STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Indiana attorney general sued over groping allegations

Indiana's attorney general is being sued in federal court by four women who say he drunkenly groping them during a party last year.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 11:07 AM
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 4:47 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's attorney general is facing allegations of sexual harassment and defamation in a federal lawsuit filed by four women who say he drunkenly groped them during a party last year.

The women and their lawyers announced the lawsuit against Republican state Attorney General Curtis Hill during a Tuesday news conference. The women's lawyers said in October that they intended to sue Hill after a special prosecutor declined to pursue criminal charges against him.

Hill is accused of touching the backs or buttocks of Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon of Munster and three legislative staffers in March 2018 at an Indianapolis bar. Hill has denied wrongdoing and rebuffed calls from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state officials to resign.

The lawsuit also accuses the state of Indiana of inadequately protecting Statehouse employees from sexual harassment and workplace retaliation.

Candelaria Reardon said the lawsuit seeks "institutional change."

"When an elected official betrays the trust, the public trust, in such an egregious way so as to commit sexual battery and assault and doesn't have the honor to resign, to maintain the dignity of the office, there have to be consequences for those actions and there have to be options to hold him accountable," she said.

The attorney general's office said it would "defend vigorously" the state and Hill in federal court.

"The lawsuit is related to allegations that have now been reviewed four times," the office said in a statement. "The investigations all concluded without any recommendations for further action."

Hill faces an October hearing on possible sanctions from the state Supreme Court on allegations that he committed professional misconduct at the party, which could lead to his disbarment as an attorney.

Hill, a former Elkhart County prosecutor who was elected in 2016 to a term that runs through the end of 2020, called the women's allegations "vicious and false" during a news conference shortly after they became public last summer.

The lawsuit maintains that Hill's comments to reporters and in social media posts defamed the women and hurt their professional reputations. It seeks unspecified monetary damages from the state and Hill personally, an apology from Hill for his denials and an injunction ordering the state to adopt tougher sexual harassment policies.

The special prosecutor noted that Hill didn't deny the touching occurred, but that he justified it as "incidental ... in the crowded bar" and "not intended to be disrespectful, sexual in nature or rude." A separate state inspector general's report cited eyewitnesses who called Hill's behavior inappropriate and "creepy" but said he didn't break any state ethics rules.

Niki DaSilva, a legislative assistant for the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus, described keeping her Statehouse office door locked when she was inside after her allegations against Hill became public in fear of Hill or someone working for him walking in. The women said they also faced offensive remarks and avoided some work-related social events because of uncomfortable reactions from legislators or other staff members.

Hannah Kaufman Joseph, an attorney for the women, said the state has no consistent policy regarding sexual harassment covering lawmakers, statewide elected officials, lobbyists and staff members and faulted it for not seeking independent investigations of such allegations.

"The state of Indiana has simply failed to adequately protect the individuals that work in and around the Statehouse — all of them — as required by federal law," she said.

West Lafayette
78° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 80°
Kokomo
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Williamsport
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Frankfort
Overcast
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Delphi
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 72°
Monticello
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 72°
Logansport
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49575

Reported Deaths: 2739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11812690
Lake5337247
Elkhart343257
Allen2867133
St. Joseph202569
Cass16439
Hamilton1629101
Hendricks1439100
Johnson1306118
Porter78038
Tippecanoe7439
Clark67144
Madison66864
Vanderburgh6296
LaPorte59727
Bartholomew59245
Howard58258
Kosciusko5654
Marshall5217
Noble49128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4773
Delaware46052
Boone45944
Hancock45736
Shelby43425
Floyd39144
Morgan32831
Monroe31528
Grant30226
Montgomery29720
Henry29316
Dubois2906
Clinton2882
White26810
Decatur25532
Lawrence25125
Dearborn24723
Vigo2408
Warrick23229
Harrison21722
Greene19132
Miami1892
Jennings17912
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess15017
Wayne1496
Perry1409
Orange13623
Steuben1332
Franklin1278
Jasper1252
Ripley1247
Wabash1152
Carroll1122
Fayette1037
Gibson1032
Newton9910
Whitley995
Starke963
Huntington822
Randolph804
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox650
Clay644
Rush603
Owen511
Adams491
Posey490
Benton480
Spencer461
Sullivan451
Brown421
Blackford392
Fountain332
Crawford320
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio210
Vermillion170
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events