October 28, 2011
WAPAKONETA A St. Marys optometrist knew exactly what the guilty verdict against him Friday meant. I'll lose my license, Douglas J. Wine told one of his supporters as he walked out of the courtroom.The 52-year-old Wine also said he was unclear on what he will face at sentencing after a jury convicted him of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony that carries up to 18 months in prison.Judge Frederick Pepple of Auglaize County Common Pleas Court will decide Wine's fate in about a month. Under the new sentencing guidelines judges are supposed to try to avoid prison terms for lower level felonies. Wine, who operates Douglas Wine Family Optometry in St. Marys, also will be required to register as a sex offender, likely annually for 15 years.Wine showed no reaction when the verdicts were read after nearly 13 hours of deliberations, the first two acquitting him on charges of rape and sexual battery in an incident involving a 69-year-old woman in his home outside St. Marys two years ago. A conviction of rape would have put him in prison.Pepple allowed Wine to stay out of jail on bail but ordered he surrender his passport and not leave the state.After the verdict, Wine's attorney, H. Ritchey Hollenbaugh, said he was disappointed.We were confident it would be a not guilty verdict, Hollenbaugh said. No decision on whether to appeal has been made and Wine still has a pending criminal case that includes two more counts of rape, two counts of gross sexual imposition and two counts of sexual battery. The charges in that case carry a maximum prison sentence of 40 years. The indictment alleged the crimes occurred Sept. 1, 2003. Auglaize County Prosecutor Ed Pierce and officers would not talk about the pending case.Pierce said he was not disappointed by the verdict on a lesser charge.I'm satisfied, he said. Pierce said it was too early to say whether he would ask for a prison sentence in the case that just concluded. He said he wants to review Wine's background check and hear from the victim.In his closing argument, Pierce said the victim, a relative of Wine's who lives in Florida, awoke in October 2009 to find Wine next to her engaging in sexual conduct, but not sexual intercourse, with her while one of his children lay asleep in the bed next to the woman.The victim did not report the incident until more than a year after it happened.Hollenbaugh said the victim's story didn't add up because the woman said she yelled out repeatedly and no one ever heard her screams, including the child directly next to her.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.