Tag Archives: sexual impropriety

Oh, Indiana…

The #metoo movement has certainly caused a lot of discomfort for men who previously behaved badly, secure in the conviction that predatory behavior was their right as males.

Here in Indiana, we are seeing the shock of men who have suddenly realized that other people don’t view their activities with the benign “men will be boys and it’s always the girl’s fault anyway” attitudes they formerly depended upon.

Most widely publicized, of course, are the recent allegations against our Attorney General, Curtis Hill. Hill has continued to indignantly deny what everyone knows is true: he fondled/groped female legislators and staff at a bar during a sine die party.

Actually, that’s the least of Hill’s transgressions, in my opinion. I’m even more offended by the fact that he’s taken Indiana into a number of national “culture war” cases–on the wrong side–in which Hoosiers have no discernible interest. Such interventions expend state resources–human and fiscal–on causes where the only “benefit” is a higher profile for the Attorney General.

Hill’s grandstanding shouldn’t surprise us: Hill is something of a national joke as “the Elvis impersonating AG.” (I kid you not. Watch the You-Tube..) And of course, an African-American conservative Republican is something of an anomaly….

Less “snicker-worthy” is the effort led by Brian Bosma to down-play his sex-play.

Bosma’s relationship with a young woman who was a General Assembly intern at the time (she was a 20-year-old student at Ball State University; Bosma was a married 34-year-old representative) has been a staple of statehouse gossip for several years. Evidently triggered by concerns that the young woman was going to “go public,” Bosma hired a local attorney to “investigate” her–i.e., dig up dirt he could use against her if she did decide to talk.

That story and the ongoing Hill saga prompted calls for legal measures that would apply to members of the General Assembly. This being Indiana, those “calls” were essentially answered by none other than Brian Bosma (we don’t recognize conflicts of interest in Indiana), who as Speaker of the House appointed the personnel subcommittee of the Legislative Council, coincidentally, the subcommittee charged with recommending sexual harassment prevention policies.

The subcommittee met in a closed-door executive session Nov. 7 to finalize the proposed policy changes. I know it will shock Hoosier readers of this blog to learn that the policies they proposed were something less than ideal.

An Indiana employment law professor calls the proposed guidelines to combat sexual harassment at the Indiana Statehouse “shockingly dated” and designed to insulate lawmakers from liability.

“The proposal is grossly under-inclusive and arguably a waste of time and resources since the legislature could easily just affirm that all of its state employees, contractors, members, unpaid workers, interns, etc., are subject to federal and state law,” said Jennifer Drobac, a law professor at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Drobac identified a few of the inadequacies of the proposals and the process that produced them.

Drobac questioned the wisdom of House Majority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, being involved in the process of revising the sexual harassment policies. An ethics complaint has been filed against him for using campaign funds to investigate a woman who said she had a sexual relationship with him in the early 1990s.

The proposed policy says that the speaker or other member of the ethics committee shall not participate in the review of a harassment claim if they are the subject of the complaint.

“However, what if they are the not the subject of the particular complaint but have conflicts of interest or a history of inappropriate (or ineffectual, i.e. failure to properly investigate) behavior,” she questioned.

The terms of these proposed guidelines aren’t the only “shockingly dated” attitudes being displayed by Bosma and the “boys” at the Statehouse. Someone needs to explain to them that a hate crimes law that omits protections for transgender Hoosiers (which is the version Bosma says he’ll allow) is tantamount to a message that crimes against some marginalized categories is okay with them….

What were those lyrics?

Back home again in Indiana…
And it seems that I can see
Our 18th Century legislature
Still staying pure
Through the sycamores for me