Indiana attorney general's law license suspended for groping

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2019, file photo, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill arrives for a hearing at the state Supreme Court at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Hill's law license will be suspended for 30 days over an allegation that he drunkenly groped four women during a party, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday, May 11, 2020. 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." (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2019, file photo, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill arrives for a hearing at the state Supreme Court at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Hill's law license will be suspended for 30 days over an allegation that he drunkenly groped four women during a party, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday, May 11, 2020. 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." (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, who has sought national attention as an anti-abortion and tough-on-crime crusader, will have his law license suspended for 30 days over allegations that he drunkenly groped a state lawmaker and three other 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 a suspension of at least 60 days recommended by a hearing officer for his actions during a party marking the end of the 2018 legislative session.

Hill, who has resisted calls for his resignation from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state GOP leaders, said in a statement he accepted the court’s decision with “humility and respect.” He named his chief deputy to oversee the attorney general’s office until his suspension ends June 17.

Hill’s statement released by his office made no mention of the allegations or the women who accused him of groping them.

“I offer my deepest gratitude to my family, friends and the entire staff of the Office of the Attorney General,” Hill said. “My staff has worked tirelessly and without interruption and will continue to do so on behalf of all Hoosiers.”

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.