Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert which will discuss the recent sentencing of a former Ohio lawyer to 12 years in prison for hypnotizing and sexually abusing female clients.
According to media reports, the lawyer, Michael Fine, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on November 14, 2016 and he was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 25 years. The lawyer was scheduled for trial on Sept. 19, 2016; however, he pled guilty to five counts of kidnapping with sexual motivation and one count of attempted kidnapping about a week before the trial was scheduled to open.
A criminal investigation into the lawyer began in 2014 after a female client discovered that her underwear was disheveled and she also could not recall what had occurred following meetings with the lawyer. The investigation continued after over 20 women come forward with similar complaints and a former client also began tape recording her conversations with the lawyer. The recordings showed that the lawyer “began to use ‘code’ words that induced (her) to enter a trance-like stage”.
The lawyer is 59 years old and had practiced law since 1981. His license was temporarily suspended in November 2014 after a local Ohio bar association filed a motion with the Ohio Supreme Court stating that the lawyer had “utilized hypnotic therapy to facilitate the impairment of and sexual exploitation of his clients” and requesting that the lawyer be suspended. The lawyer later submitted an application for resignation, which was granted on August 17, 2015. That order is here: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2015/2015-Ohio-3265.pdf
Bottom line: This lawyer engaged in despicable acts which resulted in his removal from the roll of lawyers in Ohio and 12 years in state prison. This type of predatory criminal conduct is inexcusable and diminishes the reputation of the entire legal profession and also the respect of the public.
As always, if you have any questions about this Ethics Alert or need assistance, analysis, and guidance regarding these or any other ethics, risk management, or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Disclaimer: this e-mail is not an advertisement, does not contain any legal advice, ad does not create an attorney/client relationship and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
29605 U.S. Highway 19 N. Suite 150
Clearwater, Florida 33761
Office (727) 799-1688
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