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7/10/2018 9:28:00 AM
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill: "I want my name back"

Scott L. Miley, Herald Bulletin CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill asked Monday that calls for his resignation be rescinded as he maintained that he has been denied due process amid allegations that he groped two women and made inappropriate comments to others at a legislative party.

"These calls for my resignation are unwarranted, and these calls should be rescinded," Hill said at a morning press conference in his Statehouse office.

Hill said he had been a champion for victims and for Hoosiers' rights to due process when they are confronted by accusations. 

"Yet somehow that protection, that standard of fairness, the benefit of the doubt, that presumption of innocence until proven guilty has escaped my grasp. I never dreamed this could happen to me," Hill said.

"But yet here I stand. I stand before you a condemned man," said Hill, who took no questions from the media.

He concluded, "A week ago today I had a name. I want my name back."

Hill's resignation has been sought by Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state leaders, including House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne.

Holcomb has also asked the Indiana Office of the Inspector General to investigate. That office reviews fraud, waste and wrongdoing in state executive agencies.

Bosma and Long participated in investigations of the alleged March 15 groping incident after State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, reported the accusation on May 14.

Her name had not been used in news accounts but she came forward Friday to tell her story in a column in The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Shortly after Hill's press conference, Reardon issued a statement reading: “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," the statement read.

Reardon said she reported the incident in May after hearing that other women felt Hill was inappropriate at AJ's Lounge near downtown Indianapolis following the final late-night session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Reardon told Bosma and three legislative officials that an intoxicated Hill put his hands on her back, slid them down to her buttocks and grabbed her, according to a report from the investigation. She told Hill to "back off." He allegedly approached her later and grabbed her and she again told him to "back off."

A legislative staffer reported that Hill rubbed her back for two minutes and she gave "non-verbal" signs to an intern who broke up the conversation, according to the report. Others heard Hill say that they should "show a little skin" to get served quicker in the bar.

On Monday, Hill did not explain his actions at the bar in his statement, saying he was invited to attend by a friend, Tony Samuel. Samuel was vice chairman for Donald Trump's presidential campaign in Indiana. 

On Saturday, five female state legislators joined a group of about 90 outside the Statehouse to voice support for victims of sexual harassment and call for Hill to step down. Organizers, including the Indiana Coalition for Crime Victims Rights and the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault, labeled the event a "Rally to Support the Victims of Curtis Hill."

On Monday, Hill also said there was inconsistency between what Reardon told the legislative investigator and the account in her column.

"She said I arrived at AJ’s alone when in fact I was a guest of Tony Samuel. Furthermore, she confirmed that her accusation contained in the confidential report was materially inaccurate," Hill said.

On Monday, he focused mostly on his response to an investigation, which was leaked to news media in late June. He said he learned of the investigation on June 29.

"Victims of sex and/or sexual harassment deserve to have their voices heard. As a prosecuting attorney, I fought hard for the rights of victims, while also safeguarding the rights of the accused," Hill said.

"This is America, and in America we cannot look overlook the presumption of innocence," Hill said.

"I now stand falsely and publicly accused of abhorrent behavior. These false allegations have irretrievably damaged my reputation," Hill said.

On Monday, the Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody sent a public records request to Hill's office seeking documents pertaining to any state resources he may used to facilitate travel or activities on March 14 or 15. The request also asked for staff turnover rates in Hill's office.

Related Stories:
• As Munster legislator speaks out, Indiana AG denies groping allegations
• Gov. Eric Holcomb, top state Republicans call for AG Curtis Hill to resign
• Indiana Attorney General accused of inappropriate touching of women
• EDITORIAL: Accusations against Indiana attorney general demand immediate attention
• Special prosecutor to be appointed for Indiana attorney general groping investigation
• Aide to state senator claims Hoosier Attorney General groped her
• Indiana attorney general expands efforts to rebut groping allegations
• EDITORIAL: Embattled attorney general has chance at self-defense

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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