INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is accused of attorney misconduct.
The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission said Hill broke the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct. The rebuke comes after Hill was accused of inappropriately touching four women, including three legislative staffers and a state representative, at an Indianapolis bar in March 2018 during a party celebrating the end of the legislative session.
The commission is tasked with investigating complaints against attorneys. Hill, who has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, will have the opportunity to defend himself. The commission said Hill has 30 days to respond to the complaint. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will determine if misconduct occurred and if a sanction is appropriate.
Several lawmakers, including leading Republicans, have called for Hill to resign. Democrats called for impeachment. A special prosecutor assigned to the case declined to file criminal charges against Hill in October, saying the charges couldn't be proven in court. Hill's accusers—Gabrielle McLemore, Mara Reardon, Niki DaSilva and Samantha Lozano--all stepped forward to detail the allegations and planned to pursue civil claims.
In the disciplinary complaint, the commission wrote:
By his foregoing conduct, the respondent (Hill) committed criminal acts, each of which reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in violation of Rule 8.4(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys at Law.
The commission wrote that in touching the women and "making rude and sexually suggestive comments," Hill "engaged in offensive personality in violation of Rule 22 of the Indiana Rules of Admission and Discipline."
The complaint noted that that Hill, as the state's attorney general, "holds a position of extreme public trust and his office touches on virtually all areas of state government." As a government lawyer, the complaint said, Hill "has a heightened duty of ethical conduct that is long established in Indiana ethics law."
The complaint said Hill's conduct reflects poorly on the legal profession and does "incalculable harm" to the public perception of his office and state agencies.
The complaint also stated that Hill has denied responsibility for his actions, admitting he drank too much initially before claiming he wasn't inebriated. He held "public news events in his role as Attorney General in which he denounced the allegations as untrue and implied the victims falsified their accounts. Later, the respondent portrayed the victims as mistaken or misperceiving his conduct," the complaint said.
The complaint alleged that Hill "lacks remorse for his misconduct" and caused "actual or potential injury to his victims and their future careers." It further alleges he "acted with the selfish motive to arouse his sexual desires."
The women accusing Hill of inappropriate conduct released the following statement:
The filing today was not in response to any action we took, as we did not file a grievance with the Indiana Disciplinary Commission. 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.
officer are being reviewed.
Don Lundberg, counsel to Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, issued this statement:
“This matter has been investigated three times. There was an investigation undertaken by the General Assembly, another by the inspector general and, finally, one by the special prosecutor. And after having reviewed all the information, all three reached the same conclusion: no further action was warranted. The Attorney General remains focused on serving the people of Indiana. This matter will be addressed through the proper process outlined for disciplinary complaints in the State of Indiana and we are confident it will conclude in a manner consistent with the results of the prior investigations.”