Why is it more common for men in power, especially political power, to feel entitled to take things that are not theirs? Donald Trump’s Environmental Secretary Scott Pruitt topped the list with 17 investigations into his abuse of power, at last count. More recently, a Republican Indiana politician, Curtis Hill, has been charged with something far darker.
Voters elected the former Elkhart County prosecutor to attorney general (AG) in 2016, and many saw him as a rising star. Trump, who certainly knows something about sexual abuse charges, invited Hill to the White House at least four times.
A state legislative report showed that the married Indiana attorney general was charged with inappropriate touching by four women. Three legislative staffers and another lawmaker made the accusations.
The eight-page memo summarized the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister’s investigation’s findings. The memo described Hill’s behavior the evening of the alleged incidents. According to The Indiana Star, it said:
- One lawmaker said an intoxicated Hill put his hands on her back, slid them down her back, put them under her clothes and grabbed her buttocks. She told him to “back off” and walked away, but Hill approached her again later and again reached under her clothing and grabbed her buttocks. She again told him to “back off.”
- A legislative employee said Hill put his arm around her and began sliding his hand down her back. When she tried to remove his hand, she said Hill grabbed her hand and groped her on the buttocks.
- A second legislative employee said she witnessed Hill’s behavior toward the lawmaker and wondered if it was some sort of “cultural thing” she didn’t understand. Hill later put his arm around her own waist and hugged her to him before she moved away.
- A third legislative employee said Hill made her uncomfortable when he approached her at the bar and rubbed her back for about two minutes. She left the bar to go to the ladies room.
- Several of the women said they heard Hill tell women at the bar that they needed to “show a little skin” or show more leg if they wanted get free drinks or faster service.
The conservative AG denied the allegations about his behavior in a statement, calling them “deeply troubling.” He continued, the Indy Star reported:
‘At no time was my behavior inappropriate nor did I touch anyone in an inappropriate manner. The atmosphere was light and jovial, as would be expected in a bar, I interacted with several people — talking, laughing, and telling stories. I have never been contacted by any investigator. I have not been informed of who made these allegations nor have I been provided any due process with regard to these vicious allegations.’
One of the AG’s alleged victims asked that she not be identified, but she said it was “a pattern:”
‘This was a pattern of behavior that was witnessed by many. (And she was) disappointed that nothing can be done to censure him formally.’
Legislative leaders released a statement:
‘Our investigation has been completed and the matter has been addressed with the Attorney General to the satisfaction of the employees involved. Protection of House and Senate employees is of paramount importance to legislative leaders.’
If the charge is not sexual it carries 180 days in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A sexual charge would be deemed more serious, a felony with six to 2.5 years in county jail or state prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Justin Sullivan.