INDIANAPOLIS – The four women who have accused Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill of sexual misconduct have filed a federal lawsuit against him and the state of Indiana.
The accusers, Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster; Niki DaSilva, legislative assistant for the Indiana Senate Republicans; Gabrielle McLemore, communications director for the Indiana Senate Democrats; and Samantha Lozano, legislative assistant for the Indiana House Democrats announced the suit in a press conference Tuesday morning.
The alleged sexual misconduct happened in the early morning hours of March 15, 2018, at a party celebrating the end of the legislative session at A.J's Bar in Indianapolis. Hill has denied any wrongdoing.
One goal of the lawsuit, the accusers said, is to address systemic problems in the Indiana Statehouse.
“It has become apparent that in Indiana, and across the country, government staff, lawmakers, constitutional officeholders, and lobbyists are not adequately protected from unlawful gender discrimination and retaliation in the workplace,” McLemore said.
The women are asserting claims under federal law including sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and constitutional equal protection claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They are also asserting claims for battery, defamation, and invasion of privacy.
The Office of the Attorney General issued the following response to the lawsuit:
Attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General filed their appearances to defend vigorously the State of Indiana and the Attorney General in a lawsuit filed today captioned DaSilva, et al. v. State of Indiana, et al. The lawsuit is related to allegations that have now been reviewed four times. The investigations all concluded without any recommendations for further action.
This latest legal action will be addressed in the court and through the proper procedures as established by law.
Under Indiana law, the Office of the Attorney General shall defend all suits instituted against the state and its officials.
There was no party at the end of the 2019 session. The last day of session, usually a very busy time for legislative employees, was a “constant reminder” of 2018, McLemore said.
“With comments being made all day long by every single person in that building about whether or not there would be a party that evening,” she said. “Reminders of the year before and what happened. It’s a huge distraction. It makes it really difficult to do your job when people are blaming you for not having a celebration as is custom — reminding you that that event took place. I’m at my workplace. I’m trying to do a job. That has affected me.”
They are requesting injunctive relief, for Hill to apologize for his claims and monetary damages to be determined later.
RTV6 has reached out to Hill’s attorney for comment on the lawsuit.