-- An Indiana lawmaker at the center of groping allegations against Attorney
General Curtis Hill came forward Friday to accuse him publicly of groping
her twice during a party earlier this year, ratcheting up pressure on the
embattled Republican to resign.
Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon published her own account of the March 15
incident, which occurred at an Indianapolis bar, in The (Northwest Indiana)
Hill’s behavior as “deviant” when she encountered him in the early morning
hours after the legislative session ended for the year. She says he leaned
toward her, put his hand on her back, slid it down and grabbed her buttocks.
The Munster lawmaker says she told Hill to “back off,” but he approached her
again later in the night, put his hand on her back and said: “That skin.
Hill has denied
allegations that he groped Candelaria Reardon and three other legislative
staffers, which were included in a confidential memo leaked to news
organizations earlier this week. The Associated Press does not identify
alleged victims of sexual misconduct or assault unless they come forward
“My name is Mara
Candelaria Reardon. I am not anonymous. I am a wife, mother, business owner
and a state representative. I am also a victim of sexual battery,
perpetrated by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill,” she wrote in the
piece. “I speak out now, to support the other victims of Attorney General
Curtis Hill, who have not yet found their voice.”
Hill’s office says
he has not been in this week and a spokeswoman for the attorney general has
not responded to a request for comment.
Hill is a staunch
social conservative who is married and has been viewed as a rising star in
the Republican Party. The former Elkhart County prosecutor has visited the
White House several times since President Donald Trump took office. In May,
he warmed up the crowd at a rally Trump held in his hometown.
Reardon’s account of the event is all but certain to put more pressure on
Hill to step down.
On Thursday night,
Indiana’s top GOP leaders joined Democrats who had earlier said Hill should
“Four women had the
courage to step forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana attorney
general,” Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement Thursday night.
“The findings of the recent legislative report are disturbing and, at a
minimum, show a violation of the state’s zero tolerance sexual harassment
Republican statewide officeholders -- Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Secretary
of State Connie Lawson -- later also called on Hill to step down .
The call from
high-level Republicans for Hill to resign comes after Democrats ratcheted up
political pressure in an election year where female voters could make a big
difference at the polls. Over the past week, Democrats have harshly
criticized what they characterize as a lackluster Republican response to the
allegations against Hill. A Statehouse rally calling for Hill’s resignation
was being planned for Saturday.
against Hill were included in a confidential legislative memo that was
leaked this week to news outlets, including The Associated Press. The
document, which includes details from interviews with six women, offers a
picture of a drunken Hill carousing during the party.
Democratic Rep. Ed
DeLaney said that if Hill doesn’t resign, the Legislature should impeach
“I think there is
an adequate basis and the law provides for that,” said DeLaney, a lawyer
from Indianapolis. “I think he has no choice but to resign. But that doesn’t
mean he will take that choice.”
Hill has a
complicated relationship with fellow Indiana Republicans, particularly
Holcomb, and this week found himself with few allies. In the past he
vehemently criticized several policy initiatives Holcomb championed,
including expanded needle exchanges to reduce the spread of infectious
disease among drug users and a law legalizing the use of a cannabis-derived
medicine that can reduce seizures but won’t get you high.