Tags: rice | conyers | politicians | accountable | sexual | offenses

Rep. Kathleen Rice: Hold Conyers, Politicians Responsible for Sexual Offenses

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By    |   Friday, 24 November 2017 10:58 AM

Rep. Kathleen Rice Friday called for the resignation of fellow Democratic Rep. John Conyers to resign the seat he's held for a decade, saying that politicians should face the same consequences that people like Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose have faced when accused of sexual misconduct.

"Why are the rules for politicians in Washington different than they are for everyone else?" the New York Democrat told CNN's "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo. "What I am voicing publicly is what every single private citizen is saying across America."

While other lawmakers have advocated an ethics investigation to be conducted on Conyers, of Michigan, she said that kind of action will "take forever to come up with a conclusion."

Conyers is accused of using office funds to pay off a former staff worker who said she was fired because she refused his advances. Other former staffers have accused the veteran lawmaker of sexually harassing them as well.

Rice is a former prosecutor, but she disagreed that the future of Conyers or others like him should depend on whether he's considered innocent until proven guilty.

"We're not talking about a court of law here," said Rice. "I spent my entire career before coming to Washington as a prosecutor. This is not beyond a reasonable doubt. We don't have a legal standard here. We're talking about the court of public opinion. We're talking about holding men accountable for their actions."

Most men who face similar allegations will never face their day in court, she added, and the victims will never have the opportunity to have their day in court.

"That's a separate issue," she said. "Right now what we're talking about is if there is going to be any level of accountability."

Rice said 30 years ago, she had her own "me too" moment while in the Brooklyn district attorney's office, and "it was brutal."

"The way the system works, there's no benefit to a woman who comes out and says, 'I'm being harassed,'" she said. "There are only professional consequences."

Ultimately, she said, women don't report harassment or assaults because they risk becoming a "professional pariah" and have no other choice but to accept what happened.

"I treated it very differently when I ran my own office as DA, I took these very seriously," said Rice.

"There's no benefit to the women coming forward and saying this happened to me. And we see woman after working making allegations saying there was a professional cost to me for coming forward. Yet there isn't for any of these men being accused. That has to change."

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Rep. Kathleen Rice Friday called for the resignation of fellow Democratic Rep. John Conyers to resign the seat he's held for a decade, saying that politicians should face the same consequences that people like Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose have faced...
rice, conyers, politicians, accountable, sexual, offenses
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2017-58-24
Friday, 24 November 2017 10:58 AM
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