INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
An Indiana legislator who says she was groped at a bar by state Attorney
General Curtis Hill wants to make it easier to remove some state
officeholders from their positions.
Mara Candelaria Reardon of Munster announced Friday the filing of a proposal
for a 12-member oversight commission with the power to oust the attorney
general for sexual misconduct. She also filed a bill that would prohibit
elected officials from using public money for attorneys or settlements
involving lawsuits alleging sexual assault, harassment or discrimination.
prosecutor declined in October to pursue any criminal charges against Hill,
despite a state report that witnesses said the Republican attorney general
inappropriately touched Candelaria Reardon and three female legislative
staffers during a March party at an Indianapolis bar celebrating the end of
the 2018 legislative session.
Hill has denied the
allegations. His office didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on
Candelaria Reardon’s proposals.
didn’t mention Hill in a statement announcing the bills, saying they were
meant to “send a clear message that people who sexually harass others will
face the consequences of their actions.”
“Through my own
experience and through conversations with law enforcement officers and the
public alike, it is clear that there are many loopholes in a system that
should protect women and men from having to face sexual harassment in the
workplace,” she said.
Some Democrats have
said they plan to seek Hill’s impeachment and removal from office, although
there have been questions about the Legislature’s authority to do so since
the attorney general’s position was created under state law and not included
in the Indiana Constitution. Candelaria Reardon’s proposal would give the
oversight commission such authority over the attorney general and state
schools superintendent, the other statewide office not listed in the
legislative leaders have said they don’t expect lawmakers will take any
action toward removing Hill from office even though Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt.
Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of State Connie Lawson and House Speaker
Brian Bosma - all Republicans - were among state leaders who said Hill
should resign after the allegations became public in July.
Bosma said the
bills “will be assigned to the appropriate committees for review. ... It
will be up to the committee chairs to determine which bills will proceed
further in the process.”
Candelaria Reardon’s bills would create the crime of lewd touching for
instances when someone intentionally rubs or fondles another person without
consent. The proposal would make such a crime a misdemeanor, but it would
become a felony if done under the threat or use of deadly force, by drugging
the victim or committed by an elected officeholder.