Special Prosecutor Dan Sigler said Tuesday that he will not file battery charges against Attorney General Curtis Hill, who was previously accused of sexual misconduct.
He released a seven-page special prosecutor’s report explaining his reasoning for his decision, which included a lack of evidence to prove Hill’s intent, his belief that a jury wouldn’t find Hill guilty and how the case would be too long and expensive for a misdemeanor charge.
Even if Hill was convicted of the misdemeanor, he would not have any public consequences, the report said. He would still be able to hold a public office now and in the future.
Four women claim Hill touched them and made an inappropriate comment March 15 at a Sine Die party at a bar in Indianapolis.
After learning of Sigler’s decision, these women and their three attorneys announced they will be filing a civil case against Hill.
There are two claims against Hill: one for potential employment harassment and civil misconduct and the other for breaking a criminal law.
Potential employment harassment and civil misconduct take Hill’s status as attorney general into account, while the potential criminal charge does not, the report said.
Employment harassment and civil misconduct are not criminal charges, the report said. Sigler was only tasked to look into criminal charges.
Throughout the course of the investigation, Sigler said his team, which included the inspector general, special agents and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, interviewed 56 witnesses. He did not talk to Hill in person, but got a video statement from his attorneys. Sigler then sent more questions to Hill, who responded.
Typically, lawyers or the police will talk to people in person, but it was different for Hill because he is the attorney general.
“I wanted to be respectful of him and his position,” Sigler said at the press conference.
According to the report, the situation casts some doubt on whether or not the claims could be proven.
The bar was small and people were in close quarters. It was after midnight, and most people had consumed alcohol and were feeling the effects of the bar’s free drinks, the report said. Additionally, people were interviewed weeks after the event.
Between the alcohol consumption and time between events, it can be hard to accurately remember details from a night.
However, Sigler repeatedly said he thinks the witnesses are credible. He said in the report that believes the women believe they were touched by Hill in an inappropriate manner.
“He doesn’t deny touching, but there is a vague in between,” Sigler said at the press conference.
Hill himself said the touching was accidental due to conversation or movement. He didn’t intend disrespect, sexuality or rudeness from touching them, according to the report.
The women respond
Sigler’s special prosecutor’s report was presented Tuesday at a press conference at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in Indianapolis.
After his report was presented, the four women who accused Hill of sexual misconduct spoke at a press conference of their own. They voiced concerns about the case in general and announced they were filing a civil lawsuit.
The women include Samantha Lozano and Niki DaSilva, both legislative assistants, Gabrielle McLemore, the communications director for the Indiana State Democrats, and Mara Candelaria Reardon, a state representative.
“I think it’s important to remember that we’re talking about the unbiased legal officer of Indiana,” Hannah Kaufman Joseph, one of the women's attorneys, said. “This is the person who is charged with enforcing Indiana law.”
Kaufman Joseph opened the women’s press conference, but each woman took her chance to speak.
“I don’t really want to be here,” Reardon said, starting her short speech. “No offense.”
The women came forward to announce their civil claim after they heard Hill would not be criminally prosecuted.
Lozano, who was previously anonymous, had a change of heart when she heard the special prosecutor’s decision.
“This morning, I decided enough was enough,” she said.
Lozano decided speaking out was more important than staying anonymous.
“Today it doesn’t end," Lozano said "Today we take a step forward.”
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