INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hillâ€™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 stateâ€™s attorney disciplinary commission â€œproved by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery.â€
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 Hillâ€™s office and campaign seeking comment werenâ€™t immediately returned.
Hill has denied doing anything wrong, testifying during a hearing in October that he briefly touched Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardonâ€™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 â€œabsolutely notâ€ when asked whether he grabbed Reardonâ€™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. â€œA squeeze, a firm grasp,â€ 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 courtâ€™s order directs Hill to not undertake any legal matters beginning May 18 for 30 days.
It is unclear how the decision impacts Hillâ€™s ability to serve as state governmentâ€™s top lawyer. State law requires the attorney general to be â€œduly licensed to practice law in Indiana,â€ but it doesnâ€™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 generalâ€™s office is vacant, didnâ€™t immediately reply to a request for comment.