By BRIAN SLODYSKO , Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and the two GOP Statehouse leaders on Thursday called on Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill to resign amid what they called credible claims that Hill drunkenly groped four women, including a lawmaker, at an Indianapolis bar.
"Four women had the courage to step forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana Attorney General," Holcomb said in a statement. "The findings of the recent legislative report are disturbing and, at a minimum, show a violation of the state's zero tolerance sexual harassment policy. I concur with (Senate leader David) Long and (House) Speaker Bosma that Attorney General Hill should resign, and I support a thorough investigation by the state's Inspector General."
Long and Bosma issued a joint statement that said: "We believe that the women who came forward with accounts of inappropriate behavior by Attorney General Curtis Hill in the early hours of March 15, 2018, are telling the truth regardless of the Attorney General's denial of these allegations."
Hill has denied the groping allegations, lodged by a state lawmaker and three legislative aides, and says he has no plans to step down. The accusations against him were included in a confidential legislative memo that was leaked this week to news outlets, including The Associated Press.
The document, which includes details from interviews with six women, presents a picture of Hill carousing during a party at a bar in the early morning hours of March 15, shortly after this year's legislative session came to a close.
The lawmaker said Hill was "very intoxicated" when he slid his hands down her back, put them under her clothes and grabbed her buttocks, according to the memo. She told him to "back off" and walked away, but Hill again approached her, reached under her clothing and grabbed her again, according to the memo.
Democrats say that meets the legal threshold for a sexual battery charge.
Hill also gave a staffer a two-minute backrub, which made her uncomfortable, the memo states. Another staffer said Hill put his arm around her and slid his hand down her back. When she tried to remove his hand, she said he groped her buttocks, the memo states. He put his arm around a third staffer's waist and "hugged" her close, according to the document.
Hill has called the inquiry into his conduct a "prejudicial investigation that is deeply troubling."
"At no time was my behavior inappropriate nor did I touch anyone in an inappropriate manner," Hill said in a statement.
Democratic Rep. Ed DeLaney said that if Hill doesn't resign, the Legislature should impeach him.
"I think this is an adequate basis and the law provides for that," said DeLaney, a lawyer from Indianapolis. "I think he has no choice but to resign. But that doesn't mean he will take that choice."
At the same time, Statehouse Republican leaders say they are investigating who leaked the memo, which they called an "egregious breach of confidentiality."
Bosma and Long said Tuesday that they "are investigating the source of this breach of employee confidentiality and will react accordingly if the source is discovered."
Until Thursday evening the vast majority of Indiana Republicans have declined, or been reluctant, to say much about the allegations. But one GOP officeholder who has weighed in early on is Michiana Shores state Sen. Mike Bohacek, who suggested that Hill "consider the options necessary to maintain the dignity of the office."
"Hoosiers trust their elected officials to conduct themselves in a way that is professional and respectful of those they work with and around, and I am very disappointed to hear that the attorney general has not met that standard," Bohacek said in a statement. Later he added: "Hill's attempt to dismiss the situation is wrong, and his denial contradicts the completed investigation."