-LIMA — James Gideon, the Bluffton doctor accused of improperly touching his patients, was sentenced Friday morning in Lima Municipal Court to 180 days in the Allen County jail.
And even though his attorney, Dennis Belli, filed a notice of appeal and requested that Gideon remain free while the appeal process runs its course – a petition that was granted — the doctor did indeed still find himself behind bars by mid-afternoon Friday.
According to Lima City Prosecuting Attorney Nicole Smith, part of conditions imposed by Judge Tammie Hursch for Gideon to remain free pending appeal was that he post a $30,000 cash/surety bond. Smith said Belli was uncertain if that money could be raised.
Gideon, the 72-year-old rheumatology and internal medicine physician who operated an office in Bluffton, was found guilty by a municipal court jury on April 21 of three counts of sexual imposition, third-degree misdemeanors.
Hursch sentenced Gideon to 60 days in jail and fined him $500 on each of the counts and ordered the jail time to be served consecutively. He was also labeled a Tier I sex offender and will be required to register with the sheriff in his county of residence annually for the next 15 years.
Three additional sexual imposition charges, each based on complaints from three other female patients, were dismissed during the trial. A total of six women approached Bluffton police with their stories of being fondled and inappropriately touched during otherwise routine visits to Gideon’s office in the spring and summer of 2017.
Gideon’s attorney Dennis Belli said at the time the verdicts were delivered that an appeal would be filed.
“There are a number of issues. One of the more significant issues is the admission of the recording of the State Medical Board’s interrogation of Dr. Gideon at his office. … We believe it was an improper use of the investigator’s authority for the medical board to coerce the doctor into making statements that are not accurate. We believe he was manipulated, and we view that as a significant issue for the appellate court,” Belli said.