Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk is battling depression and will take four weeks unpaid leave to seek medical help.
First reported by FOX4 on Tuesday, Hawk’s new medical leave means she will be gone from office for nearly two months. Hawk, who was sworn in in January, had not been seen for three weeks and her office offered no explanation despite numerous questions from reporters.
“I'm sorry that my absence has created this unnecessary distraction,” Hawk said in a statement released late Tuesday, adding that she was off the last three weeks due to a “serious episode of depression” and she had intended to return to work this week.
“I've decided that it would be in my best interest, and the best interest of the DA's office for me to take a four-week, unpaid leave of absence starting today and give this illness the professional attention it deserves,” Hawk said.
Hawk intends to resume her job as DA after treatment. Sources tell FOX4 she will seek professional help outside of Dallas.
Hawk was in rehab during last year’s election campaign because of an addiction to prescription painkillers and left Dallas for a period of time.
Hawk became the first woman elected DA in Dallas County history and the first Republican to win county-wide office since 2004 when she defeated incumbent Craig Watkins in Nov. 2014.
Dallas County Republican Chairman Wade Emmert said the party supports Hawk and “applaud her courage for coming forward and disclosing her illness.”
Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan commended Hawk for admitting her depression, but said she hid the truth for weeks.
“If Susan cannot do her job, for herself and for her office, she should resign,” Donovan said.
Messina Madson will run the district attorney's office until Hawk returns.
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