By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
LIMA — The 3rd District Court of Appeals in Lima has reversed the convictions of a Bluffton doctor who was found guilty of three misdemeanor sex charges last year.
James Gideon, a former rheumatologist, was convicted of three counts of sexual imposition in April 2018 and sentenced by Judge Tammie Hursh to 180 days in jail, which was deferred because of an appeal. Gideon was found not guilty of two other counts.
Seven women accused Gideon of molesting them while they were his patients at Northwest Ohio Rheumatology. Two counts were dismissed, and Gideon went to trial in Lima Municipal Court on five charges.
In his appeal, Gideon argued that Lima Municipal Court made an error by denying his motion to suppress statements he made to Chad Yoakam, an investigator with the State Medical Board.
Gideon believed that he had to cooperate with Yoakam or his medical license would be in jeopardy.
Appeals Court Judge William Zimmerman wrote that “while there is nothing inherently wrong with Investigator Yoakam and law enforcement’s agreement to share information, the evidence in the record reveals that Investigator Yoakam exceeded statutorily permissible collaboration by taking demonstrable steps to coerce Gideon to provide him an incriminating, oral and written statement in reliance on Gideon’s duty to cooperate. In other words, Investigator Yoakam was posing as a ‘straw man’ to effectuate law enforcement’s criminal investigation.”
Yoakam recorded an interview with Gideon at Gideon’s office, which the doctor was unaware of. Gideon also didn’t realize the extent to which the state investigator was cooperating with Bluffton police.
“Moreover, Investigator Yoakam chose not to inform Gideon that he intended to share with law enforcement Gideon’s statements despite it being his intention to do so,” Zimmerman wrote.
“At the conclusion of the interview, instead of reporting back to the (medical) board, Investigator Yoakam immediately went to the Bluffton Police Department to report Gideon’s confessions to law enforcement,” Zimmerman wrote.
Judges John Willamowski and Stephen Shaw concurred with Zimmerman’s opinion, which was issued this week.
The case was remanded to Lima Municipal Court.
Multiple civil cases against Gideon have been filed in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Gideon’s medical license has been permanently revoked by the State Medical Board.