Disbarred lawyer is sentenced for hypnotizing clients for sexual gratification
A disbarred Ohio lawyer was sentenced on Monday to 12 years in prison based on accusations that he hypnotized clients for his sexual gratification.
Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced Michael Fine of Sheffield after one victim read a victim impact statement in court and two other victims’ statements were read into the record, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.
“I went to Michael Fine with help in getting out of a terrible and abusive situation,” said the victim who appeared in court. “I paid him to help me. He used my trust and his position as my attorney to gain information about my vulnerabilities. He then used that information not only to protect and defend me, but also to manipulate, hurt and take advantage of me.”
The impact statement from another woman said she now has panic attacks and struggles in intimate relationships with men.
Cosgrove said she had been presented with two different pictures of Fine. More than 50 letters had been written on his behalf, including letters from his wife, mother, sisters, friends, church members, pastor and clients, the judge said. The letters described Fine as a role model, a loving father and a best friend, Cosgrove said.
“I contrast that with the evidence in this case and statements from the victims,” Cosgrove said. “At the lowest point in their lives, when they came to you for help in the throes of painful divorces and custody battles, you took advantage of them. You took advantage of their trust and faith in you by sexually abusing them.”
Police arrested Fine after a woman who suspected something had happened in a meeting with the lawyer decided to record her interactions with him, according to documents seeking an emergency suspension. When she initially went to police, they told her to find a different lawyer. When she produced the tape, police asked her to wear a wire and raided Fine’s office when he put the woman in a trance.
Fine had pleaded guilty in September to five counts of kidnapping and one count of attempted kidnapping. The plea agreement had called for a 12-year sentence.
He agreed to permanent disbarment in 2015.