Divorce attorney hypnotized clients to sexually molest them
03/21/2017 12:26 pm PDT
Police in Ohio had reason to believe a divorce lawyer was using hypnosis on his female clients. So they rigged someone up to go in undercover.
Michael Fine is a devoted husband, father of two, and was once a highly respected lawyer in Sheffield Village, Ohio. He's got a gift for guiding litigants through their nerve-wracking divorces.
"He would tell them that he was very familiar with the courts, very familiar with the judges, so they trusted him," said attorney Laura Mills.
But trusting him isn't such a good idea.
One client tells cops after meeting with Fine, she felt "inexplicably tired," "her bra had been moved" and she had noticed evidence she'd been sexually aroused. Her objection? She couldn't remember any of it.
The client is distraught. She has to find out what happened. She heads back to Fine's office for another meeting -- but this time with a hidden camera rolling from the Lorain County Sheriff's Dept.
"Even a layperson could recognize that what appears to be going on is some hypnotic trance," said Judge D. Chris Cook. "Counting backwards, relaxation techniques, breathing techniques."
From the undercover video:
Fine: "Are you horny? Incredibly horny and aroused?
"When you look into my eyes, you're gonna feel such attraction and arousal and excitement that you're gonna demand that I touch you and you touch me. Do you understand?
"My thoughts and your thoughts, my words and your words are one. What you hear is what you believe and what you believe is your truth. Your truth will open to you.
"When you do, incredible pleasure and arousal will fill you, building and building to the most amazing climax you can ever imagine.
"On the count of three you won't be able to control yourself. And you will insist and demand that I touch you in any way that brings you pleasure. Do you understand?
"No stress, no tension. On the count of three, 1-2-3.
"You OK? You said you were a little stressed this week. Is everything OK?"
That's when police officers enter the room and bust Fine.
After the undercover video goes public, multiple other victims snap out of it and come forward, leading to a dizzying list of charges against him, including kidnapping, attempted rape and gross sexual imposition.
"I don't think the general public is aware, quite honestly, of how capable he was in hypnotizing these women," said Laura Mills. "It wasn't someone that happened to be naive or incapable. They were strong, intelligent women."
In court documents, Fine tells investigators he was sexually stifled in his marriage. At age 59 fine claims he has "the sex drive of an 18-year-old" and "was not going to live like a monk for the next 20 years."
Fine faces a judge in the very courthouse building where many of his crimes were committed. He plea-bargains down to five counts of kidnapping, one count of attempted kidnapping.
Fine was sentenced to 12 years in prison. And for the next 25 years, he has to register as a sex offender.
It's a wake-up call for legal watchdogs in Ohio.
"The Bar Association was extremely concerned that with this kind of ability not only could it be going on with others, it could have gone on in the past, but most importantly we don't want it to go on in the future," said Judge Cook.