INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The four women who accused Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill of sexual misconduct filed a federal lawsuit against Hill and the State of Indiana for alleged sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and violation of the Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment.
In March 2018, Democratic representative Mara Candelaria Reardon and three legislative staffers, Niki DaSilva, Samantha Lozano and Gabrielle McLemore, accused Hill of inappropriately groping them at a bar.
A criminal investigation and a state ethics probe resulted in no charges or action, but a disciplinary commission filed a complaint against Hill. That hearing is coming up in October.
Meanwhile, the four accusers filed a claim with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a tort claim notice which is a procedural requirement before someone sues the state.
The women announced Tuesday morning that they are filing a federal lawsuit against Hill.
“We have patiently followed procedures and policies from day one, hoping that we could trust this situation to be handled appropriately”, said Reardon. “Even though our claims have been found credible by our state leaders, including Governor Holcomb, and independent investigators, words will not be enough to protect us or future victims.”
The women are asserting claims under federal law including sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and constitutional equal protection claims.
They are also asserting Indiana state law claims for battery, defamation, and invasion of privacy.
The women want Hill and the State of Indiana be held accountable for Hill’s behavior and alleged retaliation. They also hope this case will prevent further misconduct. They also seek for the state to improve its policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment.
“We’re initiating litigation to ensure all individuals working in and around the Indiana Statehouse are able to perform their jobs and pursue their careers free from sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation for reporting such situations,” said DaSilva.
Hill has repeatedly denied the allegation since they were made public.
“We want to be agents of change for the pervasive culture of sexual misconduct that plagues the walls of government and other workplaces all across Indiana,” said Lozano. “All Hoosier workers, including state employees and our elected officials, deserve to feel safe in their work environment and protected from wrong doers.”
Hill’s office issued this statement:
Attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General filed their appearances to defend vigorously the State of Indiana and the Attorney General in a lawsuit filed today captioned DaSilva, et al. v. State of Indiana, et al. The lawsuit is related to allegations that have now been reviewed four times. The investigations all concluded without any recommendations for further action.
This latest legal action will be addressed in the court and through the proper procedures as established by law.
Under Indiana law, the Office of the Attorney General shall defend all suits instituted against the state and its officials.