DETROIT (AP) — A woman who says she worked for U.S. Rep. John Conyers for more than a decade says he slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while she was sitting next to him in the front row of a church.
Elisa Grubbs made the allegation in an affidavit released late Monday by her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Grubbs is the cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown, who reached a confidential settlement with Conyers over sexual harassment allegations but broke a confidentiality agreement to speak publicly last week.
Bloom posted Grubbs’ affidavit on Twitter and confirmed to The Associated Press that it was genuine.
The new details of the allegation emerged as Conyers is expected to speak on a Detroit radio show Tuesday morning about his political future, according to his attorney, Arnold Reed. The 88-year-old Democrat is the longest-serving current House member.
Conyers returned to Detroit from Washington last week and was hospitalized on Wednesday after complaining of feeling light-headed.
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Reed has said that Conyers’ health would be the paramount consideration in whether he decides to step down from his House seat. He has already stepped aside from his position as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Grubbs’ affidavit says that she worked for Conyers in various capacities from approximately 2001 to about 2013.
“Rep. Conyers slid his hand up my skirt and rubbed my thighs while I was sitting next to him in the front row of a church,” Grubbs said. “I was startled and sprang to my feet and exclaimed, ‘He just ran his hand up my thigh!’ Other staffers witnessed the event.”
She also said that she saw Conyers touching and stroking the legs and buttocks of Brown and other female staffers on “multiple occasions.”
Grubbs said witnessing such harassment “was a regular part of life while working in the office of Rep. Conyers.”
One time when Grubbs was at Conyers home, she said he came out of the bathroom naked when he knew she was in the room.
Conyers’ attorney Arnold Reed told the Detroit Free Press that the allegations by Grubbs are “another instance of tomfoolery from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein’s attorney.” Bloom previously represented Hollywood executive Weinstein, who is accused of sexual misconduct by many women. She quit Weinstein’s team after the allegations became public and now represents sexual harassment victims.
A number of Conyers’ colleagues in the House, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, have called for him to resign. The House Ethics Committee is investigating the allegations.
But some Detroit elected leaders and community activists rallied on Monday to support Conyers, saying he deserves due process and should not be forced out of office.