How does someone abduct someone else without ever leaving the room they started out in? The AP and Washington Post report ex-lawyer Michael Fine of Ohio is going to prison for just that after pleading guilty to kidnapping and attempted kidnapping charges involving six female clients who said he hypnotized and molested them. The case broke open when one of the women, who'd retained Fine for help with a custody issue after her divorce, noticed she was coming out of seemingly routine meetings with him with a blurry memory and messed-up clothes. She started recording her visits, including one in which the tape revealed she and Fine had a "sexually charged discussion" she doesn't remember, including him telling her he'd "build [her] towards a massive orgasm." She went to the Sheffield Village Police Department, which set up a sting and busted Fine during another meeting with the woman in 2014.
Once the charges against Fine went public, other women came forward with similar accusations of Fine using "meditation" and "mindfulness" techniques until "the moments would simply slip away to nothingness," per one victim's complaint. The Post notes that there's "contradictory" data on what hypnosis can do, with the APA simply stating, "People respond to hypnosis in different ways." But for Fine's clients, the experience was all too real, including one client who the Chronicle-Telegram says gave a "searing" statement at his sentencing. "He used my trust and his position ... to gain information about my vulnerabilities," she said. "He then used that information ... to manipulate, hurt, and take advantage of me." Fine, 59, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday and has to register as a sex offender every 180 days for 25 years. (These teens died after their principal hypnotized them.)