Indiana Republicans call on AG to step down over groping allegations

Indiana Republicans call on AG to step down over groping allegations
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Indiana’s top Republican leaders on Thursday called on Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) to resign from office following accusations from four women of sexual harassment during an after-hours party at an Indianapolis bar. 

Hill, first elected in 2016, has denied the allegations that he groped the women at a party celebrating the end of the legislative session in March.

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Two months after the party, several women met with House Speaker Brian Bosma (R), House Majority Leader Matthew Lehman (R) and state Rep. Terry Goodin (R) to detail the allegations.

The next day, Bosma and state Senate Majority Leader David Long (R) hired an Indianapolis law firm to conduct an investigation into Hill’s behavior.

The probe, made public this week by the Indianapolis Star, details allegations made by four women who claimed they had been harassed in the March incidents. 

One woman accused Hill of grabbing her buttocks. She also said the attorney general told legislative staffers they could get drinks faster if they “show a little skin.”

Another woman said Hill gave her an extended back rub before she and her intern were able to escape to the restroom. A third legislative staffer said he had put his arm around her in a way that made it difficult for her to get away.

In coordinated statements released Thursday, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), Bosma and Long called on Hill to step down.

Bosom and Long said they believed the women’s accounts. They said they had asked the state’s inspector general to investigate further.

“We do not believe that Curtis Hill, as chief law enforcement officer of the State of Indiana, can continue to perform his duties, nor should he, and we call for his immediate resignation,” Bosma and Long said in a joint statement.

“Curtis Hill is not our employee; if he was, he would already have been fired. Because we cannot terminate his employment, we ask instead for him to own up to his actions, apologize publicly to the victims, and tender his resignation immediately.”

Holcomb also said the attorney general “should resign.”

“Four women had the courage to step forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana Attorney General,” Holcomb said in a statement.

“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. I concur with Sen. Long and Speaker Bosma that Attorney General Hill should resign, and I support a thorough investigation by the state’s Inspector General.”

One woman, Indiana state legislator Mara Candelaria Reardon identified herself as one of the accusers in a column published Friday by The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Reardon said that at an event in March marking the end of the legislative session, Hill grabbed her buttocks and later placed his hand on her back making suggestive comments.

The Indiana state House member said she told Hill to “back off” and “recoiled away” from the attorney general. 

Hill is the latest in a string of powerful men who have been accused of sexual harassment in the wake of the "Me Too" movement.

Several statewide officeholders, including Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray (R), New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) and Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler (R), have resigned in the face of harassment allegations.

Updated at 12:45 p.m.