This is an update on a story Theodoros & Rooth has been following since September of 2016. At that time we reported on a claim that Indianapolis fertility doctor Donald Cline, then 78, used his own sperm to impregnate patients. It was later revealed that Cline used his own sperm at least 50 times, leading to at least 46 children over many years.
Cline originally pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. He later appeared in court in December (2017) for a change of plea hearing. He then pleaded guilty to obstruction in the case. He was sentenced to 365 days, all of which were suspended. Besides serving no jail time, he also was not ordered to be on probation, though he will still have a felony conviction on his record. Cline could have faced the maximum sentencing of five years for two counts of obstruction.
"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," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry stated after the sentence was announced. "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."
Fast forward to 2019.
As reported by WTHR-TV (Channel 13/Indianapolis) this week, patients of Dr. Cline are now working with state lawmakers to get new criminal and civil penalties on the books to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening to anyone else. A bill now pushing for penalties in such cases passed out of committee Wednesday.
"It's a great day,” said Liz White, who was a patient of Dr. Cline and has a grown son that is Dr. Cline’s biological son.
The only problem, according to the WTHR report, is that the criminal penalties Cline’s patients were fighting for were stripped out of the bill. Senator Mike Young asked the committee to remove criminal penalties from this bill because he says there are nine laws on the books that cover fertility fraud. He says the civil penalties remain. Senator Young also said these crimes by Dr. Cline, now being over 30 years old, with no witnesses, and no contract is difficult for prosecutors to prove.
The bill is headed to the Senate floor for second amendments.
Theodoros & Rooth will continue to follow this case.
While there are no charges, thus far, that the patients of Dr. Cline were victims of malpractice, Theodoros & Rooth want to reiterate that we would like to know about any case of suspected mistreatment or deception by anyone in the medical field. If you have any information in this area, please contact us immediately. We will determine if you have a case and, if so, will fight aggressively for your due justice.