CLEVELAND (AP) — An attorney accused of hypnotizing women for his sexual pleasure was immediately suspended from practicing law by the state Supreme Court.
The Lorain County Bar Association filed an emergency motion last week with the court seeking the suspension of Sheffield Village attorney Michael Fine. The court suspended Fine on Monday. A court spokesman said Tuesday that it's rare for the court to suspend an attorney before a disciplinary hearing.
Fine's attorney, Robert Housel, said that Fine agreed to the suspension and was undergoing medical treatment. Housel would not say what kind of treatment Fine was receiving.
Two women Fine represented have told authorities they believed they were hypnotized because they would lose track of time and could not recall what was discussed after meetings and phone calls with him.
One woman told authorities she thought Fine hypnotized her numerous times on the phone and during meetings in his office and at conference rooms at the Lorain County Justice Center. She said she hired Fine in February 2013 for a custody dispute and continued to confer with him because she needed his legal help.
The woman decided to record phone conversations with Fine on Oct. 10 and Oct. 21. According to the motion, Fine used sexually explicit language during the calls, which ended with Fine and the woman discussing legal matters. She then took the recordings to Sheffield Lake police. According to the motion, she told investigators she didn't go to police earlier because she feared not being taken seriously.
Police officers and investigators from the county prosecutor's office wired the woman with video and audio recording equipment for a Nov. 7 meeting in Fine's office, the motion said. Investigators said they entered the room when Fine began discussing sex acts.
A second woman hired Fine in September to represent her in a divorce. She told investigators that Fine discussed relaxation and meditation techniques during their first meeting and suspected that he tried to hypnotize her. The same thing happened in their next three meetings and afterward, according to the motion, the woman felt as if she'd lost time.
The second woman went to Fine's former law firm in early November when she learned he had not filed any paperwork in her case. She told authorities that when she learned Fine was no longer with that firm, she told an attorney about her suspicions. The attorney advised her to contact authorities.