Four women who say they were groped at a March 2018 party by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) have filed a civil suit after a special prosecutor declined to bring charges.
After the prosecutor found the claims “credible” but said he lacked evidence of intent needed to prove battery, the group opted to file their federal suit, which claims Hill engaged in sexual harassment, retaliation, gender discrimination, battery, defamation, and invasion of privacy.
Hill is a far-right social conservative who has worked to undermine reproductive health access, marriage equality for same-sex couples, medical marijuana, needle exchange programs, and voting rights. He has frequently advised President Donald Trump on law enforcement issues and has been praised by Vice President Mike Pence for “working very closely with our administration” on that subject.
According to the four women behind the suit — a Democratic state legislator, two Democratic legislative staffers, and a Republican legislative staffer — Hill allegedly groped each of them while intoxicated at a party to celebrate the legislature’s adjournment.
State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D), Democratic legislative assistant Samantha Lozano, Republican legislative assistant Niki DaSilva, and Gabrielle McLemore, the state senate Democrats’ communications director, came forward last year and alleged separate sexual assaults by Hill at the same event.
Reardon told The Daily Beast that Hill allegedly “slid his hand onto my exposed back and down into my dress and grabbed my ass.” He allegedly did the same to the others.
Multiple witnesses observed his alleged behavior, which allegedly included him telling women at the bar “you’ve got to show a little skin” to get faster service.
After their allegations became public, Hill said he had been “publicly and falsely accused of abhorrent behavior” and “dragged through the gutter.” Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), state House Speaker Brian Bosma (R), and state Senate Majority Leader David Long (R) were unswayed and called on Hill to resign last July.
An investigation by Indiana’s Inspector General found that “multiple eyewitnesses” from both parties said Hill’s conduct had been “inappropriate,” “creepy,” and “unwelcome.” In October, the special prosecutor assigned to investigate the complaints said he could not prove that a crime occurred and declined to bring charges.
At that time, Holcomb reaffirmed his call for Hill to step down. “I said I believed the women who stepped forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana Attorney General,” he said in a statement. “The special prosecutor agreed and said, ‘I have accepted the victim statements as true.’”
Hill’s campaign website priorities section states, “As the former Prosecuting Attorney for Elkhart County, I have fought my entire career to keep Hoosier families safe, especially from substance abuse and crimes of violence.”
UPDATE: In an emailed statement, Hill’s office said: “Attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General filed their appearances to defend vigorously the State of Indiana and the Attorney General in a lawsuit filed today captioned DaSilva, et al. v. State of Indiana, et al. The lawsuit is related to allegations that have now been reviewed four times. The investigations all concluded without any recommendations for further action.
This latest legal action will be addressed in the court and through the proper procedures as established by law.
Under Indiana law, the Office of the Attorney General shall defend all suits instituted against the state and its officials.”