A special prosecutor announced Tuesday that Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill will not be criminally charged for allegedly groping four women at a bar in March.
At a news conference, special prosecutor Daniel Sigler said he considered bringing misdemeanor battery charges against Hill, a Republican, but witnesses gave varying accounts of what happened at a bar in Indianapolis to celebrate the closing of the legislative session in March.
Sigler said his investigation into the allegations against Hill, which included interviews with 56 witnesses, showed that he didn’t deny the touching occurred, but that the attorney general justified it as “incidental … in the crowded bar” and “not intended to be disrespectful, sexual in nature or rude.”
Sigler said he found the allegations from the four women credible and that he believed Hill drank a “significant” amount of alcohol that night. But Sigler said prosecuting Hill would be difficult because several weeks passed before the allegations were raised.
“I did believe them,” Sigler said of the accusers. “Nonetheless, I decided I didn’t think I could meet my burden of proof.”
The women accusing Hill included Indiana state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, a Democrat from Munster, and three female legislative staffers.
Reardon was the first to make the allegations public back in July. She claimed Hill put his hand on her back, slid it down, and grabbed her buttocks even after she told him to stop.
Even if Hill will not be prosecuted, Reardon said Tuesday she feels vindicated.
“We were truthful. We were credible,” she told WBEZ. “Our story, it’s the truth. We told the truth and that came across in the interviews and believed by the prosecutor.”
Another one of the women to allege groping by Hill was Samantha Lozano, a legislative staffer from East Chicago, Indiana, who made her first public comments about the case Tuesday.
“I grappled a lot on whether or not I should come forward,” Lozano told WBEZ. “I do think this was the right move that we’re all taking.”
The four women are pursuing a civil lawsuit against Hill and the state of Indiana. All four continue to call for Hill to step down. Hill has denied the allegations and rejected calls to resign from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and legislative leaders.
Hill had not commented on the special prosecutor’s report Tuesday, but his attorneys, James Voyles and Jennifer Lukemeyer, issued a statement on his behalf.
“The Special Prosecutor’s investigation exonerates and absolves Mr. Curtis Hill of any factual and legal criminal behavior. Mr. Hill appreciates the diligence and thoroughness taken by the Special Prosecutor Daniel J. Sigler in his investigation,” the statement reads. “We never doubted that Mr. Hill would be cleared of any alleged crimes.”
The Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly can move to impeach Hill but so far, there’s no word if that will happen.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.