LIMA — Jurors today found James Gideon, a former Bluffton rheumatologist, guilty on three counts of sexual imposition, and not guilty of two other counts after a four-day trial in Lima Municipal Court.
The charges are misdemeanors. A sentencing date has not been set.
Jurors began deliberations at 11:35 a.m. today and returned the verdict about 4 p.m.
Gideon was accused of sexually assaulting several women at his medical practice. His medical license was suspended by the state last year.
In closing arguments this morning, Assistant Lima City Prosecutor Philip Germann listed the complaints and testimony of the five women who said that Gideon had sexually assaulted them. The women accused Gideon of touching their breasts, genitals and anus. One woman said she passed out during her appointment and woke to find Gideon kissing her shoulder and rubbing her nipple.
Defense counsel Dennis Belli argued in his closing statement that the women’s testimony was mostly uncorroborated. He questioned the credibility of several of the patients, noting that one woman had mixed up the dates of her appointment with the doctor.
He also suggested that two of the women, who are friends, may have made up a story between them, and that the woman who passed out may have simply fallen asleep and was dreaming.
“This case and your verdict is the most important thing in my client’s life,” Belli told the jurors.
Gideon shook his head several times while prosecutors argued in favor of convictions. The female patients, who were allowed in the courtroom for closing arguments, appeared upset at several times during the defense arguments, especially as their credibility was questioned.
The trial was covered by Courier crime reporter Eileen McClory.