Dallas DA Back to Work After Two-Month Leave

     DALLAS (CN) – Facing calls for her resignation after disappearing for two months to treat her depression, Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk returned to work Thursday.
     Declining to answer reporters’ questions outside her office, Hawk, 44, said she missed the courthouse and looked forward to seeing her colleagues.
     “These past nine weeks have been tough but I am stronger and healthier than I have ever been,” Hawk said Thursday morning. “I know [the media] has questions and the citizens of Dallas County have questions and my office has questions and I know you deserve answers. Later next week, I’m going to sit down with each of you and give you the answers you are asking for.”
     Hawk’s absence began at the end of July. She announced a month later to take a second month of unpaid leave for treatment at an unidentified facility outside Dallas.
     She said a “serious episode of depression” caused her to take the additional time to ensure “this does not happen in the future” and that she is healthy.
     “It was my intention to return to work this week, but I have been unable to do so,” Hawk said at the time. “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 spokeswoman Mari Woodlief had said that Hawk left for a “summer break” on Aug. 3, but several county leaders and district attorney employees called for more answers.
     Hawk, a Republican, was elected last year. She resigned as a Democratic state district judge in 2013 and switched parties to run against former district attorney and Democrat Craig Watkins.
     Her short tenure in office has been dogged by turmoil over her dealings with employees, including the controversial firing of seasoned prosecutor Bill Wirskye as her second-in-command in March. Hawk had accused him of breaking into her home and stealing a compromising photograph of her, according to media reports.
     Hawk has also confirmed that she spent time in a rehabilitation facility during her 2013 campaign for pain medication abuse associated with a bad back.

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