Indiana attorney general charged with misconduct by state disciplinary commission

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita was charged Monday with three counts of attorney misconduct by the Disciplinary Commission of the Indiana Supreme Court. The disciplinary complaint alleged that Rokita’s statements regarding an investigation into Indianapolis OB/GYN Caitlin Bernard violated state confidentiality laws.

The complaint focuses on comments Rokita made about his ongoing investigation into a medication abortion Dr. Bernard administered to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio in June 2022. According to the complaint, Rokita discussed the investigation during an appearance on Fox News’ Jesse Watters show on July 13, 2022 and in various public statements through September 15, 2022. However, Indiana Code § 25-1-7-10(a) provides that “all complaints and information pertaining to the complaints shall be held in strict confidence until the AG files notice with the [Medical Licensing Board] of [their] intent to prosecute the licensee.” Rokita did not file a complaint against Bernard until November 30, 2022.

According to the disciplinary commission, Rokita breached the state’s confidentiality requirements by speaking publicly about the investigation, and in doing so, he “caused irreparable harm to Dr. Bernard’s reputational and professional image.” It further alleges that Rokita “burdened the court system and caused additional systems and logistical issues for the Medical Licensing Board to navigate.” Ultimately, the disciplinary commission moved for Rokita to be disciplined appropriately for his alleged professional misconduct.

On June 27, 2023, the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana found that Dr. Bernard violated patient privacy laws by discussing the procedure with local news reporters. The letter of reprimand was accompanied by a $3,000 fine.

Just days before the disciplinary complaint was lodged against Rokita, he sued Indiana University (IU) Health, the state’s largest health network, over its support of Dr. Bernard. The suit argues that “rather than protecting the patient, the hospital chose to protect the doctor, and itself.”

In response to Monday’s complaint, Rokita released a statement vowing to continue to defend Indiana’s privacy laws. In part, it reads:

Hoosiers, in the largest number on record, elected me Attorney General because they knew they were getting a passionate fighter who — like them — is beating back the culture of death, grievance and transanity being pushed by radicals in workplaces, schools, media and government.