Legislator Who Accused Hill Introduces Bills Targeting Future Sexual Misconduct
(EAST CHICAGO, Ind.) - The legislator who accuses Attorney General Curtis Hill of groping her in a downtown bar has introduced a package of bills targeting future sexual misconduct:
Indiana's inspector general called Hill's behavior toward Representative Mara Candelaria-Reardon (D-East Chicago) and three legislative staffers "creepy." But a special prosecutor declined to file charges, concluding it would be difficult to prove the sexual intent state law requires, and would only result at most in a misdemeanor conviction anyway..
Legislative leaders have called on Hill to resign, but have shown no appetite for a resolution to impeach him. Candelaria-Reardon is proposing a 12-member oversight commission, also with the power to remove officeholders for ethical or sexual misconduct.
Candelaria-Reardon notes some Hill defenders argue he wasn't charged with anything. She contends the commission would create a clear path to remove an officeholder for ethical or sexual misconduct, even if it doesn't rise to the level of a crime.
A second Candelaria-Reardon bill would ban officeholders from spending public money on legal fees over charges of personal misconduct. Hill was reported to be exploring that possibility as Candelaria-Reardon and the other accusers consider a civil suit, though Hill and his attorney have since said that's not the case.
Two more bills would extend civil rights laws to all employers, no matter how small, and create a new criminal charge for groping cases. Michiana Shores Senator Mike Bohacek (R) has filed a groping bill too. aimed at tearing down one obstacle to charging him: the difficulty of proving someone acted not just intentionally, but with sexual intent. Both groping bills would remove that barrier, making it a crime to purposely touch someone's private areas, whatever the reason. Candelaria-Reardon's bill goes a step further, raising groping to a felony if the defendant is a state officeholder or repeat offender.
Candelaria-Reardon says she believes the bills could be used retroactively, but acknowledges Hill would likely disagree.
Attorney General Curtis Hill (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)