The hearing officer presiding over Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill’s discipline case has recommended that the state’s highest-ranking attorney serve a two-month suspension without automatic reinstatement for violations of two professional conduct rules related to sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Myra Selby, a former justice of the Indiana Supreme Court who now works as an Ice Miller LLP partner, filed her hearing officer’s report Friday afternoon, recommending Hill be suspended for 60 days without automatic reinstatement.
She concluded Hill violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b) and (d) and committed Class B misdemeanor battery against four women–State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon and legislative staffers Gabrielle McLemore Brock, Niki DaSilva and Samantha Lozano. The rules violations are for a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer and engaging in conduct is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Selby’s recommendation will go before the Indiana Supreme Court, which will make the final determination on what, if any, discipline Hill should face.
The four women accused Hill in 2018 of sexual misconduct by groping and/or touching them without their consent. Hill has vehemently denied the allegations and has resisted calls for his resignation. Additionally, a prosecutor declined to file criminal charges against him.
“The position of Indiana Attorney General is an executive branch equivalent of a judicial officer,” Selby wrote. “The Indiana Attorney General is the highest level of attorney in the State of Indiana. The Indiana Attorney General and the Office of the Indiana Attorney General serve the citizens of the State of Indiana by enforcing the laws of the state.
“Accordingly, the Indiana Attorney General’s duty to conform his or her behavior to the law arises from more than his or her status as an attorney,” Selby continued. “The Attorney General is the state’s chief law enforcement officer and is charged with administration of the law. The Indiana Attorney General holds a position of public trust and engages in work that has a wide impact across the state.”
Selby then wrote that Hill’s conduct caused injury to his accusers and was “offensive, invasive, damaging, and embarrassing.” He has “showed no insight regarding the impact of his actions,” she said.
But Selby did not find evidence supporting the third charge against Hill — that he violated the Oath of Attorneys, Admission and Discipline Rule 22.
Selby’s report also focused on Hill’s actions after the allegations became public. “As Attorney General, he used his state office staff and others to engage in a public campaign to defend himself and intimidate the complainants,” her report concluded.
The hearing officer’s report comes after a four-day evidentiary hearing in October during which Hill, his accusers and numerous witnesses took the stand. Hill is also in the midst of a crowded re-election campaign. If he were suspended, it is unlikely he would be legally permitted to carry out the duties of the office of attorney general.
According to an Indiana Supreme Court spokeswoman, the parties have 30 days to file for review of Selby’s report and/or briefs on sanction.