Fertility doctor gets no jail time for lying about using own sperm

Kelly Wilkinson,/The Indianapolis Star via AP

Kelly Wilkinson,/The Indianapolis Star via AP

An Indianapolis fertility doctor who reportedly told police he may have inseminated as many as 50 patients with his own semen without their knowledge or consent will see no jail time.

Dr. Donald Cline was given a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice.

According to Cline's attorney, Tracy Betz her client was only on trial for telling lies to the investigators and not for using his own sperm for inseminating women. Those children allege online genetic tests show he might be the father of 20 others.

Matt White and his mother, Liz White, said Cline deserved far greater punishment. "There's all of our mothers".

Court records say paternity tests indicate that Cline is likely the biological father of at least two of his patients' children.

Dr. Donald Cline, 77, is accused of fathering at least eight children with different women who came to his office in the 1970s and '80s for fertility treatment.

Cline, who retired in 2009, initially denied the allegations when he wrote to investigators, saying the women who filed the complaints were trying to slander him. On Thursday, he acknowledged that he had lied.

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"Out of fear I acted alone and foolishly lied", he said during the hearing with a sometimes shaky voice.

The twisted case spawned from consumer complaints that the doctor himself, not anonymous sperm donors, contributed sperm to fertilize eggs at Cline's fertility clinic.

The doctor walked out of the courtroom Thursday without speaking to reporters.

"His only remorse was being caught", said Julie Harmon, 35, who said she believed her mother's husband was her biological father until DNA tests linked her to numerous half-siblings fathered by Cline.

After the sentence was announced, Terry Curry, the Marion County Prosecutor said: "Not only did Cline abuse his position of complete trust with his patients, his decisions will have a lasting impact through generations of the impacted families". More people were still considering whether to undergo such tests, he said.

Jacoba Ballard, one of Cline's biological daughters, felt that Cline was not at all apologetic, reported Fox 59. According to this suspension, Cline would neither have to serve jail time nor will he be on probation. "The fact is our pain was not acknowledged".

"I feel like I've carried a bracelet for well over a year, as well as my son", she said.

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