A rising Indiana Republican, Attorney General Curtis Hill, has been accused by a state lawmaker and three other women on the staff of the Indiana General Assembly of inappropriately touching them in a sexual manner during a party in a downtown bar during the early hours of March 15 celebrating the end of the last legislative session.
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Hill, who was elected AG in 2017, has been building a national profile as a social conservative and has met with President Trump at least four times to discuss issues including school safety and prison reform.
Hill has also fought to strengthen the Republican position on marriage only being between a man and a woman and criticized black NFL players who protested on the field.
An African American and father of five, Hill has denied the charges that were investigated by the Indiana General Assembly leadership, which hired an outside law firm to do an investigation, according to the IndyStar.
Four women have come forward. So far. What has Republican leadership done about these allegations of decidedly criminal behavior? First, they did… https://t.co/d3w511i2nu
— Christina Zacny for State Representative (@ChristinaZacny) July 4, 2018
The newspaper published an eight-page memo written June 18 about the allegations but redacted the names of the four women who made the accusations, which are detailed, and two others who witnessed the alleged groping.
“One lawmaker said an intoxicated Hill put his hands on her back, slid them down her back, put them under her clothes and grabbed her buttocks,” reported the IndyStar.
“She told him to ‘back off’ and walked away,” continued the IndyStar, “but Hill approached her again later and again reached under her clothing and grabbed her buttocks. She again told him to ‘back off.'”
The report, according to the IndyStar, “concluded that Hill’s behavior toward the legislative employees was ‘certainly inappropriate’ but was ‘not sufficiently severe or pervasive to establish a valid claim’ of workplace abuse.”
It does not rise to the level of workplace abuse because it did not take place in the workplace – the state legislature – and Hill is not an employee of the Indiana Assembly so he is not considered subject to prohibitions on inappropriate interaction with other employees.
The memo did say that Hill’s actions were “likely egregious enough to meet the threshold of ‘severe,”
According to the memo, Hill ran his hands under the clothes of a female lawmaker and then grabbed her butt.
The report also says that Hill grabbed a legislative staffer’s buttocks, and inappropriately hugged and touched two other employees.
The memo also alleges that Hill told women they needed to “show a little skin” if they wanted to get free drinks or be served faster.
There are no current plans for criminal charges, although that is a possibility. It is more likely there could be civil rights violations under state law which could lead to litigation, although none has been threatened or filed to date.
Hill, in denying the allegations to the IndyStar, insisted he has never been contacted about any inquiry or investigation into the matter.
That puts him at odds with the official account in a statement sent to the IndyStar that was attributed to was attributed to Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, Republican Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, Democratic House Minority Leader Terry Goodin, and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane.
“Our investigation has been completed and the matter has been addressed with the Attorney General to the satisfaction of the employees involved,” the statement said. “Protection of House and Senate employees is of paramount importance to legislative leaders.”
One victim told the IndyStar she was angry that Hill denied his actions and “disappointed that nothing can be done to censure him formally.”
Whether this will have any impact on Hill in the future, as a conservative spokesman, or when he runs for reelection or a higher office, it is likely to be used by his opponents to raise questions about his character.
A close friend of Trump bringing the Trump-Republican style of sexual assault to the Indiana State House. So sad. @indgop please DO NOT tolerate this behavior!
— A.J. Reynolds (@AJ__Reynolds) July 3, 2018
If and when Hill meets with Trump for the fifth time they could share stories about groping women although that is unlikely to ever be made public.
As one of the rare African American Republicans, this no doubt will be a taint that will hang off Hill for a long time to come, as it should, especially if he runs for the U.S. Senate as it has been rumored.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is not ruling out a possible Republican bid for a U.S. Senate seat https://t.co/Hcfqzc2neY
— FOX59 News (@FOX59) August 13, 2017