On Tuesday, Democratic representative of Michigan John Conyers announced that he would be retiring after facing several allegations of sexual harassment. The discussion about his misconduct began in late November, when it was revealed that he paid a $27,000 settlement to a woman who says she was fired for rejecting him. Since then, more women have come forward with stories about Conyers — including one former intern who says that, after she refused his advances, the congressman brought up missing federal intern Chandra Levy.
Courtney Morse, 36, spoke to the Washington Post about her internship with Conyers. She was 20 years old at the time of the alleged incident:
Morse told The Post she quit her internship after Conyers drove her home from work one night, wrapped his hand around hers as it rested in her lap, and told her he was interested in a sexual relationship. When she rejected his advances, Morse said he brought up the then-developing investigation into the disappearance of former federal intern Chandra Levy.
“He 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 said in an interview. “I got out of the car and ran.”
Levy was an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons when she went missing in 2001. Her disappearance was an incredibly high-profile case, especially following reports that she was having an affair with married California congressman Gary Condit. Condit was cleared of any involvement and Levy’s body was found the following year; to this day, her murder is still unsolved.
As for Conyers’s resignation, Morse said it “feels like an easy way out.” “He doesn’t have to face an investigation now,” she continued. “If he is vehemently denying he did anything, then it’s not about reconciling the issue. It’s about protecting his legacy.”