The allegations facing lawyer Michael Fine, 57, are truly bizarre. Police say that Fine convinced clients to let him hypnotize them and then had sex with them while telling them to forget everything but their legal discussions from the office visits.
The case was disclosed when the Lorain County Bar Association filed an emergency court motion to suspend Fine from further practice. The filing describes how one alleged victim experienced “strange memories and feelings” after her meetings with Fine. She told investigators that “She would be unable to recall substantial portions of the meetings, and afterwards she would realize her clothes and bra were out of place and moved, and her vagina was wet.”
Fine allegedly told the women that this was a meditation and relaxation technique that was beneficial for clients.
The woman then agreed to record two telephone conversations and that in one conversation “when Fine learn[ed] she is alone, he place[ed] her in a trance” and proceeded to “induce her into multiple orgasms.” Investigators say that he used code words and told her that she was “being made love to by the world’s greatest lover” and that he was her “teacher.” She was then told to forget everything but their case discussion. After two such allegedly incriminating telephone conversations, police wired the woman and she went to the office. Fine allegedly told her to bring a sex toy. The police reportedly stormed into the office after Fine hypnotized “Jane Doe” and began physical contact.
The account supplied by the Bar is quite explicit. The women complained of a sense of a loss of time and memory when they visited Fine. One of the women then discovered that Fine was no longer working for the firm and reached out to a former partner, identified as Joel Fritz, who advised her to go to the police.
To say the least, this makes for an extremely bizarre and disturbing case. Such sex contact could be charged as rape and other crimes. There is also the question of the liability for the former law firm and the reason for his cessation with the firm. If the firm had knowledge of possible criminal or grossly unethical conduct, the issue could become whether they had a duty to report to either the police or at a minimum the clients. There is no information on any knowledge by the firm and clearly this is the type of alleged conduct that a culprit would keep secret. There is no allegations made against the firm or any of its partners.
The case could also lead to a trial contest over the true control exercised by hypnotism and a defense of consensual relations (which would still leave serious ethical issues).
The motion can be read HERE.