After allegations Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill inappropriately touched or harassed at least four different women while drunk at a party in March, the Indiana General Assembly placed an independent law firm on retainer and asked investigators to produce an internal memo investigating the accusations.
Attorney Blake Burgan from the Taft Stettinius & Hollister law firm wrote the memo. Burgan determined Hill, while acting in an inappropriate fashion, did not create a hostile work environment for these legislative employees or the Indiana representative who were harassed.
The internal memo has since been obtained by an Associated Press reporter, who shared it online, and now the Indiana Daily Student is in possession of the memo.
A state representative, whose name in the memo has been redacted, reported to Indiana General Assembly leaders that at a party on March 15, Hill was very intoxicated and began to harass her, as well as a number of legislative employees.
The investigators quote an unattributed source in the memo who said Hill came up to a state representative, slid his hands down her back and "grabbed a handful of ass." At that point she told him to back off only to have him grab her buttocks again. The representative again told him to back off.
She also reported seeing Hill act inappropriately with other House and Senate employees, including telling a group of staffers they would have to "show a little skin" to get their drinks faster and putting his arm around a female staffer, which made it hard for her to get away.
"Upon hearing this information, and after discussing it with Sen. David Long, Speaker Bosma and Sen. Long determined that there would be an investigation of the allegations, including interviews of employees of the House and Senate," according to the memo.
During the investigation, five legislative employees were interviewed, each one labeled by a letter from A to E.
Legislative employee A reported Hill, looking intoxicated, approached her and a group of women and said "Don't you know how to get drinks? You have to show a little skin!"
Employee A said she was uncomfortable, as were some of the other women. She then left, but returned later, which is when Hill reportedly slid his hand down her back and groped her buttocks. When she tried to push his hand away, he grabbed her hand and groped her again.
Employee B said she was sitting on a stool when Hill sat down next to her and asked if she knew who he was. He then began rubbing her back for about two minutes. She told legislators during the investigation and interview that she gave non-verbal cues of discomfort to her intern at the bar, who then suggested they both go to the restroom. They then left.
Employee C told investigators she had seen some of Hill's behavior when he then approached her at the bar and asked her if she knew who he was. She replied she did know him and had actually gone to college with his daughter. He then wrapped his arm around her waist and she attempted to move away from his reach. After getting her drink she left the bar area and Hill behind.
Employees D and E, while both reported seeing or hearing about Hill's behavior, said they did not feel like it constituted sexual harassment. Both said Hill was extremely drunk and, because of his position, he should be held to a higher standard.
Result of internal investigation
While Hill's behavior was deemed inappropriate, the investigation also determined Hill's actions towards the legislative employees were not likely severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment.
However, the memo did note that his conduct toward the state representative was enough to have passed the "severe threshold," especially since he had reached underneath her clothes.
The report also noted Hill's actions occurred in the early hours of March 15 at a social function and as such would likely not constitute workplace harassment. His behavior at the party in March would likely not have an effect on his work which is why the investigators in the report said "we do not believe there is any obligation to report AG Hill to disciplinary authorities."
The law firm's report recommends Hill be informed of the allegations and that he be notified any such conduct "will not be tolerated in the future with any legislators or legislative employees."
The full memo can be found here.
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