fact that the Congressman settled with her doesn’t look good for him, but it also doesn’t necessarily prove him guilty of any sexual impropriety. The American public has been swept up in a storm of sexual allegations lately, and it is entirely possible that some of these are nothing more than a reach for 15 minutes of fame or even politically motivated character assassinations.
Rep. Conyers denies all allegations of harassment but has stepped down as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. As Liberty Nation’s Graham Noble previously explained, Conyers faced pressure to resign from his own party, but might well want his seat back should he be cleared of these allegations.
Today’s hospitalization may spell a change in those plans. Mr. Riddle told Fox news affiliate WJBK that the veteran lawmaker was “resting comfortably with [his wife] Monica by his side,” but blames the media for the stress-related illness. NBC reports:
“The congressman’s health is not what it should be and a lot of that is directly attributable to this media assault,” Riddle said, adding that “the reality is these serial accusers have done this before, we’re used to it.”
The Congressional Black Caucus stands by Mr. Conyers and hasn’t pushed for his resignation, saying that the decision to resign should be between him, his family, and the people who voted him into office. Ultimately, they’re right – especially if it turns out that he’s innocent. However, John Conyers has been a Congressman for over 50 years and isn’t far off from 90 years old. If the stress of this situation has made him ill enough to be hospitalized, he may well resign regardless of how valid the allegations are or aren’t. Indeed, it might well be the wisest choice at this point.
Marion Brown’s claim does sound credible, considering the past settlement and her asking only for an apology. Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the allegations “serious and disappointing” today, and called for his resignation.
However, it is imperative that we handle these accusations on a case by case basis — regardless of party affiliation or how we may like or dislike the accused. If we allow this trend to become yet another series of witch trials, in which merely the charge of immorality confirms guilt, then there may be no limit to the innocent lives destroyed.
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