Former AG Hill could call dozens of lawmakers in state court defense against groping civil case

As the four women who accused former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill of sexual misconduct are preparing to take their Title VII case to the 7th Circuit, Hill is preparing to defend himself in state court, releasing a list of witnesses that includes more than two dozen lawmakers.

Hill and his defense team last week submitted their preliminary witness and exhibit list to the Marion Superior Court, naming at least 60 individuals and potentially several others connected to the 2018 incident when the four women accused Hill of groping them.

Those women — former State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon and former Indiana legislative staffers Gabrielle McLemore Brock, Niki DaSilva and Samantha Lozano — sued Hill in state court in July 2020 after he was dismissed as a defendant from a federal civil complaint. That federal case will go before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday.

The state court case names Hill in his individual capacity and seeks damages for allegedly launching a public campaign to undermine the women’s credibility after their accusations against him became public.

Though Hill was never criminally charged in relation to the March 2018 incident at an early-morning legislative party, the Indiana Supreme Court in a disciplinary action found Hill had committed misdemeanor battery and suspended his law license for 30 days.

Among the current and former lawmakers included on Hill’s preliminary witness list are Reardon, former House Speaker Brian Bosma and former Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, all of whom testified at Hill’s October 2019 disciplinary hearing. 

Others include Sen. Tim Lanane, who was Senate minority leader in 2018, former Rep. Terry Goodin, who was House minority leader in 2018, current Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, current Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray and current House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta. Current House Speaker Todd Huston is not currently named as an individual witness.

Other lawmakers on the preliminary list include:

  • Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis
  • Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Syracuse
  • Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Georgetown
  • Sen. J.D. Ford, D-Indianapolis
  • Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange
  • Rep. Earl Harris, D-East Chicago
  • Rep. Ryan Hatfield, D-Evansville
  • Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne
  • Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg
  • Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary
  • Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen
  • Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond
  • Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend
  • Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis
  • Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago
  • Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary
  • Former Democratic Sen. Mark Stoops
  • Former Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian

The list also includes several individuals working in and around the Statehouse, witnesses called in connection with the disciplinary action and witnesses interviewed by former Inspector General Lori Torres, who issued a report saying Hill’s conduct in 2018 was “creepy” but not sufficient to bring charges.

After a monthslong period of inaction, the state case — Reardon, et al. v. Hill, 49D12-2007-CT-022288 — has been scheduled for a September 2022 jury trial.

Meanwhile, Brock, DaSilva and Lozano are preparing to bring their federal case against the state of Indiana, the Indiana House and the Indiana Senate to the 7th Circuit this week. Oral arguments in that case — DaSilva, et al. v. State of Indiana, 20-2238 — are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

At the 7th Circuit, the three women are arguing that the state, and not just the Legislature, was their employer in 2018 for purposes of Title VII,  which they claim was violated when they were retaliated against for reporting Hill’s conduct. But the Indiana Southern District Court dismissed the Title VII claims against the state in March 2020. 

Reardon is not participating in the federal appeal, because she was terminated as a plaintiff at the district court level. Hill also will not be participating.

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