INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill’s law license will be suspended for 30 days over allegations that he drunkenly groped four women during a party, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The unanimous court decision said that the state’s attorney disciplinary commission “proved by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery.”
But the court gave the Republican attorney general a less serious punishment than the 60-day suspension recommended by a hearing officer for his actions during a party marking the end of the 2018 legislative session.
Donald Lundberg, an attorney who represented Hill in the disciplinary case, declined any immediate comment Monday. Messages to Hill’s office and campaign seeking comment weren’t immediately returned.
Hill has denied doing anything wrong, testifying during a hearing in October that he briefly touched Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon’s back while leaning in to hear what she was saying during the party and was startled to realize she was wearing a backless dress. Hill said “absolutely not” when asked whether he grabbed Reardon’s buttocks.
Reardon testified that Hill, smelling of alcohol and with glassy eyes, was holding a drink in his right hand and put his left hand on her shoulder, then slid his hand down her dress to clench her buttocks. “A squeeze, a firm grasp,” she said.
Hill, 59, also refuted testimony from three female legislative staffers — ages 23 to 26 at the time — that he inappropriately touched their backs or buttocks and made unwelcomed sexual comments during the party.
The court’s order directs Hill to not undertake any legal matters beginning May 18 for 30 days.
It is unclear how the decision impacts Hill’s ability to serve as state government’s top lawyer. State law requires the attorney general to be “duly licensed to practice law in Indiana,” but it doesn’t specify whether the person can continue serving after facing professional disciplinary action.
Hill, who is seeking election to a second term this year, has rebuffed calls from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state GOP leaders for his resignation since the groping allegations became public in July 2018.
A spokeswoman for Holcomb, who would appoint a successor if the attorney general’s office is vacant, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
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