The #MeToo movement has toppled Hollywood celebrities and captains of industry. It also impacted political figures, including our own Attorney General Curtis Hill. Whereas many have been removed or stepped down, Hill survived an inquiry by special prosecution.
He faced accusations of groping and inappropriate comments by four women at an Indianapolis bar last March after the last night of the Indiana General Assembly. According to multiple local and national news sources, these complaints were deemed credible, but it looks like Indiana voters will determine whether Hill gets to keep his job when he goes up for reelection. While some may complain that a guilty man goes free, this is actually a victory for the state’s criminal justice system.
Not guilty as charged
It is important to remember that individuals facing criminal charges are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This investigation was to determine if there was criminal wrongdoing that amounted to charges of felony sexual battery. This charge requires proof that the Attorney General’s intent in touching the plaintiffs was, according to the investigation report, “rude, insolent or angry.” The answer yes could not be determined beyond reasonable doubt.
This is not to say that Hill is innocent of inappropriate behavior. The plaintiffs’ case can proceed as a civil case. This could mean expensive legal fees as well as money for damages if the plaintiffs win the case. The fact remains, however, that there is no criminal charge and no criminal record.
It is key to defend oneself
Those facing criminal or civil sexual charges should explore every option in defending themselves. Mistakes can be made, and words or gestures can be misinterpreted. An attorney with experience defending sexual assault or battery charges can be a tremendous asset, perhaps keeping the defendants’ record clean of criminal charges.