(The Center Square) – The Indiana Supreme Court reprimanded state Attorney General Todd Rokita on Thursday, saying he committed misconduct last year in making statements about an abortion case involving a child. The reprimand came with a $250 fine.
The split decision comes after the court’s Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Rokita in September.
In July 2022, news stories surfaced about a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who had an abortion in Indiana. The child had just passed the six-week mark in her pregnancy. Days later, after receiving complaints, Rokita’s office announced it would start an investigation.
On July 13, during a national news program, Rokita described the doctor who performed the procedure as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor, with a history of failing to report” cases. Records showed the physician reported the case to the state more than 10 days earlier.
The story occurred during a highly charged period in the debate about abortion in the U.S., just days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the case that overturned nearly 50 years of abortion law in the U.S.
Rokita was found to have made “an extrajudicial statement” in a forum that would likely lead to “materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding” and also “using means in representing a client that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person.”
The attorney general and commission reached an agreement on the matter, where Rokita admitted the violations.
Justices Mark Massa, Geoffrey Slaughter and Derek Molter concurred with the decision. Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Christopher Goff said they would reject the agreement because, according to the court’s statement, they felt “the discipline to be too lenient based on the Respondent’s position as Attorney General and the scope and breadth of the admitted misconduct.”
In a statement after the ruling was announced, Rokita said the ruling was a defeat to “cancel culture” and denied he had a vendetta against the doctor. He also said the agreement that ended the case would save taxpayer funds and eliminate further distractions.
“Now, I will focus even more resources on successfully defending Indiana’s laws, including our pro-life laws, and fighting the mob that silences parents, employees, conservative students, law enforcement, Believers of all faiths, American patriots and free enterprise itself,” he said.