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Former Bluffton doctor faces jail time, sex offender status

LIMA — Former Bluffton doctor James Gideon was sentenced Friday to 180 days in jail and ordered to pay a $500 fine following his convictions last month on three counts of sexual imposition, all misdemeanors.
He must also register as a Tier I sex offender, the least severe level.
Gideon’s lawyer, Dennis Belli, has filed a notice of appeal. Gideon’s sentence will be deferred until the appeal is complete.
Gideon was initially accused by seven women in Lima Municipal Court of sexually molesting them while the women were patients at his doctor’s office in Bluffton, Northwest Ohio Rheumatology.
Two of the counts were eventually dismissed, and a jury convicted Gideon on three of those counts last month.
Gideon spoke at his sentencing.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain and anger I have heard expressed,” Gideon said.
He added, “I’ve committed my life to medicine. I’ve committed everything I’ve got.”
One of the women Gideon was convicted of molesting said she now fears visits to doctors.
“Every doctor I see now, I have to sit and shake and have panic attacks because I no longer trust people who say they are there to help me,” the woman said.
A second woman told the judge overseeing the case that Gideon had abused her for over a year, and used her past to manipulate her. The abuse did not occur over a small period of time, as the defendant claimed at his trial, the woman said.
Gideon said during his trial that he was ill and tired during May and June 2017, when most of the incidents that went to trial occurred, and said he may not have taken proper precautions because of illness.
Lima Municipal Court Judge Tammie Hursh said she had seen a pattern of reckless behavior by Gideon, noting that Gideon did not use gloves or have another person in the room when asking patients to disrobe.
Hursh also said Gideon’s account, that the incidents were accidents, did not make sense.
“I simply do not believe that you understand the gravity of these offenses,” Hursh said, before sentencing Gideon to the maximum sentence allowed under Ohio law.
Gideon’s medical license has been suspended, according to the State Medical Board of Ohio.
Several civil cases claiming malpractice are pending against Gideon in Allen County.

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