Several Democratic leaders in the U.S. House have called on Democrat Rep. John Conyers of Michigan to resign from Congress amid a growing list of sexual misconduct allegations. Conyers, who is currently the longest-serving member of Congress, has signaled no intention of stepping down.
On Nov. 29, Deanne Maher alleged that Conyers had sexually harassed her when she worked as his staffer from 1997 until 2005. She described an incident when he forcefully kissed her.
"It was violent, in my mind," Maher told Fox News. "For [Conyers] to grab you ... and force you against the wall and stick his tongue down my throat at my age, which I was 61 at the time -- that was pretty devastating. I can't tell you how ashamed I felt. Dirty."
On Nov. 30, former Conyers staffer Marion Brown came forward to allege that the Michigan Democrat had harassed her for 11 years before she mounted a wrongful termination lawsuit against him in 2015, which was settled with taxpayer money.
"It was sexual harassment, violating my body, propositioning me, inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business and propositioning for sex,'' Brown told "Today." "He just violated my body, he's touched me in different ways. It was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional."
Brown added that she wanted Conyers "to acknowledge what he did and apologize to me for calling me a liar."
The House Minority Leader, Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, promptly called on Conyers to resign, NBC News reports.
"The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we've heard more and more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing and very credible," Pelosi said during a press conference.
Pelosi added: "Zero tolerance means consequences for everyone -- no matter how great a legacy is no license to harass or discriminate."
Arnold Reed, Conyers' attorney, blasted Pelosi for calling on his client to step down.
"It's not up to Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi did not elect Mr. Conyers," Reed said during a press conference in Detroit. "And she sure as hell won't be the one to tell the congressman to leave."
Meanwhile, the Assistant Democratic Leader, Democrat Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, also called on Conyers to step down. Clyburn is a the highest-ranking African American lawmaker in Congress and had been a staunch defender of Conyers, who was heralded for decades as a civil rights hero.
"I told him [resigning from Congress] would be in his best interest," Clyburn told Politico.
Four Michigan Democrats have also spoken out against Conyers. Reps. Dan Kildee, Debbie Dingell and Sander Levin all called on Conyers to resign.
"We just simply cannot ... tolerate the abuse of power," Kildee told the Detroit Free Press. "It's a terrible thing."
Conyers' political consultant, Sam Riddle, said that the congressman had been hospitalized due to stress brought on by the allegations. Conyers had denied all accusations.