Hill said he would not resign despite calls for him to do so from Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, the latter of whom went public last week with allegations that the state’s chief legal officer had groped her at a party in March.
In his televised statement Monday, Hill criticized the Taft Stettinius investigation and the media for not contacting him before the report was leaked to The Indianapolis Star.
“This inaccurate confidential report has formed the basis for the calls for my resignation,” Hill said. “These calls for my resignation are unwarranted, and those calls should be rescinded. I anticipate and welcome the opportunity for my side to be heard through a proper investigation.”
Hill added: “My name and reputation has been dragged through the gutter in ways I would have never imagined. Apparently, in this climate, the standard is guilty and who cares if you’re innocent.”
The Taft Stettinius memo was signed by Indianapolis-based employment law partner Blake Burgan, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Hill’s critique of the firm’s work on the matter. A spokeswoman for Taft Stettinius directed an inquiry to Indiana House Republicans and Indiana Senate Republicans.
”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,” said a joint statement from Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, both of whom are Republicans. ”We have further requested that the Indiana Inspector General thoroughly investigate these allegations.”
The eight-page Taft Stettinius memo detailed interviews with five “legislative employees” in response to a complaint now known to have been filed by Reardon, who has called for Hill to resign after writing an op-ed describing the situation. The complaint said Reardon was approached by Hill at a bar for an end-of-session party in March. Reardon said Hill was “very intoxicated” at the party and that he twice reached under her clothing to grab her buttocks.
“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,“ said Reardon on Monday in reaction to Hill’s public comments. “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 fallout from Hill’s alleged misbehavior follows the resignation in early May of former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who quickly stepped down after the publication of a story detailing allegations from women who said they had been assaulted by him during personal relationships with Schneiderman. New York legislators subsequently chose Barbara Underwood, a veteran prosecutor and public servant, to replace Schneiderman on an interim basis until an election is held later this year.
As for Hill, several large law firms were among the top contributors to his 2016 election campaign, a race that saw him become Indiana’s first African-American attorney general. Among those hired to fill out Hill’s staff were Joan Blackwell, a former of counsel at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis.