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State lawmaker allegedly groped by AG Hill pens account of 'sexual battery'

July 6, 2018

The state legislator who alleged that Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill groped her in March—setting off a wave of calls for Hill to resign when that accusation and similar claims were uncovered this week—went public herself on Friday morning with an essay describing the experience in The Times of Northwest Indiana.

reardon mugMara Candelaria Reardon

Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, describes herself in the piece as “a wife, mother, business owner and a state representative,” as well as “a victim of sexual battery, perpetrated by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.”

Candelaria Reardon describes the incident, which she says took place in the early hours of March 15 at a gathering to celebrate the end of the most recent legislative session. The site was a bar in Indianapolis, according to prior reporting.

Candelaria Reardon says she saw Hill enter the party alone while she was crossing the room. Hill greeted her and a staffer who was with her at the time. 

“As we were exchanging pleasantries, Curtis Hill leaned toward me as if he could not hear me and placed his hand on my back and slid his hand down to my buttocks and grabbed it. I said ‘back off,’ and walked away, as the staffer with me stood shocked.

“Later in the evening, I was standing with a group of people, and he approached the group. Hill came up behind me and put his hand on my back again and said, ‘That skin. That back.’ I recoiled away before he could touch my buttocks again.”

Three legislative staffers also have claimed that Hill touched them inappropriately. Candelaria Reardon called on all Indiana residents of "good will" to demand Hill's resignation.

Hill has denied any claims that he inappropriately touched any women that night. He said earlier this week that he would not resign from his position.

However, that was before Gov. Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate Pro Tem David Long all called for his resignation on Thursday evening.

The Indianapolis Star revealed accusations against Hill on Monday evening after obtaining a copy of an eight-page confidential memo prepared by Indianapolis law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister for legislative leaders. Bosma, Long and top staff members for them conducted an investigation in May and interviewed women who attended the party at AJ’s Lounge.

The memo from Taft, dated June 18, says that Hill's alleged conduct toward the legislative employees may have been "inappropriate," but was "likely not severe or pervasive enough to result in a hostile work environment." However, the firm found that Hill's conduct toward the lawmaker was "likely egregious enough to meet the threshold of 'severe.'"
 
The report recommended that legislative leaders discuss the allegations with Hill, even though they were under no legal obligation to do so. Hill was not interviewed as part of the internal investigation.

Candelaria Reardon said in her essay that after the March incident she was planning to address the issue personally with Hill. But upon hearing accounts that other women had been groped by Hill, "I realized that this was bigger than me, and I had an obligation to report it to our House leadership, to protect these women and any others, from Curtis Hill’s deviant conduct.

"I reported the deviant conduct to the Democrat leader, and together we went to Speaker Brian Bosma. I appreciate the earnestness with which Republican and Democrat legislative leaders launched an investigation into these independent incidents. They interviewed six women independently, and hired an independent law firm to investigate as well.

"As I continue to deal with the harm perpetrated by Indiana’s top law enforcement official, I must also deal with the reality that there is no process by which Curtis Hill, an independently elected official can be held accountable. No censure. No recall. Not even a slap on the hand."


 

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