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Thomas Stetler

Thomas K. Stetler hypnotized and sexually assaulted two women, and both took the stand during his trial.

The women gave clear testimony, Kalkaska County Prosecutor Kirk Metzger said. But testifying wasn't easy, and the women still struggle with Stetler's actions, Metzger said.

"It's clearly taking a ... toll on them, still to this day," he said.

Jurors on Wednesday found Stetler, 55, guilty of two felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. They returned a verdict after about four hours of deliberation that began late Tuesday.

A sentencing date has not been set. Stetler likely will face a minimum of two or three years in prison, Metzger said, but that figure could vary depending on state sentencing guidelines.

Michigan State Police in September arrested Stetler, a physician assistant who ran Boardman Health & Wellness in South Boardman and also practiced part time at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center. The women told police Stetler sexually assaulted them while they were under hypnosis to quit smoking.

The victims' testimonies — combined with evidence gathered from Stetler's office that suggested he had an interest in erotic hypnosis — likely played a role in the jury's conviction, Metzger said.

Metzger hopes the conviction gives the women some relief.

"That's the goal: to serve the victims in this case," he said. "We're never going to be able to undo what happened, but we're trying to get a measure of justice for the victims."

Stetler's attorney, Jeffrey Slocombe of Suttons Bay, didn't return a call for comment.

Stetler is licensed by the state as a physician assistant and had no open, formal complaints against him, according to Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs records. State officials didn't return calls for comment about Stetler's licensing status.

The phone number at Boardman Heath and Wellness is disconnected. Kalkaska Memorial Heath Center suspended Stetler's privileges to work at the hospital when the charges were filed and won't reinstate them, spokeswoman Megan Daigh said.

Stetler wasn't an employee of the health center but practiced there on a part-time basis.

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