Governor Holcomb, lawmakers call for AG Hill's resignation

AG Curtis Hill called to resign
Lawmakers call for AG's resignation
More calls for AG Hill's resignation
New calls for Hill to resign

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Governor Eric Holcomb and several top lawmakers are calling on Indiana's attorney general to resign over allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Attorney General Curtis Hill is accused of groping four women, including a state lawmaker and three staffers, at an Indianapolis bar. For his part, Hill denies the claims and says he will not resign. Those accusations first surfaced in a memo given to us by the Associated Press and originally published by the Indy Star.

Thursday evening, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) issued a statement calling for Hill's resignation:

“We believe that the women who came forward with accounts of inappropriate behavior by Attorney General Curtis Hill in the early hours of March 15, 2018, are telling the truth regardless of the Attorney General’s denial of these allegations. We do not believe that Curtis Hill, as chief law enforcement officer of the State of Indiana, can continue to perform his duties, nor should he, and we call for his immediate resignation. We have further requested that the Indiana Inspector General thoroughly investigate these allegations. Sexual harassment is unacceptable at any time, in any place. It makes no difference that these incidents did not occur in a workplace environment. Curtis Hill is not our employee; if he was, he would already have been fired. Because we cannot terminate his employment, we ask instead for him to own up to his actions, apologize publicly to the victims, and tender his resignation immediately.”

Holcomb echoed the request of lawmakers.

"Four women had the courage to step forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana Attorney General. The findings of the recent legislative report are disturbing and, at a minimum, show a violation of the state’s zero tolerance sexual harassment policy. I concur with Sen. Long and Speaker Bosma that Attorney General Hill should resign, and I support a thorough investigation by the state’s Inspector General," the governor said in a statement.

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch put her support behind the governor Thursday night, saying, in a statement, "Sexual harassment should never be tolerated."

“Indiana has no tolerance for harassment of any kind. I appreciate tonight’s statements from our Governor, Lt. Governor and legislative leadership," Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in a statement. "Indiana deserves a safe work environment, which extends beyond the workplace. I am disappointed that I must make such a call, but Attorney General Hill should resign. Our state leaders are held to a higher standard and must behave in such a manner."

House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin (D-Austin) told Hill "it is time for you to go" in a statement released Thursday night:

“It had been my hope that the Attorney General could realize on his own that his salacious behavior has no place in our state government, then do us all a favor and quit.

“Now that his governor and his party leadership in the Indiana General Assembly have weighed in, let me make it unanimous: Mr. Attorney General, it is time for you to go.

“Let us praise those brave women who came forth and spoke of this vile conduct against them. They are the ones to admire for their courage.

“I had already been in discussions with our state Inspector General about the need to investigate this matter. I am glad that others have asked for the investigation as well. As it proceeds, let us make sure we support and protect the victims.

“It’s in the hands of our Attorney General to live up to his charge as our state’s chief law enforcement officer and do what’s right. Quit.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody applauded the state's Republican lawmakers for calling for Hill's resignation.

“Statehouse Republicans were right to echo the call for Attorney General Hill to resign amid the allegations uncovered this week. We will continue to stand with those who had the courage to come forward while, in the meantime, it seems Hoosiers will also continue to wait for Curtis Hill to do the right thing,” he said.

Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) told Eyewitness News Thursday night the women were brave for stepping forward with their stories. He said if Hill doesn't step down on his own, he's prepared to take action himself.

"He should take it's not a hint, take what amounts to a threat from the leadership and resign, if he doesn't, I, for one, will move for his impeachment. I've talked to other legislators about it and they feel the same way," DeLaney said.

The investigation into allegations of groping by the Hill is coming under increasing scrutiny. One Indiana University law professor says the memo is not enough.

"This is what you call a whitewash. This is not a good investigation or at least I have not seen one," said Jennifer Drobac, the R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law at the IU McKinney School of Law.

Drobac, who specializes in sexual assault law, says the investigation memo from four leaders of the Indiana House and Senate raises more questions than it answers.

"The question arises, were other witnesses identified and questioned? Were the allegations substantiated? That is not clear from the documents I have seen published. This looks really unprofessional. For example, I have never heard of an investigation in which the accused is not interviewed," she said.

Other state lawmakers have called on Hill to resign, including State Senator Tim Lanane, who was one of the four lawmakers who initially signed off on the memo detailing the allegations.

"This should be redone completely. A thorough fact-finding, professional investigation was not done. Under the law, those allegations should be substantiated or not. All parties questioned and conclusions should be drawn. That makes it safe for public servants to do their jobs," Drobac added.

She didn't stop there. She says the investigation into the attorney general is nothing more than a whitewash.

"At this point it looks like they were trying to gloss over this or at least get a copy of the allegations so they could say they looked into it but to what purpose? And now I see there is an investigation into how the memo got leaked. It looks like there is more attention paid to a memo than the due process rights of Attorney General Hill or the allegations of potential sexual assault and battery of Indiana staffers and a representative," she concluded.

There's nothing as of yet from the Marion County prosecutor but the final word on this case could actually come from the Qualification Commission which is overseen by the Supreme Court. If something is filed there, the attorney general's license to practice law could be at stake.

Eyewitness News reached out to Hill's office for comment Thursday, but had not received a response by late Thursday night.

A march is planned for the Statehouse Saturday afternoon to show support for Hill's alleged victims.

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