Indiana AG's law license suspended over groping allegations

Indiana AG's law license suspended over groping allegations
© Getty Images

The Indiana Supreme Court on Monday ruled that state Attorney General Curtis Hill’s (R) law license will be suspended for 30 days due to allegations that he groped four women at a party in 2018.

The court unanimously ruled that Indiana’s attorney disciplinary commission “proved by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery” but imposed a lighter penalty than the 60-day suspension a hearing officer had recommended, The Associated Press reported.

Hill’s license will be automatically reinstated at the end of the suspension, while the officer had recommended a suspension without the automatic reinstatement provision, meaning he would have had to repeat the application process.

ADVERTISEMENT

Four women, including three legislative staffers and State Rep. Mara Candeleria Reardon (D) have alleged Hill drunkenly groped them at a party on the last day of Indiana’s 2018 General Assembly.

Hill, who has long denied the allegations, claimed during the hearing that he did not touch anyone in a “lewd” or “insolent” way and said he “can’t help what someone perceives,” according to the South Bend Tribune.

In its opinion, the court ruled there was sufficient evidence he touched the women in a “rude, insolent or angry manner,” the threshold for misdemeanor battery.

“I accept with humility and respect the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling of a 30-day suspension of my license with automatic reinstatement. I have directed that beginning Monday, May 18, Chief Deputy Aaron Negangard will assume responsibility for the legal operations of this office during the temporary suspension of my license until it is reinstated on Wednesday, June 17," Hill said in a statement to The Hill Monday.

“I offer my deepest gratitude to my family, friends and the entire staff of the Office of the Attorney General. My staff has worked tirelessly and without interruption and will continue to do so on behalf of all Hoosiers," he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hill, who is up for reelection this fall, has ignored calls for his resignation from Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and now-Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunGOP senators invite Yellen to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation Rand Paul introducing measure to repeal public transportation mask mandates Senate plants a seed for bipartisan climate solutions MORE (R) since the allegations first surfaced in 2018.

John Westercamp, a lawyer in private practice, announced last June that he would challenge Hill for the GOP state attorney general nomination, which is determined by convention rather than a primary.

Under the court order, Hill is forbidden from undertaking any legal matters for 30 days beginning May 18. Under state law, Indiana’s attorney general must be “duly licensed to practice law in Indiana,” but it does not specify whether professional disciplinary action disqualifies them. Holcomb would appoint a successor if the attorney general's office is left vacant.