INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has issued an order of reprimand against the state’s attorney general Todd Rokita.
The case stemmed from a disciplinary complaint against the A.G. in relation to comments he made to media outlets and other public statements between July 2022 and September 2022 regarding an investigation into Dr. Caitlin Bernard.
According to court documents filed Thursday, the justices proposed that the respondent Rokita receive a public reprimand for his misconduct.
The commission claimed that Rokita violated various portions of the Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct when he spoke about the pending investigation into Bernard to Fox News host Jesse Watters on July 13, 2022, and other statements.
The Supreme Court said the commission investigates and prosecutes allegations of attorneys accused of violating the Indiana Professional Rules of Conduct.
Previous reports showed Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim, was found to have violated patient privacy laws by talking publicly about the procedure.
During a May hearing, Bernard said she did nothing wrong and that she complied with all patient confidentiality and HIPPA laws.
Bernard was featured in a story from the Indy Star on July 1 speaking about the procedure. The documents stated Bernard performed an abortion on a 10-year-old from Ohio who was six weeks and three days pregnant after the child was referred to Bernard by an Ohio doctor.
On July 2, Bernard submitted a termination of pregnancy report to the Department of Health, which was forwarded to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
After Bernard made public comments in July 2022, Rokita opened an investigation into the doctor after six complaints were made to the A.G.’s office about Bernard’s “performance of a termination procedure on a 10-year-old.”
According to the documents, none of the complainants were Bernard’s patients.
On July 13, Rokita appeared on Watters’ show to speak about the Bernard investigation. During the interview, Rokita told Watters, in front of a national audience, that Bernard is an “abortion activist acting as a doctor – with a history of failing to report.”
A news release was then released by Rokita’s office the next day, which stated that the investigation is ongoing and the office is “waiting for the relevant documents to prove if the abortion and/or the abuse were reported.” Rokita also discussed the investigation of Bernard in multiple other media interviews.
Rokita was charged because the commission claimed he violated multiple portions of the Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct.
By referring to Bernard as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor – with a history of failure to report” on the Watters show on Fox News, the commission claims that Rokita violated Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6(a) and 4.4(a).
According to the order, the court ordered Rokita to pay $250 to the Clerk of the Indiana Supreme Court. They also stipulated that the Commission’s investigation costs under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(21)(a)(1).
All justices concluded except Rush and Goff who rejected the conditional agreement citing the discipline to be too lenient based on the respondent’s “position as Attorney General and the scope and breadth of the admitted misconduct.”
Rokita released a statement Thursday afternoon after the ruling saying, in part:
First things first: I deny and was not found to have violated anyone’s confidentiality or any laws. I was not fined. And I will continue as Indiana’s duly-elected attorney general.Todd Rokita, Indiana Attorney General
Planned Parenthood also released a response to the reprimand:
“Rokita’s attacks have no basis in medicine or health care; they are deliberate attempts to scare, silence, and shutter abortion providers in the state. Two of the Justices in the decision believe the reprimand wasn’t far enough, and we agree. The stigmatizing, shaming, and harassing has to stop and Rokita has made it clear he won’t,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest.