March 19, 2019

Attorney General Curtis Hill Faces Disciplinary Charges For 'Pattern Of Misconduct'

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Attorney General Curtis Hill  - (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Attorney General Curtis Hill

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission Tuesday filed a complaint against Attorney General Curtis Hill in response to the accusations he groped four women last March.

The women, who include Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D-Munster) and three legislative staffers, accused Hill of groping them at a party at the end of last year's legislative session. An investigation by the Indiana Inspector General backed up those women's accounts. But a special prosecutor opted not to bring a criminal case against the attorney general.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission says Hill "committed criminal acts" which "reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer."

The nine-member disciplinary commission and its staff investigate complaints of alleged misconduct against attorneys. In its filing, the commission said Hill broke Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct.

In the complaint, the commission said "[Hill's] conduct caused actual or potential injury to his victims and their future careers by forcing them to choose between reporting his conduct or remaining silent. Three of [Hill's] four victims were women in their early 20s, had just begun their careers in government, and were subject to sexual misconduct by a powerful state official."

The complaint is just the first step of the process for the disciplinary commission. Hill will have an opportunity to defend himself. The final decision - and potential punishment, if any - is in the hands of the Indiana Supreme Court.

That could have serious consequences for Hill, who by law, is required to be a duly licensed attorney. If disbarred, Hill would be ineligible to serve.

The women who accused Hill - Gabrielle McLemore, Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, Niki DaSilva and Samantha Lozano - responded to the complaint.

"The filing today was not in response to any action we took, as we did not file a grievance with the Indiana Disciplinary Commission," they said in a joint statement. "However, we are pleased to see that the sexual harassment and battery we faced from Curtis Hill is being taken seriously and that his ethics as the state's highest legal officer are being reviewed."

Several Republican leaders have called on Hill to resign since the allegations became public last July, including Gov. Eric Holcomb and legislative leaders. But the General Assembly did not move forward on legislative action to remove him from office.

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