Our Salacious Statehouse

This week, the Indianapolis Star and other local news outlets carried a story about Speaker of the House Brian Bosma’s effort to intimidate a woman who admitted to having had a consensual (albeit “pressured”) sexual contact with him when she was a Statehouse intern in 1992.

She was 20 years old at the time; he was 36.

According to the news reports, the woman didn’t come forward of her own volition; she responded to media inquiries. None of the reports I read identified who made those inquiries, or what triggered them after all these years, but after Bosma’s attorney questioned her family,  her friends, a former boyfriend and ex-husband in an effort to gather unflattering information about her, she decided she was willing to answer questions about the decades-old allegation.

Bosma evidently paid his lawyer $40,000 to dig up dirt to discredit the woman. The money came from his campaign account, raising (for me) the question whether those who donated to that account were cool with this particular application of those funds…

Bosma is currently in charge of drafting the General Assembly’s new sexual harassment policy, a task made necessary by public reaction to groping allegations lodged against Indiana’s exceedingly unpleasant, grandstanding Attorney General, Curtis Hill.

That seems….awkward, to say the least.

The Indianapolis Business Journal quoted a former staffer to the effect that the Bosma liaison was the “worst-kept ‘secret’ at the Statehouse.”

Actually, if gossip is to be believed, the “worst kept secret” is how common it is for male lawmakers at Indiana’s Statehouse to try to “pressure” female interns and staffers, and that it has gone on for years. When the Curtis Hill story broke, a number of the politically-connected women I know wondered aloud whether there would be a genuine investigation of those charges, and if so, whether that investigation might finally lead to an airing of other complaints, and a change in several lawmakers’ testosterone-fueled behaviors.

Randy male legislators may be an old story, but Bosma’s reported effort to intimidate and discredit the woman admitting to the encounter– his willingness to pay $40,000 for “dirt”  he could use to smear someone he had pressured into a sexual act–is pretty despicable.

Republicans in the Indiana House have closed ranks around Bosma, who is thus far denying everything. The Governor (also a Republican) has declined to authorize an investigation, and Bosma’s district is so red it would take a blue tsunami to vote him out. So maddening as it is, he will probably “suffer” some embarrassment, at most–and proceed to craft the Statehouse’s sexual harassment policy.

If the #metoo movement has done nothing else, it has opened a lot of eyes–including mine–to the prevalence of sexual harassment. Too many women–including me–have thought for years that these “incidents” that happened to us were relatively rare, and probably our own fault; we were “open” or “approachable” in ways that invited boorish (or worse) behaviors. We coulda/shoulda resisted “pressure” from men in positions of authority who held power over us.

It may be time for #metoo to become #I’mmadashellandI’mnottakingitanymore.


  1. good day, im home reading the news,good,bad,indiffrent. thanks again for supporting the normal world.Being i reside in nodak, its not much diffrent here in real life ,red covering each other,and women again in a painful take it or leave it.Im still amazed how the news media can set up a canidate for office,make money getting him there,and then support his every move. when viewing the old black and white flicks,(love TCM)how we agast at such a thing. but ya know,like i wrote yesterday,news max,one america news,and the hedge trimmers,fox. when i go into the typical mcds,birger,krolls,(nodak)of some truck stops(anywhere),there it is,fox…on the a.m. radio,limbarff..(and serius,truckers radio,for all to hear two idiots discuss things and obviously,never did any background and repeated it truthfully ever) while the likes of mercer and wall streets goldman controls strings. but,when i discuss these with the working class,(all are red state groupies) they dont have a clue how they use bylines as the headlines trigger. never the whole story,only where they can condem someone,condem,as they like to see it,condem as a power,to be right. they are oblivious to any other mind set,condem and distroy. and they are happy. don jrs tweet about kashoggis past trip to afganistan back(1988) when bin laddin was the northern alliance in afganistan,kashoggi was meeting with bin ladden,and a past news article was supplied by patrick poole in exchange with sean davis of federalist fame,(see huff post today)came up,with kasshoggi with a rpg and a rag tag bunch from the northern alliance,of course its to smear kashoggi,and make trump look good for trumps 110 billion deal ( and trumps ass kissing the shiek)for war arms to saudi mass murders in yeman. as trump sees no issue…but,alas,the story doesnt mention a damn thing about,how kashoggi was a friend of the saudi family in 1988, and shows how the saudis royal family supported,bin ladden,opps,did i bring a really rotten subject up? did i open up a mind at who had involved with 911? oh god, did i mince words and story to throw some light on the saudi families world of supporting terroism? or can i make a story of how don jr can over look,take your mind else where,while supporting a family with direct ties to terroism,opression,mass muder,and how,fortunate we are kashoggi came to America and statrted to explain how this oil money we have drowned these people in,supported 911,and how indirectly complacent we are,supprting a family to kill our own.trump,obivously doesnt see the good kashoggi has been to a free and open press in America,and how,don jr, is now complacent is supporting propaganda,and selling it to America,musta had a parent who is a pro at propaganda,like joe goebbles, way to go don jr,tellem how we like it….

  2. PS I left the state six years ago and I see it’s still a swap of the right wing ilk. I really don’t miss you Indiana. You’re too red neck for me.

  3. On the Federal level:
    Republican Pres Perv nominates Judge Perv to be Justice Perv
    ALL the Republican go along with it
    (Except ONE brave woman)
    Disgusting — but NOT surprising


    On the state level, I can see where they are not concerned about
    replicating the same standards that are working so well for their national party
    PLEASE vote blue if you have had enough of this

  4. Stuart B; thank you!

    It is apparent to me that sexual abuse/attack/harassment, et al, through intimidation and/or threats; is not only acceptable by our current randy Republicans at all levels of government but they are not trying to make the acceptance retroactive. Notice the predominance of old white men who qualify on this account; many of them among the Bible thumping evangelicals.

    I had what I thought was a friend in an Indianapolis police officer who was aware I was struggling financially as a single mother with five children; he offered his assistance by setting me up in business, with him as my manager. He promised $300 weekly with only high level attorneys and judges as customers. Not sure what this form of “help” could be considered…I opted to continue struggling on my own.


  5. JoAnn your experience is unfortunately all too common. My story involves going for drinks with friends many, many years ago at the old Capitol Bar and Grill. An older man approached me and struck up a conversation, I responded with a normal response about politics, since nearly every person in the place was part of the Legislature. He stopped me in the middle of my response and said “I’m not interested in your politics honey, I’m interested in your tits.” I let him know that I was not there to have sex with him or any of the other men in the bar. He said, “Then why are you here?” It is a well known fact that there is a lot of this type of behavior from the male legislators during the session, so I absolutely believe the woman was harassed by Bosma. I just hope he pays a political price for his behavior.

  6. Theresa Kendall; for far too many years we have been forced to accept these insults and actual attacks as our due, being women in the work force. Maybe…maybe…the times, they are achangin’. Not due to a realization by men that we deserve respect but because WE are now willing to fight for the respect we deserve.


  7. Because we Democrats become too self righteous let us not forget Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and likely many others unknown to us. “He who is without sin…”. Remembering this and quoting it is not an excuse. Red and Blue are equal opportunity abusers. Equal abusers deserve equal punishment. Too few receive such.

  8. Wayne; actually, both terms fit your comment. The difference is the current apparent full acceptance by the Trump administration, Congress, SCOTUS and Republican evangelical Bible thumpers. Republicans were more concerned that Bill Clinton lied (an impeachable basis) than that he had sex in the White House; Ted Kennedy was on the Senate Judicial Committee to make the moral decision that Clarence Thomas was an acceptable jurist for SCOTUS. The treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has reached criminal and physically dangerous levels and is being ignored and the FBI “investigation” was a scam. And; she was NOT a willing partner to whatever action or attempt by Kavanaugh took place. This country has always been S-E-X obsessed, never more than at this time and never before been accepted by government officials at all levels.

  9. Despite all of this behavior, the statehouse has the undying loyalty of voters across all economic spectrums. From Fishers to the fields of Indiana.


    What’s even more embarrassing is the same folks voting for these people pack church pews every Sunday and talk about God Almighty.

    Did Sheila write, “salacious” or sanctimonious?

    I often get those confused as well. So, how do they rationalize this anti-biblical behavior?

    Racism and Abortion.

    Hate trumps love with these folks even though they waste countless hours “learning about Jesus.”

    So, what do you like a society where phony citizens elect phony politicians?

    The USA.

    What’s even funnier is watching our culture still wrestle over SEX in 2018. Thanks to all the right-wing victories in 2016 and the Koch’s owning 24 states, we are seeing abstinence-only programs instead of embracing our human sexuality like our relatives across the pond.

    One only look objectively at the Catholic Church to see what happens when we repress our sexuality.

    Also, for those who practice this approach, wait until you find yourself in a nursing home in the not too distant future. When your barriers break down…guess what will happen? 😉

    Even Gandhi saw through our fake religiosity.

    As for Bosma and others like him, Naomi Klein just wrote an excellent article for The Intercept where she uses a hatchet to dissect right-wing ideology which permits all this boorish behavior:

    “That is the grand bargain: Trump gets to fully claim his inheritance as a scion of wealth and his base gets to claim their inheritance as white citizens of a Christian, patriarchal nation. Oh, and like the royal families with whom he is so enamored, Trump will reward his loyal subjects by putting on an endless stream of entertaining shows and performances.”

    While a hurricane was killing Americans in Florida and Georgia, Trump “couldn’t disappoint all the good people who were attending a political rally.”


  10. JD – I agree….Jack Smith – I love reading your take on Sheila’s blog. I’m always enlightened.

  11. Stuart B:

    At 6:46 you write, “Someone give this guy grammar and English lessons not to mention spelling.”

    Then at 6:49 you misspell swamp (swap).

    I make enough errors on my own that I don’t have time to point out those of others. I humbly suggest you do the same.

    jack smith:

    Keep on posting, please.

  12. What JD said about Jack Smith’s postings. Jack’s writing style attracted your attention, but concentrate on the content. He’s quite a philosopher with plenty to teach.

  13. Jack:whilenotexactlyfaulknerianyourproseisthefirststreamofconsciousnessI’vereadina whileandIwaspleasedthatIdidn’thavetotakearefreshercoursetodecipherit.Kanyewoudloveyour style.DidyounoticethatMBS’s buddyJaredistheonlypersonatthewhitehousehewilltalkto?WatchingTrumpsquirmoutofthisone shouldkeepmsnbc(andme)busyuntilthemid-terms.

    As usual Sheila made the most trenchant point and I’m in agreement that It’s time for #metoo to become #I’mmadashellandI’mnottakingitanymore. Taken to its logical conclusion, the Republican position on male sexual predation is that “if you don’t have photos and a sound track, keep it to yourself.” They would like to add, “and, if you do, the statute of limitations is one week,” but they don’t yet have the votes. My proposal is that all male politicians be required to consume copious amounts of saltpeter while serving in any public office. That would improve morality and protect women while saving taxpayers the cost of defending the perpetrators.

    Given their capacity for forgiveness, why aren’t Republicans demanding that Al Franken return to the Senate?

  14. Yes there is boorish behavior at the State House and Bosma’s has been a subject of
    much discussion for more than 20 years. The points that most moved me about this whole affair are that
    * the former intern kept this secret for all those years until she felt threatened by the
    ham-handed attempts at intimidating her;

    * when the sexual assault allegations surfaced against Curtis Hill, Bosma called for Hill
    to resign before giving Hill a chance to answer questions on the matter; and

    * given Bosma’s actions and statements on Hill, people began recalling the ‘open secret’
    about Bosma and the intern of years ago (is that why Bosma hired an attorney to gain
    information and leverage over the former intern?);

    * notably, the Governor and Bosma and nearly all House Republicans seem curiously
    uninterested in investigating Bosma, let alone calling on him to resign .

    Speaker Bosma has been quick to wear his religion on his sleeve on issues like private school vouchers (his own children attended a private, Christian school); abortion; gay rights and marriage; posting his favored version of the 10 commandments in public buildings; and more.

    The biblical admonition comes to mind: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  15. Anyone else remember when Republicans had accomplishments to talk about rather than “we’re only a little worse than Democrats”?

  16. State Superintendent Harold Negley was indicted by Marion County Prosecutor for using his campaign funds to pay his Columbia Club dues, car washes and haircuts. I’m pretty sure it didn’t add up to $4o,ooo. I don’t remenber the exact year but it was somewhere between 1986 and 1989. Of course, Prosecutor Steve Goldsmith had good cause. Governor Bob Orr wanted Negley out of office so he could appoint someone who would help him bring his Chamber of Commerce agenda to the Department of Education. Whatever year it was, it was the year I learned how Republican politics work in Indiana. Coincidentally, Brian Bosma was soon hired to be the Department’s legislative liaison . Coincidence?

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