State lawmakers work to craft sexual harassment prevention policy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Lawmakers returned to the Statehouse Tuesday, crafting a new policy to prevent sexual harassment.

It comes after four women, including State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon and three staff members, accused Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill of inappropriately touching them at a party in March.

"It can't be just let's put a policy on the table, let's put a policy of what kind of consequences are gonna result in these kind of actions," Gabrielle McLemore, one of Hill's accusers, said.

The legislative council unanimously passed a resolution addressing a sexual harassment prevention policy for the General Assembly, but for the women it still needs work.

"We are particularly concerned about whether the ethics committee is the appropriate body to oversee the administration of this policy," Hannah Kaufman, an attorney representing the women, said.

"Very light on the detail. It needs to have actual procedures and policies to be followed," State Rep. Candelaria Reardon said.

A special prosecutor didn't file charges against Hill, saying intent wasn't proven, but it keeps coming up.  State Rep. Ed DeLaney said he'll introduce legislation to impeach Hill, but that would require a two-thirds majority from each chamber.

State Rep. Candelaria Reardon shouts 'resign' from the third floor during an event about crime prevention Hill hosted at the Statehouse Tuesday. She said she thinks he is no longer able to do his job effectively and that is grounds for impeachment.

Lawmakers were tasked with recommending a sexual harassment prevention policy to govern members, including prevention training and procedures for investigating claims.

"We will have time in the next 45 days or so to hone it and to polish it and we are hiring outside counsel so that if we have missed something that is important for the policy, that can be added. So we have some time for the policy to evolve continually," State Sen. Jim Merritt, who serves on the legislative council, said.

"We have a real and genuine opportunity to make that scope larger," State Rep. Candelaria Reardon said.

The full legislative bodies will now get a say in the policy as well.

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