news   |   politics   |   indiana

Curtis Hill refuses to resign after groping allegations, says he has been 'condemned'



CurtisHill_1

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill talks to the crowd during the Donald Trump rally May 10, in Elkhart, Indiana. Matt Begala Buy Photos

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill took no questions at his 10 a.m. press conference Monday. 

His message was simple: he would not resign over allegations he had sexually harassed Indiana Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster; Gabrielle McLemore, communications director for the Indiana Senate Democrats; and two other women at a party after the General Assembly session ended in March 2018.

McLemore, who came forward July 6, said she was tired of being silent. She was one of the women mentioned in the internal memo crafted by the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister, and said the only thing that saved her that night from worse sexual harassment was her intern.

"There were many men that surrounded me that night," McLemore told the IndyStar. "Both men I knew well and men I didn’t. And do you know who helped remove me from that awful situation? My college-aged female intern."

Hill claimed he had been treated unfairly in the court of public opinion and throughout the original investigation, which he said he did not know of until three days before it became public.

“I never dreamed this could happen to me, and yet here I stand,” Hill said. “I stand before you a condemned man.”

Reardon provided a statement after the press conference and said Hill betrayed the trust of the public and "lied about his actions to the very citizens he serves.” 

A growing number of Republican and Democratic elected officials have called for Hill to resign because of the accusations. Hill released several statements prior to Monday, calling the accusations false and saying he would not resign. 

He reemphasized those earlier remarks Monday morning.

Governor Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, all issued statements asking for Hill to resign in the wake of these allegations. Holcomb said there is no place for sexual harassment within the Indiana GOP and he supports a thorough investigation.

“Four women had the courage to step forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana Attorney General,” Holcomb said in the release. “The findings of the recent legislative report are disturbing and, at a minimum, show a violation of the state’s zero tolerance sexual harassment policy.”

Top Republican women in the state joined Holcomb in calling for Hill’s resignation. Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, two of the highest-ranked Republican women in the state, were among the first to release statements.

“Indiana deserves a safe work environment, which extends beyond the workplace," Lawson said. "I am disappointed that I must make such a call, but Attorney General Hill should resign. Our state leaders are held to a higher standard and must behave in such a manner.”

Lawson, Treasurer Kelly Mitchell and Auditor Tera Klutz are the only women running for statewide elected positions in 2018, and all of them are Republicans. 

Hill said he respected Governor Holcomb, but said he would’ve wanted to be contacted before calls for his resignation went public.

“A week ago I had a name,” Hill said. “I want my name back.”

Result of first 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 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.

On Monday, Hill argued the investigation was not fair to him and asked for an investigation to be carried out by the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, rather than by the Inspector General, who he claimed was biased.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in News



Comments powered by Disqus