INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill didn’t take questions during a nearly seven-minute statement to the media about groping allegations that he says have dragged his name through the mud.
The attorney general, speaking in front of reporters Monday morning, said he has not been given due process and railed against the investigation that has embroiled him in a political scandal.
Four women accuse Hill of inappropriately touching them at a bar on March 15 after the state legislative session came to an end. Two of the women came forward last week.
Gabby McLemore, the communications director for the Indiana Senate Democrats, was one of those women. She told our media partners at the IndyStar that Hill cornered her and started rubbing her back.
Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, a Democrat from Munster, also shared her story, saying Hill violated her at the same party by putting his hand on her back, then sliding it to her backside.
Hill, who released a statement Friday saying the allegations were false and insisted he wouldn’t resign despite calls from top leaders in the state’s Republican Party to do so, hit back at the allegations. He expressed frustration with what he called a lack of due process and the fundamental standard of fairness of “innocent until proven guilty.”
“I never dreamed this could happen to me,” Hill said. “And yet, here I stand. I stand before you a condemned man. Condemned without trial. Condemned without notice. Condemned without the benefit of any of the basic rights that ensure fairness.”
Hill said his name has been dragged through the gutter in ways he never imagined.
“Apparently, in this climate, the standard is ‘guilty, but who cares if you’re innocent,’” he said.
According to Hill’s account, he learned about the internal investigation regarding workplace sexual harassment allegations on June 29, just before he was getting ready to board a flight. Three days later, a leaked memo about the investigation went public, and calls for Hill’s resignation followed.
He said he was convicted without the chance to be heard or hear any notice about the accusations. He maintained that he was "falsely and publicly accused of abhorrent behavior" and said the allegations have "irretrievably damaged" his reputation.
"This is America. And in America, we cannot overlook the importance of innocent until proven guilty. I was not afforded fairness in this investigation," he said.
Hill remarked that he respected Gov. Eric Holcomb but said he wished the governor had reached out to him before calling for the attorney general's resignation once the groping allegations came to light. Hill also hit out at the media and social media, saying the mounting appetite for sensationalism led to a rush to judgement.
"I anticipate and welcome the opportunity to have my side heard through a proper investigation," he said, adding that he wouldn't take questions until that investigation took place. "I look forward to the day when I can speak freely and answer any questions that you may have."
"A week ago today, I had a name," Hill said at the conclusion of his statement. "And I want my name back."
Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, one of Hill's accusers, released a statement following Hill's news conference:
“When we take the oath of office, to serve the citizens of Indiana, we agree to be held to a certain standard and honor the trust the public has placed in us. Curtis Hill, through his actions has betrayed the public trust, and lied about his actions to the very citizens he serves. 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 abhorrent behavior. “
Representative Mara Candelaria Reardon
Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) also reacted to Hill's statement:
“I am more than disappointed by the stance the Attorney General is taking. Comments during his press conference and his posturing on his own campaign website are inappropriate. I am also disturbed and angered by the tone he has taken in trying to discredit and intimidate the victims of his egregious behavior.
“It is unfortunate that the Attorney General has decided to remain in his seat as Indiana’s chief law enforcement officer, instead of stepping aside. These allegations will continue to discredit this important office, and is an unnecessary distraction from the work that needs to be carried out by his office.
“Today, I reinforce my call for his resignation, and am glad that leaders and elected officials from both parties, including the governor, have joined me in this call.”