INDIANAPOLIS (AP) —
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill defiantly rejected calls to resign on
Monday, saying his name has been "dragged through the gutter," following
allegations that he inappropriately touched a lawmaker and several female
legislative staffers during a party.
The Republican said
during a news conference where he did not take questions that he has been
unfairly treated by lawmakers and the media, and stands "falsely and
publicly accused of abhorrent behavior."
"These past several
days and weeks, my name and reputation have been dragged through the gutter
in ways that I would have never imagined. Apparently in this climate the
standard is guilty and 'who cares if you're innocent?'" he said from a
podium in his office. "A week ago today, I had a name. And I want my name
The claims against
Hill were made public after an internal legislative memo detailing the
allegations was leaked to the media last week. In it, a state lawmaker and
three legislative staffers said Hill drunkenly groped them during a March
Mara Candelaria Reardon and Gabrielle McLemore, the Indiana Senate
Democrats' communications director, came forward Friday saying they were
among the victims.
Hill called the
allegations "vicious and false" and said he looked forward to "the day when
I can speak freely and answer questions." He didn't respond to shouted
questions about whether he was calling the women liars.
In a statement
released after the news conference, Candelaria Reardon fired back, saying
that Hill was the one who had lied.
through his actions, has betrayed the public trust and lied about his
actions to the very citizens he serves," said Candelaria Reardon, of
Munster. "I will continue to cooperate with any and all investigations into
this matter until such a time that Curtis Hill is held accountable for his
Rep. Ryan Dvorak of
South Bend, a city the neighbors Hill's hometown of Elkhart, also lambasted
"The attorney general calls a press conference to cry about not being able
to tell his side of the story, then immediately refuses to tell his side of
the story," the Democrat tweeted .
Over the past week, Republicans and Democrats alike have ratcheted up
pressure on Hill to resign. Democrats were the first to call for him to step
down. But they were joined on Thursday by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and
GOP legislative leaders, who said that they believe the women.
Hill said Monday
that he respects the governor but wished he would have reached out to him
"before rushing to judgment." Holcomb spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson said the
governor does not have any additional comment at this time.
Candelaria Reardon published a column that described Hill's behavior as
"deviant" when she encountered him at an Indianapolis bar in the early
morning hours after the legislative session ended for the year. She said he
leaned toward her, put his hand on her back, slid it down and grabbed her
She said she told
Hill to "back off," but he approached again later in the night, put his hand
on her back and said: "That skin. That back."
McLemore said Hill
cornered her at the party and asked, "Do you know who I am?" and proceeded
to massage her back, while she worried what others who noticed Hill's
unwanted advances would think.
Hill, a staunch
social conservative who is married, had been viewed as a rising star in the
Republican Party since his election in 2016. The former Elkhart County
prosecutor is also an Elvis impersonator who has relished punditry
appearances on Fox News.
If Hill doesn't
resign, majority Republicans could take action to remove him. Indiana GOP
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Republican leader David Long did not
immediately respond to an inquiry regarding whether they plan to take