INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A retired Indianapolis fertility doctor accused of inseminating patients with his own sperm will not face jail time after pleading guilty lying to investigators.
Dr. Donald Cline appeared in a Marion County court Thursday, where he faced two counts of obstruction of justice. He pleaded guilty on both counts, but his 365-day sentence was suspended by the judge.
The two counts will remain as felonies on his record.
“Not only did Dr. Cline abuse his position of complete trust with his patients, his decisions will have lasting impact through generations of the impacted families,” Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a statement. “There were significant limitations to how a criminal case could proceed against Dr. Cline, but ultimately he admitted to his actions and to intentionally misleading investigators.”
Prosecutors say the 79-year-old Cline initially wrote to investigators denying he used his own sperm, but admitted to using his own sperm samples 18 months later. The admission was recorded during a phone conversation with one of the people determined to be his child.
According to court records, paternity tests indicate Cline is likely the biological father of at least two of his patients' children. Those children allege online genetic tests show he might be the father of 20 others from patients in the 1970s and 1980s.
No other charges were filed against Cline because Indiana law doesn't specifically prohibit fertility doctors from using their own sperm.
Liz White, one of Cline's former fertility patients, wants a state law prohibiting it.
“I want accountability,” White said. “When someone has misled someone, particularly in the field of medicine, there is accountability to it. Second, I want a state statute so it becomes a crime, not an ethical issue.”
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