SOUTH BEND  –  A leak in the roof is bad, nobody wants that. The leak to the Indianapolis Star of a report by four women of groping misconduct by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill at a legislative sine die (final adjournment) party was good, too. Hill didn’t want it, but it could even be good for Hill.
If it had not been leaked, legislative leaders apparently would have kept it secret. They reacted initially with horror about the leak, not horror about the allegations by the women. Now, they find the reported conduct so despicable that they call for Hill to resign. The report apparently wasn’t so despicable before it was leaked to the Star.
Much of the political speculation is that the damaging report about Hill, a Republican and former Elkhart County prosecutor, was leaked by Republican sources. That’s based on the animosity toward him because of his maneuvering to challenge Gov. Eric Holcomb for the 2020 Republican nomination for governor.
So, was this Indianapolis bar episode about to become just another situation, oft described now in the #MeToo movement, where a powerful male could grin and grope and suffer no consequences?
Donald Trump said that “when you’re a star,” you can “grab ’em by the . . .” Can the attorney general grope a female legislator, grabbing her butt, engage in other inappropriate conduct with young legislative staffers and urge women at the bar to show more skin for free drinks?
Did Hill do this? Or did the four women lie?
Like the officials calling for Hill to resign, I tend to believe the women. But I don’t know for sure what happened.
It is good that – because of the leak – the public now knows of serious allegations about a public official and that a special prosecutor could now seek facts about what happened. Good that this isn’t another situation where allegations against a powerful person are hidden, while similar allegations against some “lesser” person in the bar would have led to arrest that night. Good possibly even for Hill if he has his day in court, the due process he seeks, and he isn’t convicted of any offense.
He clearly was appealing to the powerful Trump base in maneuvering at the Republican State Convention, successfully frustrating the efforts of the governor and party leaders to put aside a divisive platform plank on same-sex marriage. Hill now responds in the Trump way, appealing to the base: Complete denial, no apology for anything, blame the news media and the political establishment for fake allegations.
There is the question of whether Hill is done politically, disgraced, or whether he gains support to challenge Holcomb for the governor nomination, seen as a martyr for the conservative cause and guilty of nothing but some silly nonsense. Another question, perhaps never to be answered: Who leaked the report and why?
A Republican deploring Hill’s political maneuvering to take on Holcomb in the GOP primary for governor.
A Democrat wanting to nail a Republican official as really sleazy to help with the crucial election this fall.
A #MeToo cause believer disgusted with the possibility of a powerful man in Indiana getting away with deplorable conduct toward women.
A person believing that the public should know about something some legislative leaders were intending to keep secret.
Motives of a leaker aren’t always pure. Doesn’t matter. What matters is whether the leaked information is true and is something the public should know.
The Star account of the report is accurate, whether or not one believes the allegations in it. It is good that the public now knows of something that otherwise would have been hidden, known by just a few and used by those insiders for their own purposes. 

Colwell has covered Indiana politics over five decades for the South Bend Tribune.