Pelosi says she believes Conyers accuser Melanie Sloan
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday she believes the story of Melanie Sloan, a former employee of Rep. John Conyers, just a day after she refused to criticize the Michigan Democrat amid sexual harassment accusations.
“Ms. Sloan told me that she had publicly discussed distressing experiences while on his staff,” Pelosi said in a statement issued Monday. “I find the behavior Ms. Sloan described unacceptable and disappointing. I believe what Ms. Sloan has told me.”
Last week, Sloan came forward with allegations against Conyers from her time working on Capitol Hill in the 1990s, including one instance where she recalled being called to Conyers’ office to find him wearing only his underwear.
Sloan told The Washington Post that Conyers “routinely yelled at and berated her” during her time working for the congressman, and that she was ignored when she tried to receive help on the matter and went to congressional leadership.
Pelosi met with Sloan on Monday afternoon, and said Sloan gave her “valuable feedback into the substantive reforms many of us in Congress are advocating to foster a climate of respect and dignity, and to protect legislative branch employees.”
On Sunday, Pelosi called Conyers “an icon in our country” when she was asked about the current zero-tolerance climate by NBC’s Chuck Todd.
“We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women — Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great wor k on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing,” Pelosi said.
The California Democrat was also asked about his accusers, to which she responded by saying she didn’t know who they were.
“They have not really come forward,” Pelosi said on “Meet the Press.”
Conyers has said that he “expressly and vehemently” denies any wrongdoing.
Pelosi said in her statement Monday that she hadn’t had the opportunity to speak with the other accusers yet, including “one of whom cannot speak publicly because of the secretive settlement process in place.”
“That ridiculous system must be ended and victims who want to come forward to the Ethics Committee must be able to do so,” Pelosi said.
Conyers announced Sunday that he would step down from his position as ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee amid a House Ethics Committee investigation that was opened after BuzzFeed News published a report saying he had settled a wrongful-dismissal complaint in 2015 after allegedly sexually harassing a staffer.