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State Lawmaker, Legislative Staffers Sue Curtis Hill, State

Photo of Hill's four accusers

From left, Niki DaSilva, Gabrielle McLemore, Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D-Munster) and Samantha Lozano at a press conference announcing they're suing Curtis Hill and the state of Indiana. (Zach Herndon, WTIU/WFIU News)

Four women who say Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill groped them last year are suing Hill and the state in federal court.

Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D-Munster), Gabrielle McLemore, Niki DaSilva and Samantha Lozano say Curtis Hill touched them inappropriately at a 2018 post-legislative session party. Hill denies those allegations.

But the lawsuit goes far beyond that. It includes allegations of what’s happened in the months since.

“A state lawmaker made a statement that our clients got what they deserved because of the way they dressed. And these are the lawmakers that they work for," attorney Hannah Kaufman Joseph says. "So, if that’s not an adverse employment action, it’s hard to imagine what could be.”

The women are suing the state and Curtis Hill for sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. That includes Hill going on the attack against his accusers in the wake of the allegations.

"When an elected official betrays the trust, the public trust, in such an egregious way so as to commit sexual battery and assault and doesn't have the honor to resign, to maintain the dignity of the office, there have to be consequences," Reardon says.

DaSilva says Hill’s actions made it hard to do her job – with her even going so far as to regularly lock her office door.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, I had this fear that there could be any day that he might just walk in or have somebody else walk into my office,” DaSilva says.

The women want monetary damages and an apology from Hill, and the state to create more robust sexual harassment and employee protection policies.

In a statement, the Attorney General’s office says it will defend the AG and the state. And it says the allegations have been reviewed four times without recommendations for further action.

Curtis Hill previously questioned the validity of each of those four reviews…and that count likely doesn’t include the ongoing disciplinary complaint against him.

The federal lawsuit is independent from an ongoing state Supreme Court disciplinary case against Hill over the allegations. A hearing in that case is expected in October.

 

This story has been updated.

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