A former congressional intern reportedly says she too was a victim of inappropriate sexual contact by now-retired Rep. John Conyers, saying Conyers even claimed during that encounter to have “inside information” on then-missing federal intern Chandra Levy.
Courtney Morse, 36, described the incident from 16 years ago to The Washington Post. She said Conyers, D-Mich., mentioned the Levy case when Morse was a college intern for him and the congressman drove her home one night.
Morse said Conyers wrapped his hand around hers while it was in her lap and said he was interested in a sexual relationship, the newspaper reported.
Levy went missing in 2001. A police investigation revealed she was having an affair with married California Democratic Rep. Gary Condit.
“[Conyers] said he had insider information on the case. I don’t know if he meant it to be threatening, but I took it that way,” Morse told The Post. “I got out of the car and ran.”
Morse said nothing inappropriate happened during the first months of her internship and that she accepted Conyers’ offer for a paid summer internship. Then he started giving her gifts and asked her to dine with him — and later offered her the ride home, which she accepted. Morse quit her internship shortly after the incident and returned to Ohio.
Levy’s remains were found about a year later in a park. MS-13 member Ingmar Guandique was found guilty of murder, but the case was effectively dropped over problematic witness testimony and Guandique was deported. Condit lost reelection in 2002 amid speculation about his role, but his lawyer later described the Guandique verdict as vindication for his client.
The 88-year-old Conyers decide to retire on Tuesday, two weeks after the first sexual-harassment allegations surfaced and after returning last week to his Detroit-area district to discuss his political future with family and advisers.
The news website BuzzFeed on Nov. 20 reported the first allegation: Conyers’ office paid a woman more than $27,000 under a confidentiality agreement to settle a complaint in 2015 that she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances.
The House Ethics Committee announced the following day that it had begun an investigation into Conyers, after receiving allegations of sexual harassment and age discrimination involving staff members and about the congressman using “official resources for impermissible personal purposes.”
The committee will reportedly continue with the investigation, despite Conyers’ resignation.
Additional allegations have since surfaced of inappropriate conduct.
Elise Grubbs, a cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown, earlier this week alleged that Conyers more than a decade ago slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while they sat next to each other in church.
Grubbs said in an affidavit made public before Conyers resigned that she worked for the congressman from about 2001 to about 2013. She also said that she saw Conyers touching and stroking the legs and buttocks of Brown and other female staffers on “multiple occasions.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.