Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr.'s law license was suspended for 30 days by the state’s highest court on Monday over allegations he groped four women at an event in 2018.
Hill “should have known better” to act as he did, which was a violation of ethics rules prohibiting committing criminal acts and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, the Indiana Supreme Court’s said.
It agreed with a court disciplinary commission officer’s finding that Hill committed misdemeanor battery. He has denied wrongdoing.
But Hill said in a statement that he accepts “with humility and respect the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling of a 30-day suspension of my license with automatic reinstatement.”
The court said in its opinion that the misconduct occurred at a function to celebrate the conclusion of the state legislature’s 2018 session. Hill touched the women without their consent on various body parts including their backs and buttocks, the court said.
It agreed with the hearing officer at a 2019 evidentiary hearing that Hill had committed “acts of misdemeanor battery,” and found that his actions implicated his professional duties.
Hill “went to the party with the purpose of discussing a bill affecting his office with key legislators and nurturing goodwill, he spent time at the party doing precisely these things, and while there he committed battery against a legislator and three legislative staffers,” the court said.
And because an attorney general is an “officer charged with administration of the law,” Hill’s criminal conduct was prejudicial to the administration of justice, it determined.
The court decided not to impose a 60-day suspension recommended by the officer at his hearing, finding that the aggravating and mitigating factors favored a suspension of half that time.
Aggravating factors are that he committed misconduct against four women who “suffered significant harm” as a result. Hill’s substantial experience in the practice of law “counsels that he should have known better than to conduct himself at the bar in the manner he did,” the court said.
But this was his first disciplinary event in about three decades of public service, it pointed out, which carries mitigating weight.
The suspension will be effective May 18.
The case is In re Hill, Ind., No. 19S-DI-156, 5/11/20.