United States Democratic congressman John Conyers has stepped down as ranking member of House Judiciary Committee while sexual harassment and workplace abuse allegations are investigated.
"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," CNN reported, citing Conyers as saying in a statement. However, Conyers has denied the accusations. "I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger," the statement added.
A staff member alleges she was fired for refusing to "succumb to sexual advances" from the Michigan Democrat. As a result of these allegations, the-88-year-old faces a House Ethics Committee probe. Reports say that he had paid 27,000 dollars (20,000 pounds) in 2015 in exchange for the confidentiality of a former staff member who alleged she was fired for rejecting sexual advances.
He was also accused of repeatedly making sexual advances and inappropriately touching other female employees, according to signed legal documents seen by Buzzfeed. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted to Conyers's stepping down.
"Zero tolerance means consequences," Pelosi said. "I have asked for an ethics investigation, and as that investigation continues, Congressman Conyers has agreed to step aside as Ranking Member. No matter how great an individual's legacy, it is not a license for harassment."