Lindsey Erdody, reporting for the IBJ, writes that Gov. Holcomb, Rep. Bosma, and Sen. Long are all calling for state Attorney General Curtis Hill to resign. This follows a story broken by Tony Cook, Ryan Martin, and Kaitlin Lange, writing for the Indianapolis Star. They obtained a legal memo written as part of an investigation commissioned by legislative leaders concerning alleged sexual harassment by Hill.
The events in question apparently took place on March 15 at a bar near the State House following adjournment of the General Assembly sine die (Folks may remember that the adjournment was a bit of a shit show with bills turning into pumpkins as the clock struck midnight, requiring a special session.) According to the memo obtained by the Star, Hill grabbed a female lawmaker’s butt under her clothes, she told him to back off, he walked away, then he came and grabbed her again. (Update: Dan Carden, writing for NWI.com, reports that legislator in question was Mara Candelaria-Reardon.) Hill groped a legislative employee in a similar fashion, resisting her efforts to move his hand. He grabbed a second legislative employee around the waist and hugged her toward him. And, he rubbed the back of a third legislative employee for an extended period of time until she fled to the ladies room. And, he told women at the bar they needed to show skin or leg to get served at the bar.
Hill has apparently decided to defend with the Shaggy “wasn’t me” defense. Technically, his response was, “At no time was my behavior inappropriate nor did I touch anyone in an inappropriate manner.” In court — should the matter lead to criminal charges — Hill is entitled to a presumption of innocence. In the court of public opinion, the power of the State to deprive an individual of liberty is not at issue, so the burden of proof is not so steep. Right now, it looks like there is at least a prima facie case against Hill. The idea that this many people would so wildly misconstrue innocent interactions with Hill at the same time or conspire against him in a way that pulls the wool over the eyes of Bosma, Long, and Holcomb, seems implausible. Hill could theoretically come forth with information to rebut these charges, but the ball is in his court, and “nuh-uh” isn’t going to cut it.
This should go without saying, but women should be able to go to a bar without people pawing at them. (Anyone should, but in the vast majority of these situations, it’s men making unwelcome advances on women.) I went to a couple of post-sine die back when I worked at LSA. All I wanted to do at the end of session is have a few beers, enjoy the feeling of being finished, and then go sleep for about a million hours. And nobody got in my way or made it weird. That’s a privilege I took for granted. If the #MeToo movement has done nothing else, it’s made clear to a generally oblivious guy such as myself that the problem is far more pervasive than I would have guessed.
Hoosier One says
Exactly. Tell me, does the IN Constitution allow the General Assembly to impeach a state officer? Not that these guys would open that can. My understanding is a some of these leaders couldn’t withstand the scrutiny on their own lives.
Doug Masson says
Article 6, section 7, provides:
IC 5-8-1 provides more details on the process.
Carlito Brigante says
I am surprised by this incident. Not that I am surprised by Hill’s sexual assaults, or the sexual assaults of men with political or corporate power. That is a trait that crosses party lines. What surprises me is that Hill has likely acted this way in the past and has not been called out for it. Hill has spent a long time in partisan politics and there are a lot of females that worked for the Elkhart Prosecutor’s Office.
Another big concern is why didn’t any of the males present in the room call the man out or advise bar employees of this offensive conduct. Apparently the old boys’ club is still in full vigor.
As long as the discussion is about laws, isn’t sexual assault illegal? It sounds to me like someone could bring several counts against this guy. Then let the media handle the whole messy sequence of events. Mara Candelaria-Reardon is a sharp woman from East Chicago, and someone you don’t want to mess with.
Carlito Brigante says
The conduct is clearly battery, unwanted touchings. I am not sure if it would rise to sexual battery. The evidence against Hill is very strong and he no longer has any friends in the party. Hill needs to lawyer up, shut up and resign to “spend more time with his family.” He can save his law license and get a job somewhere because of his background.
Maybe he can save the family. He really needs to spend a lot more time with them. It sounds like he’s burned his bridges everywhere else.
Carlito Brigante says
I actually knew Hill back in the late 1980s. He was a new deputy prosecutor and seemed to have political aspirations. I never heard him make strong political statements one way or the other. But to win in Elkhart county you have to be a republican, and a far right one at that. The last sheriff in Elkhart County was a member of a far right sheriff’s group that believe that a county sheriff has preemptory power over the federal government.