Impeachment investigation sought of Indiana attorney general

An Indiana legislator wants an investigation to determine whether state Attorney General Curtis Hill should be impeached over allegations that he drunkenly groped a female lawmaker and three female legislative staffers at a bar.

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said he submitted the request Thursday asking that the House Judiciary Committee investigate Hill's conduct and whether he should remain in office.

Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state officials called for the GOP attorney general's resignation after the allegations became public in July. But Republican leaders have shown no signs of taking action against Hill since a special prosecutor declined in October to pursue any criminal charges against him, who has denied wrongdoing.

That was despite a state inspector general's report in which witnesses said he inappropriately touched Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon and three female legislative staffers last March during a party at an Indianapolis bar to celebrate the end of the legislative session.

A special prosecutor declined in October to pursue any criminal charges against Hill.

DeLaney said he believed the Legislature shouldn't ignore the misconduct included in the report.

"I would hope that we would have a hearing," DeLaney told The Associated Press. "I would hope that if the attorney general has a defense he would come and make it instead of just a blanket denial."

The AP typically does not name victims of sexual misconduct, but Reardon went public with her accusations.

Action on DeLaney's motion, which is co-sponsored by three other Democratic House members, is in the hands of Republicans, who hold a commanding 67-33 House majority.

The motion also faces questions about the Legislature's authority to impeach and remove the attorney general from office since the position was created under state law and not included in the Indiana Constitution.

Hill has largely remained out of the public eye since holding a news conference shortly after the allegations became public in July, calling them "vicious and false." He didn't respond to questions about whether he was calling the women liars.

Hill's office didn't immediately reply Thursday to a request seeking comment on DeLaney's motion.

Republican Rep. Jerry Torr of Carmel, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said while he didn't excuse Hill's alleged actions, the incidents happened during a private party off state property and wasn't related to his duties as attorney general.

Hill, whose term runs through 2020, would have to win re-nomination during that year's state Republican convention to appear on the ballot.

Torr said that's how Hill's future should be decided rather than through an impeachment effort.

"It would be a big distraction and we've got a lot of important work to do this session," Torr said. "I'm pretty sure voters or, in this case, delegates to the convention will sort this out."

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