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An Ohio lawyer has surrendered his law license and will never practice again after police accused him of hypnotizing clients -- yes, hypnotizing-- for dirty talk and sexual assault. Ex-attorney Michael William Fine allegedly coupled his family law practice with hypnosis, putting female clients under a trance for his own sexual pleasure and extra billable hours.
Fine is currently facing civil and criminal proceedings along with disciplinary action from the state bar. Court filings in the criminal case, according local news station WKYC, read "like a graphic sex novel."
Look Deep Into My Eyes ...
Yes, hypnosis is a real thing. (Supposedly.) Studies have shown that hypnosis actually affects brain activity, not just behavior, and hypnosis has been used successfully as part of medical treatment plans. It's "literally the oldest Western conception of a psychotherapy," according to Stanford professor of psychiatry David Spiegel. The DOJ even has guidelines on using hypnosis to procure evidence.
And of course, hypnosis can be used for evil. That's allegedly what happened when Michael Fine took clients in for meetings. Using "relaxation techniques" he put women into a hypnotic trance. Two clients came forward accusing the lawyer of sexual assault after they left meetings with Fine disheveled, sexually aroused and unable to recall what happened.
You Can't Hypnotize a Wire
After reporting the suspected abuse, one victim agreed to meet Fine once more, this time with a wire. During their meeting, Fine told the victim "I want you to look into my eyes. You are going to feel such attraction and arousal and excitement that you are going to demand that I touch you and you touch me. Do you understand?"
Roll your eyes if you must, but apparently the line worked. According to the woman, she immediately fell into a "trance-like" state as Fine "began a graphic sexual discussion with her." That included telling the woman that she would not cancel future appointments and that she was "being made love to by the world's greatest lover." The police stormed in shortly after, breaking Fine's spell.
As expected, Fine faced quick discipline from the local bar association. The Lorain County Bar Association sought to suspend Fine's law license and disbar him. Fine resigned from the practice of law this week, about a year since the investigation began. Since his resignation was during the disciplinary action which, according to the attorney for the LCBA, means he will be unable to practice ever again.