Ex-Divorce Attorney Who Hypnotized Female Clients for Sexual Pleasure Gets 12 Years in Prison
A disgraced Ohio divorce attorney who authorities say hypnotized several female clients for his sexual gratification was sentenced to 12 years in prison
A disgraced Ohio divorce attorney who authorities say hypnotized several of his female clients for his own sexual gratification was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison, PEOPLE confirms.
According to court records, Michael Fine, 59, received his sentence two months after pleading guilty to kidnapping and attempted kidnapping charges involving six women. (Each charge had a sexual motivation specification.)
He will also have to register as a sex offender upon his release.
Since his 2014 arrest, Fine has surrendered his law license, court records show.
Police started investigating Fine when one of his clients came forward with strong suspicions that she was being hypnotized whenever meeting with her attorney to discuss her impending divorce.
The woman made audio recordings of two of her telephone conversations with Fine, and investigators say the lawyer began using sexually explicit language with his client before ending the calls.
Court records obtained by PEOPLE indicate that several other women who had hired Fine then came forward to police after the initial media reports about his arrest — exposing a pattern of behavior.
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One of the victims told police she believed Fine had hypnotized her numerous times, both over the phone and during meetings in his office and at conference rooms at the Lorain County Justice Center in Elyria, Ohio.
The victim said she’d hired Fine in February 2013 to settle a custody dispute. She told police she decided to record her phone conversations with him after having trouble recollecting their interactions in his office. She brought the tapes to detectives, who asked her to wear audio and video recording devices to her next meeting in Fine’s law offices in Sheffield, Ohio.
Authorities were listening as Fine hypnotized the woman and started discussing sex acts with her. They then raided his offices, searching for evidence.
Another woman who’d hired Fine to represent her in a divorce told detectives the lawyer discussed relaxation and meditation techniques during their first meeting and that she suspected he was trying to hypnotize her.
Court documents show she told police that her next three meetings with Fine included similar talk, and that after these encounters, she had a hard time remembering everything that had happened.
While Fine’s family and friends (and even his pastor) spoke up in support of him, according to the Chronicle-Telegram, his victims described the opposite. One woman read her impact statement aloud at his sentencing:
“I have come to realize it was not my vulnerability that caused this to happen,” she said. “I went to Michael Fine with help in getting out of a terrible and abusive situation. 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.”
Calls to Fine’s lawyer were not immediately returned.