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UPDATE (Oct. 23, 2018)– The special prosecutor elected to not file charges against Hill. Read more here.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Attorney General Curtis Hill has been accused of inappropriately touching a lawmaker and three legislative staffers. The four women claim the incidents happened at AJ’s Lounge on the final night of the legislative session, March 15.
FOX59’s news gathering partners at the Indy Star were the first to report the allegations, which prompted an investigation by leaders of the Indiana General Assembly.
In a confidential report obtained by Indy Star, one woman alleges that Hill put his hand under her clothes and grabbed her buttocks. Another woman says Hill slid his hand down her back and groped her buttocks. Two other women say Hill grabbed them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable.
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin (D-Austin), Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) and Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) said in a statement that they learned of the allegations on May 14 and opened an investigation, which has now been completed.
“On Monday, May 14, legislative leaders were first made aware of employee concerns regarding Attorney General Hill’s conduct at a social gathering at the closing of this year’s legislative session. House and Senate personnel policies strictly prohibit all forms of sexual harassment and clearly state that no employee should be subjected to unsolicited or unwelcome sexual advances or conduct, either verbal or physical. In accordance with House and Senate policies, interviews of those employees expressing concern were immediately conducted and outside counsel was engaged to be certain that the matter was handled properly and thoroughly. Our investigation has been completed and the matter has been addressed with the Attorney General to the satisfaction of the employees involved. Protection of House and Senate employees is of paramount importance to legislative leaders.”
In a statement sent to FOX59 Monday, Hill denied the accusations, calling them “deeply troubling” and “vicious.”
“These allegations are deeply troubling. Following dinner, I was invited to AJ’s lounge for the legislative end of session party. The celebration at AJ’s was very crowded with, legislators, lobbyists, staffers and others. The atmosphere was light and jovial, as would be expected in a bar. I interacted with several people – talking, laughing, and telling stories. At no time was my behavior inappropriate nor did I touch anyone in an inappropriate manner. While the celebration continued, I left with the gentleman who had invited me and went home. I have never been contacted by any investigator. I have not been informed of who made these allegations nor have I been provided any due process with regard to these vicious allegations.”
Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer released to following statement on an allegations, saying the GOP has “zero tolerance for sexual harassment.”
“I am continuing to learn about the details of the investigation into allegations against Attorney General Curtis Hill. I appreciate that Speaker Bosma and President Pro Tem Long acted promptly to look into the allegations, and that they acted in a bipartisan manner with Democrat legislative leadership to name an independent counsel to investigate.
“It’s important to be clear: As the Republican Party, we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, and that’s the standard to which we all should adhere. Actions like these alleged have no place in public life or anywhere else.”
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement, calling for Hill to resign.
“Like Governor Eric Holcomb has previously stated, Hoosier Democrats agree that there’s ‘zero room for harassment of any kind in any state government workplace’. These actions are never acceptable. We believe the multiple allegations against the Attorney General are serious, and raise material doubts over whether he can effectively carry out the duties of his office. Hill is Indiana’s chief law enforcement officer. It is not only his job to carry out the laws passed by the Indiana General Assembly, but also to protect Hoosiers from waste, fraud and abuse. The allegations reported yesterday are beyond troubling and wildly inappropriate in a professional or social environment for any person, much less a statewide elected official charged with such responsibility. Attorney General Hill should spare Hoosiers from this controversy and resign from office.”
On Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued this statement:
“I’m in a remote area of Montana with Janet celebrating our anniversary for a few days. I have limited information from media sources I’m able to access.
“We took great care to update our sexual harassment policies for the executive, legislative and judicial branches in the past few months. No one should be subjected to unwanted sexual advances. I commend House and Senate leaders for their immediate and formal follow up to the allegations presented to them.
“I’ll return to Indianapolis late tomorrow night. Until I’ve reviewed the facts in detail, I will have no further comment.”
The office of Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry issued this statement:
“No investigation has been presented to our office by law enforcement regarding this matter. If it were to become a criminal investigation, Prosecutor Curry would be required to request a special prosecutor due to the Attorney General’s Office statutory role as counsel for all elected Indiana prosecutors in civil matters, as well as representing the State of Indiana in criminal appeals. The Attorney General currently represents the Marion County Prosecutor in two pending civil cases, as well as handling criminal appeals from Marion County.”
No charges have been filed in connection with these alleged incidents.