Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, a family values Republican and a married father of five, stands accused by four women of sexual harassment, according to The Daily Beast — but so far, Hill has successfully retained his elected position.
Indiana State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon; Samantha Lozano, a 24-year-old legislative assistant for Indiana House Democrats; Niki DaSilva, a 25-year-old legislative assistant for Indiana Senate Republicans; and Gabrielle McLemore, a 23-year-old communications director for the state senate’s Democratic caucus, all complained of Hill’s inappropriate behavior during a “sine die” party in March 2018.
During the event, held at an Indianapolis bar to mark the end of the legislative session, Hill allegedly groped each of the women, along with making sexually suggestive remarks.
Reardon said the attorney general “slid his hand onto my exposed back and down into my dress and grabbed my ass,” after which she said she told him to “back off.”
About half an hour later, Reardon said Hill approached her a second time, saying, “that back, that skin.”
Similarly, DaSilva said Hill also put his hand on her back as she sat at the bar and began to move it downward. She attempted to remove his hand, but Hill allegedly took hold of her hand and groped her with it.
Lozano and McLemore also claim Hill touched their backs in an inappropriate fashion.
The attorney general has maintained his innocence, saying during a press conference last July, “We are living in a time when accusations alone have the power of conviction.”
Despite calls for Hill’s resignation — including from Republican Governor Eric Holcomb — the attorney general has refused to step down.
In October, a state ethics investigation and criminal probe into Hill’s actions concluded that while the accusations against him were credible, “no crime could be proven.” Indiana Inspector General Lori Torres described Hill’s behavior as “creepy” and “inappropriate” but said in her report that he did not violate the state’s ethics rules.
Hill’s attorneys said the IG report “exonerates and absolves” their client “of any factual and legal criminal behavior,” adding that the attorney general had no plans to vacate his office.
Reardon and the other three women decided to take further action, believing Hill should be held to a higher account, filing a tort claim notice to the state and a federal complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The Daily Beast reported.
As part of the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are asking for an injunction requiring the state to formulate appropriate sexual harassment policies, in order to ensure future abuses do not go unpunished.
“It’s extremely disappointing that it’s 2019 and we’re still talking about this—or finally talking about this,” Reardon said. “We have a responsibility to teach the young people who come to the capitol how to behave professionally, and that’s not the correct way to engage.”