Divorce Attorney Michael Fine, charged with taking advantage of his clients at the weakest and most vulnerable state
Fine, 59, hypnotized six female clients and sexually abused them, in Lorain County, Ohio
Cops investigated after women lost track of time during their meetings, one woman also claimed her bra was disheveled after leaving his office
The suspicious woman wore a hidden camera to meet him and recorded his acts
The attorney was charged with kidnapping and attempted kidnapping of six clients
Fine pled guilty, voluntarily surrendered his law license, permanently
He was Jailed for 12 years and registered as a Tier 2 sex offender, requiring him to register every 180 days, for 25 years
Former victims advocate Michael Fine, was sentenced to 12 years in jail on Monday in Ohio after admitting he hypnotically controlled unwitting female clients so he could sexually exploit them. Divorce attorney Fine, used his hypnotic skills to control his victims clients for his own sexual gratification.
He was caught and went on trial after one suspicious woman wore a hidden camera to meet him, after complaining to authorities she lost track of time and felt disheveled after her meetings with the attorney handling her divorce.
Michael Fine, 59, was sentenced to 12 years in jail on Monday at Lorain County, Ohio after pleading guilty to charges relating to the sexual abuse of six women all of whom complained of the same weird experience after their meetings with him.
One time divorce attorney Fine, entered guilty pleas to five counts of kidnapping and one count of attempted kidnapping during a September hearing a week before his trial was set to begin. Each of those charges carries a sexual motivation specification.
Presiding judge, Patricia Cosgrove, classified Fine as a Tier 2 sexual offender, a designation that comes with registration every 180 days for 25 years.
Police began investigating the married father of two in 2014, after two women came forward saying they believed they had been hypnotized after losing track of time and being unable to recall meetings and phone calls with Fine.
One of the six women also recalled being ‘wet in her vaginal area’ and that ‘her bra was disheveled’ after she left his office or had conversations with him.
A female client, who had hired the attorney for a custody dispute in 2013, went to policewith a complaint she thought Fine had used his hypnotic skills on her several times on the phone and during meetings in his office.
She opted to record two telephone conversations with Fine during which he used explicit sexual language before ending the calls discussing legal matters.
Investigators wired the woman with video and audio recording equipment for a meeting in Fine’s office last November, according to court documents. Police entered the room when Fine began discussing sex acts.
Fine was arrested in 2015 after being accused of hypnotizing six of his female clients and then sexually assaulting them during their client-attorney meetings with him
Another woman, who hired Fine in September to represent her in a divorce, suspected she had been hypnotized after Fine started discussing relaxation and meditation techniques during their first meeting.
She told police the same thing happened in their next three meetings and she felt as though she had lost time.
Although the indictment lists six victims, about 30 victims initially came forward with allegations against Fine .
Police began investigating the married divorce attorney back in 2014 after two women came forward saying they believed they had been hypnotized after losing track of time and being unable to recall meetings and phone calls with Fine.
Publicity of Fine’s criminal investigation prompted other women to contact authorities with their suspicions.
He was charged with rape, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, attempted rape, 15 counts of kidnapping, three counts of attempted kidnapping and two counts each of attempted sexual battery, attempted gross sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.
He pled guilty to five counts of kidnapping and one of attempted kidnapping – and each carried a sexual motivation specification.
Although the indictment lists six victims, about 30 victims initially came forward with allegations against Fine when his alleged crimes came to light.
One of his victims read an impact statement to the court on Monday, describing how Fine manipulated her three weeks after her divorce was finalized.
‘I have come to realize it was not my vulnerability that caused this to happen,’ she said in court, according to The Chronicle.
‘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.’
Statements from his other victims were read out in court, including a woman who now suffers from panic attacks and struggles with relationships.
A resigned Michael W. Fine sat silently with arms crossed in court during proceedings
‘He gets a 12-year sentence. I get a life sentence. Is 12 years long enough? Is this enough time for the pain, hurt and suffering that I now have to live with?’ it read.
‘This will be a part of who I am to become. This is now part of my being – not by choice, but by circumstance. Twelve years compared to a lifetime – just doesn’t seem fair, does it?’
The judge ordered Fine to be classified as a registered sex offender.
Fine, who was charged with taking advantage of the six women in August, agreed to permanently surrender his law license, which means he no longer can practice law in the United States.
Defense attorney Robert Housel said Fine had difficulties in his life, voluntarily gave up his law license and acknowledged what he had done by entering guilty pleas.
Fine’s wife, Aneta Fine, said Fine was a good man who made some bad decisions.
“This was something that came out of no where,” she said. “He has been a loving husband and father to our two girls.”
Michael fine appearing in court during the hearings, reached a pre-trial plea agreement, a week before he was due to go on trial for what would have been an avalanche of accusations from 30 women
Judge Cosgrove sternly admonished Fine, condemning his crimes as she also noted the overwhelming support Fine continues to have in the community.
“There is a real dichotomy here. There are two different pictures of Mr. Fine. One is the one portrayed by the defense and in over 50 letters of support for Mr. Fine,” Cosgrove said. “From his wife, from his mother, from his two sisters, from friends, church members, clients and associates, even his pastor of his church wrote a letter on behalf of Mr. Fine. They all talked about how amazing he was as an individual, how supportive he was – a role model, a father and a best friend. And, I read over and over ‘This is not the Mike I know.’ I contrast that with the evidence in this case and statements from the victims. 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.”
Michael fine reached a pre-trial plea agreement, a week before he was due to go on trial for what would have been an avalanche of accusations from 30 women. In fact Fine’s case is at the center of a dispute between county Domestic Relations Judge Lisa Swenski, who has said she suspects she was one of Fine’s victims, and Lorain County attorney Michael Tony.
Swenski recused herself from hearing Tony’s cases nearly two years ago. Although she didn’t say so at the time, she wrote in court documents filed this summer that she suspected Tony might be in league with Fine.
Michael Tony has never been charged with a crime and isn’t facing disciplinary action from the Ohio Supreme Court’s ethics arm.
Judge Swenski’s suspicions of County prosecutor Tony were revealed when she responded to his request asking the Ohio Supreme Court to permanently bar her from handling his cases when she decided to resume hearing them earlier this summer.