When the woman awakened at the Georgetown Hypnosis Clinic, she remembers finding herself naked and watching her hypnotist, also naked, fixing a drink.
The hypnotherapist, an FBI affidavit says, later described the sex they had and told her it was a "nontraditional" part of her therapy for stress. He offered suggestions on what to wear to her next appointment.
Sheldon Jerome Fox, 67, appeared in D.C. Superior Court for arraignment on Thursday after being charged with sexual abuse. After pleading not guilty, he was released on $100,000 bond and ordered to have no contact with current or former clients.
Fox's client went to the clinic at the Latham Hotel at 3000 M St. NW because she wanted help with insomnia and stress. After the first uneventful session, she paid for three appointments in all.
At the second session, Feb. 27, the woman felt drugged, the affidavit states, after Fox gave her a drink of ginger ale and ice. Hypnotherapy was not new to the woman, but the hypnotic trance was unlike any other she had experienced, and she remembered almost nothing afterward, according to the affidavit.
When she awakened, Fox asked her to be his lover, tried to kiss her and offered to take nude photographs of her, the affidavit alleges. She refused.
The next time the woman spoke with Fox, by telephone, investigators from the FBI and D.C. police were listening. They recorded the conversation.
Fox told the woman, according to the affidavit, that he believed she was awake during the session -- an assertion she strenuously denied -- and he detailed various sexual acts he performed. He described the treatment as "unorthodox" and implied that he provided it to other clients.
Prosecutors called it rape.
Fox, identified in court documents as married with four children, declined to comment after court. He asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy J. Conway if he could continue treating groups of clients, some as large as 40, while awaiting trial.
Conway told him the conditions of his release prohibit contact with any client, except to cancel appointments. Judge Tim Murphy also ordered Fox to surrender his passport within 24 hours. The investigation of Fox is continuing, and police and prosecutors ask anyone with information to call 202-727-4127. They said officers would be available to speak with callers from 7 a.m. to midnight.