Michigan lawmaker sentenced to probation for inappropriately touching nurse

Michigan state Sen. John Bizon of Battle Creek

A Michigan lawmaker was sentenced to a year of probation Wednesday for inappropriately touching a nurse practitioner while seeking treatment for COVID-19.

State Sen. John Bizon, a Battle Creek Republican, also must pay $1,130 in court costs and fines, complete a mental health treatment program and have no contact with the victim. He had pleaded guilty to battery, a misdemeanor.

The incident occurred in August at After Hours Express, an urgent care facility in Marshall.

The nurse said Bizon, a 70-year-old retired physician, questioned her guidance on treating his COVID-19 symptoms. As she talked about the recommended over-the-counter medicine, he pulled her closer, squeezed her waist with a cupping motion and told her he was an otolaryngologist, according to the police report. Bizon, who became angry when she refused to prescribe a different medication he wanted, repeatedly said he was disappointed in her and left.

The victim told police that when she told a female medical assistant what Bizon had done, the assistant said he had also touched her when she took his vitals and had made inappropriate comments.

In court Wednesday, the victim said Bizon had tried to "tried to bully, coerce and intimidate me to practice quack medicine because he believed in conspiracy theories. ... Mr. Bizon, I forgive you, but I hope we both never forget."

Bizon said in a written statement last month that the situation was "regrettable." He said he was distressed that he had unintentionally caused someone to feel unsafe, saying he had not behaved like normal because he was "very sick" at the time.

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Bizon, who is in his first Senate term after serving four years in the House, will not face legislative discipline. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has said Bizon took responsibility for his actions.

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said Bizon should be disciplined further. GOP leaders, she said, should "stop being quiet and start denouncing — and take action to stop — the persistent and abhorrent behavior from inside their ranks."