INDIANAPOLIS -- In letters, emails and voicemails to Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana voters expressed praise, disappointment and even anger at Holcomb's decision to call on Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to resign following allegations he inappropriately touched four women at a downtown Indianapolis bar earlier this year.
"It looks like a 'public lynching' of Mr. Hill without courtesy of due process," one emailer said.
CBS4 obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), capturing a snapshot of how Hoosiers responded to the allegations in the days and weeks after the accusations were first made public by The Indianapolis Star.
Among the dozens of pages of emails and letters, a majority of people who took the time to call or write appeared to back Hill at least in the interim and in part criticized the governor for what some viewed as a rush to judgment.
One email reads:
Why are you, Governor, and the rest of the GOP joining in to be jury judge and executioner in this thing with Mr. Curtis Hill? Are we not tried in a court of law? Why then have you tried him in the court of public opinion? How would you feel if someone accused you of something that either wasn't true, was a misrepresentation of the facts or simply was a misunderstanding or accident and everyone called for your resignation even though there were no criminal or civil charges and you kept crying out your innocence?
In several dozen responses, Hoosiers praised the governor's quick reaction, even calling on his administration to do more to force Hill out of office.
"I don't even have words for it," a caller said in a transcription of the voicemail, who referred to herself as a conservative. "I want to know what the Governor, Mr. Holcomb, is going to do to remove this man from office."
Parts of these separate emails mirrored similar sentiments:
"We, the women of Indiana, do not feel satisfied. No one should be subjected to unwanted sexual advances. The attorney general should maintain the highest levels of ethics and unquestionable character."
"Any type of sexual abusive conduct cannot be tolerated; no matter the environment it takes place in. As a woman I find his behavior disgusting and he needs to go. Enough of the brushing it under the rug and hoping it will go away. Curtis Hill must go."
"It's going to be hard for you if you don't do something about this problem with the attorney general, everyone is going to blame you for this being drugged out. The national news media is going to be brutal. I like you and don't want this to bring you down."
The MeToo movement was a theme among the constituent letters, both in arguments supporting the governor's position and opposing his call for Hill's resignation.
"Since the MeToo movement, many people have been flushed out, and rightfully so. At the same time, many have been falsely accused and lost a lot. I would look at his record, his beliefs, his story. I would look into who does not like him in the office and at the part. I am sure the man has a few enemies."
"So many people have been screaming "me too" and many on the end of judgment are innocent. But in an effort to not be tried by the media you and others have jumped on the bandwagon to escape your own judgment. If his is guilty then by all means I would join you. But I will wait for all of the facts..."
"Wake up. This should have been immediately reported to police to investigate. It would give Mr. Hill the ability to tell his side of the story, too. The lack of leadership and dismissive nature by the Republican leadership of the assaults is disgusting. #metoo"
A number of what appeared to be Republican voters either promised not to vote for Holcomb again or sent warning signals that the accusations were part of a plan to elect more Democrats.
"It seems to be at this point that it's entirely politically driven," a caller said in a transcription of the voicemail. "He has an excellent reputation here in Elkhart and, um, again Attorney Hill has my support. Governor Holcomb will no longer have my support."
Other emails highlighted similar points.
"Until proof, not hearsay (which is all that has been reported so far) is shown or AG Hill admits to the alleged behavior, I will believe him, and I and many other voters will remember those who turned on him without due process come the next election."
"My prediction is that if you and the republican party continue and successfully cause Mr. Hill to be removed from office with only an accusation then the games will begin. The Democrats will launch sexual harassment campaigns against every Republican on the ballot."
"I am sick & tired of Republicans being targeted and accused of sexual misconduct. SICK OF IT!!!! The accusers are or are associated with Democrats ... What will you say if YOU are the next to be accused??? I expect you will promptly resign - after all there will be nobody around to back you."
Indiana's Inspector General is investigating the allegations against Hill, which he has denied.
"Look, I believe the ladies that stepped forward," Holcomb said Tuesday. "I still do, but the process is playing out and we'll all learn together what that investigation yields."