INDIANAPOLIS — An attorney and former dean of the IU Law School took issue with Attorney General Todd Rokita's comments about an IU Health doctor, who performed an abortion for a 10-year-old girl.
Lauren Robel filed a request with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission to investigate Rokita.
(NOTE: The above video is from a previous report on IU Health claiming Dr. Bernard was compliant with Indiana law.)
At issue are remarks the AG made on a Fox News program about Dr. Caitlin Bernard. Robel's letter claims:
"During the interview, General Rokita claimed that Dr. Bernard had a 'history of failing to report,' and that he was 'gathering the evidence' that she had failed to report this abortion including 'looking at her licensure' and suggesting that he would bring criminal charges against Dr. Bernard, to whom he referred multiple times as an 'abortion activist.'”
Bernard responded to the attorney general's comments with a tweet:
"My heart breaks for all survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I am so sad that our country is failing them when they need us most. Doctors must be able to give people the medical care they need, when and where they need it," she wrote.
The following day, Rokita issued a statement about continuing to look into Bernard's actions saying it was meant "to prove if the abortion and/or abuse were reported, as Dr. Caitlin Bernard had requirements to do both under Indiana law. The failure to do so constitutes a crime in Indiana, and her behavior could also affect her licensure. Additionally, if HIPAA violation did occur, that may affect next steps as well. I will not relent in the pursuit of the truth.”
Lobel's request for a disciplinary investigation claims that days before making those comments and statements, a member of Rokita's staff had requested all reports for the past 30 days from the relevant Indiana agencies in order to ascertain whether Bernard had complied with Indiana's reporting requirements. The complaint states that Rokita made the comments and statements before learning the facts from his own department's request for records.
RELATED: Attorney sends cease-and-desist letter to Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on behalf of Indianapolis doctor
The complaint then points to July 14, when a letter sent from Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita to Gov. Eric Holcomb showed there was no evidence Bernard ignored state law.
An attorney for Dr. Caitlin Bernard sent a cease-and-desist order to Rokita on July 15. The order, sent by the law firm of DeLaney & DeLaney, stated, “Please cease and desist from making false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession, which constitute defamation per se. Moreover, to the extent that any statement you make exceeds the general scope of your authority as Indiana’s Attorney General, such a statement forms the basis of an actionable defamation claim.”
Lobel's complaint claims that Rokita has failed to provide any evidence that Bernard had failed to report the abortion care to appropriate authorities or that she had a history of not reporting.
Attorneys in Indiana are prohibited from making false or baseless statements about the law or facts, and so Lobel is asking the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission to take action against Rokita.
The complaint alleges:
"What General Rokita did, in essence, was identify a private citizen whose political views he disagrees with and suggest repeatedly, on national television, and on the Attorney General’s official website, that she had broken the law, with no evidence to support those claims."
Attorney General Rokita's office sent the following response to 13News about Lobel's complaint:
"Any attorney or client can file anything they want, even without basis, which is the case here. Our office is continuing its investigation into whether Dr. Caitlin Bernard was in compliance with Indiana and federal privacy laws, among other reporting and confidentiality requirements and practices. No enforcement actions have been filed."
13News reached out to the Indiana Supreme Court and was told out of the about 1,000 complaints received last year, only 97 were investigated.