Former Statehouse intern says House Speaker Brian Bosma tried to intimidate her over sexual encounter claim

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- He investigated groping allegations against the attorney general.

He is crafting a first-ever sexual harassment policy for legislators.

He is also the same man who aggressively investigated the credibility of a former Statehouse intern who said she had a sexual encounter with him decades ago, according to our media partners at the IndyStar.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican and one of the state’s most powerful politicians, paid a law firm more than $40,000 in campaign funds this year in part to gather unflattering information about the former intern. Family members of the woman claim Bosma’s attorney threatened to reveal the unfavorable information about her if her account became public and to expose her name even if news organizations withheld it.

The woman, who was 20 at the time, did not accuse Bosma of a crime. Bosma denies the encounter took place. And the defense lawyer he hired, Linda Pence, denies the family’s claims and says she acted appropriately in investigating the allegation about her client.

Read more from our newsgathering partners at the IndyStar.

Bosma released the following statement in response to the story:

"This unsubstantiated story from over 26 years ago is unequivocally false. It wasn’t true then and it’s not true now. The source of this claim has been entirely discredited on several occasions and no responsible journalist would publish it. My engagement of Linda Pence, a well-respected attorney and Democrat, was for the purpose of protecting my reputation from a false story by the Indianapolis Star.”

A day after the story broke, a group of more than 60 Republican lawmakers and candidates announced their support for Bosma in a joint statement:

“We stand with Speaker Brian Bosma against this attempt by the Indianapolis Star to discredit him, a conservative leader, with uncorroborated allegations. Having worked alongside the Speaker, some of us for decades, we know him to be a man of integrity, and we believe him. Speaker Bosma has been a great leader making Indiana the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family. We stand by him 100 percent as he continues to lead our state forward.”

Signed by:

State Representative Dave Abbott
State Representative Michael Aylesworth
State Representative Ron Bacon
House Candidate Dr. Brad Barrett
State Representative Steve Bartels
State Representative Bob Behning
State Representative Woody Burton
State Representative Martin Carbaugh
State Representative Robert Cherry
State Representative Anthony Cook
State Representative Steve Davisson
State Representative Dale DeVon
State Representative Sean Eberhart
State Representative Jeff Ellington
State Representative Karen Engleman
State Representative Bill Friend (Speaker Pro Tempore)
State Representative Dave Frizzell (Assistant Majority Floor Leader)
State Representative Randy Frye
House Candidate Chuck Goodrich
State Representative Doug Gutwein
State Representative Bob Heaton (Majority Whip)
State Representative Dave Heine
State Representative Todd Huston
State Representative Jack Jordan
State Representative Chris Judy
State Representative Mike Karickhoff (Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore)
State Representative Cindy Kirchhofer
State Representative Don Lehe
State Representative Matt Lehman (Majority Floor Leader)
State Representative Dan Leonard
State Representative Shane Lindauer
State Representative Jim Lucas (Assistant Majority Whip)
State Representative Randy Lyness
State Representative Kevin Mahan
House Candidate Ethan Manning
State Representative Chris May
State Representative Peggy Mayfield (Assistant Majority Floor Leader)
State Representative Wendy McNamara (Assistant Majority Whip)
State Representative Doug Miller
State Representative Bob Morris
State Representative Alan Morrison
State Representative Sharon Negele (Assistant Majority Whip)
State Representative Julie Olthoff
House Candidate J.D. Prescott
State Representative Jim Pressel
State Representative Kathy Richardson (Majority Caucus Chair)
State Representative Tom Saunders (Assistant Majority Caucus Chair)
State Representative Donna Schaibley
State Representative Sally Siegrist
State Representative Hal Slager
State Representative Ben Smaltz
State Representative Ed Soliday (Assistant Majority Floor Leader)
State Representative Mike Speedy
State Representative Greg Steuerwald (Assistant Majority Caucus Chair)
House Candidate Christy Stutzman
State Representative Holli Sullivan
State Representative Jeff Thompson
State Representative Jerry Torr
State Representative Heath VanNatter
State Representative Tim Wesco
State Representative Dave Wolkins
State Representative John Young
State Representative Dennis Zent
State Representative Cindy Ziemke