House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. listens as former Justice Department White House liaison Monica Goodling testified before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Back in May 2001, Washington, D.C. was all abuzz with the search for a missing girl named Chandra Levy. Levy, a 24-year-old intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was reported missing by her family on May 6 after they had been unable to contact her for a few days. The Pink Panther brigade that is the Metropolitan DC Police Department blundered around and finally started a search for her on July 25. Nothing.
The real media interest to the case was the fact that she’d confided in her aunt that she was sleeping with a married member of Congress, California Democrat Gary Condit (this was back in an innocent age when male California Democrats still had sex with women).
As it became obvious that Levy was dead, Condit was suspected, at least in a lot of media outlets, of complicity.
The next year, Levy’s skeletal remains were discovered strewn over an area in Rock Creek Park…an area the DC police had not searched. Why, you might ask, if they were searching Rock Creek Park, did they not search near jogging trails.
Detectives found bones and personal items scattered, but not buried, in a forested area along a steep incline. A sports bra, sweat shirt, leggings and tennis shoes were among the evidence that was recovered. Though police had previously searched over half the 1,754-acre main section of the park (2.74 mi2, 7.10 km2), the wooded slope where Levy’s remains were eventually found had not been searched. Police commanders ordered the search perimeters to 100 yards of each road and trail but a miscommunication had the officers only searching within 100 yards of every road.
An illegal immigrant was tried for her murder based on the most tenuous evidence and convicted. That conviction was overturned in 2015, after the guy has spent five years in prison, when it was revealed that the government’s key witness was a well-known liar.
Keeping that in mind, let’s fast forward to today. Michigan Democrat John Conyers resigned from the House yesterday after several allegations were made of him acting inappropriately with female employees of his office and of the House. By inappropriate I mean things like inviting someone to your office for a meeting and showing up in your underwear (no one has yet asked if they were boxers or briefs). Today a new complaint has been lodged against Conyers:
Courtney Morse, 36, said she was a 20-year-old college student when Conyers propositioned her. She said Tuesday that she believes he resigned to escape further scrutiny.
“It feels like an easy way out,” Morse said. “He doesn’t have to face an investigation now. If he is vehemently denying he did anything, then it’s not about reconciling the issue. It’s about protecting his legacy.”
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.”
She said in the first months of her internship, Conyers did nothing inappropriate. Morse said she eagerly accepted when Conyers asked her to stay on for a paid summer internship.
“He was one of those congressmen you look up to and you see as an icon,” she said. “I was also working on important issues and staying meant I could continue to work on them and potentially help people.”
Morse said Conyers then began buying her gifts and asked her to dine with him in the members’ dining room. At the end of one work day, Morse said he offered to drive her to a residence where she was staying about 30 minutes from Capitol Hill.
“I thought it was odd that he was driving home an intern. It was out of the way, so it wasn’t convenient,” she said.
A few weeks later, Morse said Conyers made a sexual overture after driving her home from work a second time.
When she rejected his advances, Morse said she felt intimidated because he brought up the investigation into Levy’s disappearance.
At the time, the case of the missing intern, who was allegedly having an affair with Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.), was under investigation by police. Condit was eventually cleared after authorities charged a suspect with Levy’s murder.
I don’t know anything about Conyers’s game as a “playa” but when you ask a woman to sleep with you and she says “no” and you immediately digress into talking about the “inside information” you have on girl who is missing and presumed dead, it is not a huge leap to think you’ve just been threatened. In this case, the decision by Ms. Morse to bail out of Conyer’s car and hoof it seems both prudent and well-advised. It also says that there is something to Morse’s conjecture that Conyers is resigning to avoid further investigation and disclosures.