Indiana Attorney General, Accused of Groping, Faces Calls for Resignation

Republican leaders in Indiana joined Democrats on Thursday in calling for the resignation of Curtis Hill, the state’s attorney general, who has been accused of groping four women at a bar in March.

The women said Mr. Hill, a Republican who was elected in November 2016, inappropriately touched them at a party in the early-morning hours of March 15, celebrating the last night of the legislative session.

Mara Candelaria Reardon, a Democratic lawmaker from Munster, wrote in an op-ed in The Times of Northwest Indiana on Friday that she was one of the women. She said he put his hand on her back, slid it down and grabbed her buttocks. She told him to “back off” and walked away, but he later approached her and put his hand on her back again, she wrote.

She said she planned to address it personally with Mr. Hill until she heard other women say he had touched them as well.

“These young women came to Indianapolis to be mentored and taught professional conduct, not to be assaulted,” she wrote.

In a statement on Friday, Mr. Hill denied the accusations and said he would not resign, demanding an investigation by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office that he believed would exonerate him.

“The allegations against me are vicious and false,” he said. “At no time did I ever grab or touch anyone inappropriately. The lack of fairness and the failure to recognize my constitutional rights are a travesty.”

The accusations surfaced in a confidential memo, dated June 18, that was prepared for lawmakers by a law firm and leaked to news organizations on Monday.

According to the memo, one legislative worker said Mr. Hill groped her buttocks, and told a group of women: “Don’t you know how to get drinks? You have to show a little skin!”

Another legislative worker said he put his hand on her back and rubbed it up and down for about two minutes. Another said he put his arm around her waist and somewhat “hugged” her to him.

Democrats immediately called for him to step down after the memo leaked. But Republicans didn’t join the call until Thursday, when Gov. Eric Holcomb was among those to speak out against Mr. Hill and call for an investigation by the inspector general.

The state’s Republican lieutenant governor, Suzanne Crouch, said she fully supported the governor’s statement.

“Sexual harassment should never be tolerated,” she wrote on Twitter.

In his statement on Friday, Mr. Hill said the inspector general would be unable to conduct a “fair and independent investigation” because the governor “has already determined the outcome of the investigation.”

In a joint statement on Thursday, Speaker Brian C. Bosma and the Senate president pro tem, David Long, both Republicans, said that they believed the accusers, despite Mr. Hill’s denials.

While the Democratic and Republican leaders agreed that Mr. Hill should step down, they do not have legislative power to force him out.

“Curtis Hill is not our employee; if he was, he would already have been fired,” the lawmakers said in the statement. “Because we cannot terminate his employment, we ask instead for him to own up to his actions, apologize publicly to the victims, and tender his resignation immediately.”

John Zody, the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, said in a statement that Republicans “were right to echo the call” for Mr. Hill’s resignation.

“We will continue to stand with those who had the courage to come forward while, in the meantime, it seems Hoosiers will also continue to wait for Curtis Hill to do the right thing,” he said.

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