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The Serial Rapist Who Never Had Sex.

by Shauna Mullen about a month ago in guilty
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Dr. Donald Cline and the stories of his "children."

Dr Cline

Dr. Donald Cline was a well-known fertility doctor throughout the 70’s and 80’s in the Indianapolis area of America. Opening his own clinic in 1979, he would use “donors” which consisted of medical residents or students from the hospital across the street. Unlike today, the technology for keeping specimens viable was not as advanced and the criteria for a donor would be picked out of a notebook by the client. Jan Shore, Dr. Cline’s former nurse, describes how she would go to the hospital to pick up fresh specimens and keep them in her bra when transporting them back to the clinic because they had to be kept at body temperature for them to still be viable after the trip back.

Donald Cline

Cline helped many clients with their infertility issues. In 1979, at the age of 20/21, Debbie Pierce visited his clinic to be artificially inseminated because her husband was infertile. They were promised the donor would look as close to her husband as they could offer. The clinic had explained they don’t use the same donor more than three times as it could cause problems in the geographical area with accidental incest. Debbie gave birth to a baby girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, even though her husband and herself had dark hair and brown eyes, name Jacoba.

Since the age of 10, Jacoba knew that she was a product of artificial insemination as she would constantly question her mother on whether she was adopted due to her looking so different from her parents. She was an only child but longed for siblings, she knew there was a chance there could be one or two half siblings out there and in 1999, commercial DNA testing was not around however she knew Donna had gone to Dr. Cline to get pregnant so she called his office to ask for a donor number or her mother’s medical records so she could find some identifiable information on who her biological father was. Dr. Donald Cline was described as being cold and had no empathy. He explained there was no way Jacoba could ever get the information of the donor as her mother’s medical records were destroyed. Disappointed, Jacoba stopped her search for now. She moved on with her life, got married and had children of her own.

Jacoba Ballard

In 2014, a DNA testing company, 23andMe, was being regularly advertised on the TV. At the age of 35, Jacoba decided to take a test and start the search for siblings again. Her results were confusing as it came back with Jacoba being related to 7 siblings. After reaching out to her newly found family and finding they were also conceived using a sperm donor, the 8 of them started investigating to find out who their biological father was and luckily, all of them came back registered as having a second cousin called Sylvia Pauckner. Jacoba reached out to Sylvia via Facebook. Once explaining her and her sibling's situation, Sylvia provided a list of names that were in her family in hopes it would further their search and find their father. The last name Swinford was found on the list which was Dr. Donald Cline’s mother’s maiden name. When Jacoba realised, she asked Sylvia about the name Cline and she confirmed she had a cousin called Don Cline and he was a doctor.

Jacoba immediately filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office in Indiana about Donald Cline as it was clear he’d used his own specimen for at least 8 people by this point which was a clear violation of his medical practices. Unfortunately, she received a generic “Investigation pending” email and her phone calls were not being returned. Realising nothing would be done about this, she tried reaching out to every news outlet she could think of to try and make it public so she could force an investigation to be done. However, nobody wanted to pick up the story and she found herself at another dead end. This was until February 2015, Jacoba messaged Angela Ganote who was a journalist with FOX59 news.

Angela Ganote

Upon looking through Jacoba’s message, Angela was not only shocked by the story but convinced by the evidence she had already discovered. She agreed to investigate further. When Angela reached out to Dr. Cline for initial comment, he denied being the father to any of the children of his clients. He assured her that he only used specimens from Doctor’s in training and there was no way possible that there’d be more than 3 siblings from the same donor. Angela asked Donald for a DNA test to put any suspicions to bed and refused before quickly ending the phone call. Not long after, she received an email from Dr. Cline stating that her investigation could violate HIPAA laws and that if she continues, she will be sued, he also told her to “be careful.”

HIPAA laws are a series of federal regulatory standards that outline the lawful use and disclosure of protected health information in the United States.

Unfortunately, this meant that when Angela ran her first story on this case, she couldn’t legally use Dr. Cline’s name as there was not enough evidence and she could easily have been prosecuted for defamation. After the story aired, one of Jacoba’s half siblings took it upon themselves to message all of Cline’s children and grandchildren, who were over the age of 18, questioning them on whether anyone in their family had ever been a sperm donor. After a couple weeks, Dr. Cline’s son actually reached out to Jacoba and arranged to meet up. Doug and Donna were Cline’s children with his wife, they both arrived at the meeting with Jacoba and admitted their father told them he had used his own sperm with some of his clients when he couldn’t find a suitable donor, however they assured Jacoba the number was no more than 10.

Donald Cline called Jacoba personally and stated his irritation with FOX59 investigating the situation and said “the world doesn’t need to know.” Luckily, Jacoba recorded the entire phone conversation where Cline blamed Jacoba for ruining his life if she carried on giving information to the station.

Julie Harmon was watching the news and saw Jacoba explaining the situation they found themselves in. Jokingly, her husband made a comment how they looked alike and worry set in as she knew her mother had gone to Dr. Cline to be artificially inseminated too. Julie called her mother and asked whether it would be worth taking a DNA test and was met with the answer “no.” Dianna Kiesler, Julie’s mother, visited Dr. Cline as she was having problems with her fertility. She vividly remembers carrying her husband's specimen to the clinic and was artificially inseminated within the hour. Both times she had the procedure done with Dr. Cline, her husband had provided a sample which was to be used. However, Julie felt something was off and decided to message Jacoba, the only way to know for sure was to have a DNA test done and if Jacoba showed as a close relative, they would know with certainty if her father's sample was actually used. The results were less than desired. Jacoba appeared in her results as a half sibling and Julie’s world came crashing down. Dianna had the heart-wrenching job of telling her husband the awful news that Julie was not biologically his and that the doctor they went to abused his position and inseminated her with his own sample. Dianna describes the heartbreak of her husband and said she will never forget the words he said;

“He’s taken everything away from me.”

After finding more than 10 siblings, Doug set up a meeting with his father so Jacoba and 5 other siblings could question him, since Donna and Doug had promised the number would be no greater than 10. The meeting was set up in a local café and when Dr. Cline arrived, he had a gun strapped to his hip which was clearly visible. Jacoba explained that she thought this was an intimidation tactic. After sitting down, Dr. Cline went round the table one by one asking everybody their names, age and what they did for a living almost as if he was ranking them to see which one of his offspring had the best life. When one of the siblings asked why he did it, he admitted that he wanted to help his clients that were so desperate for a child and there would be no more than 15 siblings.

By this point, over 50 siblings had been found which was unsettling because they all lived in the same small community. In fact, most of them lived within a 25mile radius of each other with some of them only living minutes away from Dr. Donald Cline.

After many more DNA tests, many more siblings were found and Jacoba knew something had to be done. When she received another email from the Attorney General’s office, she did her due diligence and searched everyone connected to the email including the sender. After finding an email attached with a “quiverfull” address, she decided to investigate further. Quiverfull is a Christian cult aimed at having as many children as possible. Jermiah 1:5, Donald Cline’s self-proclaimed favourite scripture, was the motto or basis for this group.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,

Before you were born, I set you apart,

I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” - Jerimiah 1:5

Around the time all of the siblings were conceived, the main objective was to produce as many white babies as possible due to an incoherent fear that the white race was dying out. Looking at most of the found siblings, they all fit into a description of an Arian clan. Blonde hair with blue eyes.

As the Attorney Generals’ office still weren’t investigating, Angela Ganote stayed on the story. A year after her original story went live, she decided it was time to break the full story and contacted Donald Cline for an interview to finally tell the truth before it hit the news. He agreed to a conversation as long as there were no cameras or microphones around, he refused the invitation to go to the news station so they decided to meet at a restaurant not too far away. Angela was nervous to meet these demands as it was a known fact Cline carried a firearm with him and he was desperate for the truth to stay hidden. When arriving at the restaurant, Cline asked immediately if the venue allowed guns indoors, this is when Angela noticed a bulge under his sweater which is thought to be a firearm. Cline carried on with his intimidation tactics by mentioning that he knew where she lived and where she was from. During the hour-long interaction, Donald Cline was begging with Angela to not air the story and drop it as it would end his 57-yearlong marriage and would greatly hurt his church he was elder at.

Donald Cline was very integrated with his community and was one of the seven elders at his local church. They would hold baptisms at his house in his swimming pool, his wife and him were the church’s marriage counsellors and he would also run the Sunday sermon. In 1963. Donald Cline was driving his car when a little girl bolted out into the road, giving Dr. Cline no time to break and he regrettably hit her. The girl ended up dying from her injuries and this is the moment he says he found God.

After this interview with Angela, strange happenings were occurring to the siblings. One day Jacoba noticed all the Lugnuts on all 4 of her tires had been removed, luckily, she noticed before she got in the car and drove away. Another siblings PC was hacked and all the information she’d collected on Cline in a google drive had been erased including any email correspondents mentioning his name. Another sibling started getting harassing phone calls from the local cemetery asking if she’d like to buy a plot to be buried in. Angela Ganote carried on investigating and even contacted the Attorney General’s office herself but no avail. Finally, she reached out to the Marion County prosecutor and complained that nobody was listening, this was when it was picked up. Tim Delaney, Former MC prosecutor, stated when they got the media inquiry there had been no formal investigation done yet as they weren’t sure what crime Donald Cline’s actions fell under. It couldn’t legally fall under rape even though it was a sexual violation as it had to have force and non-consent. It couldn’t be battery as they were willingly getting inseminated to get pregnant.

However, in the interview with Angela, Donald Cline admitted that the Attorney General’s office had contacted him through paperwork asking about the complaints Jacoba had raised. Cline admitted he wrote a letter back stating he was not the biological father of Jacoba nor any other Clients children as he never used his own sample. He even went as far in the letter to accuse Jacoba or libel and/or slander. This was when Tim Delaney and Angela Ganote worked together and sent off evidence to the Attorney General’s office that he had lied in a legal statement. Tim ended up securing a warrant for obtaining Donald Cline’s DNA to confirm whether he was Jacoba’s biological parent. The results came back as a 99.997% match.

Tim Delaney brought 2 felony counts of obstruction of Justice by producing a false document which Cline pleaded guilty too so no more information would be revealed at the trial. During his court hearing, every sibling present said he looked weak and frail which they thought was another act to gain lenience from the judge. Jacoba was allowed to give a victim-impact statement as she was the original complainant in the case. She’d hoped after hearing her siblings and her own story that the judge would give him jail time. However, Donald Cline and his lawyers had provided multiple letters from members of his community stating about his good character. This included a letter belonging to a prosecutor from his original hometown in Boone County. When giving the sentencing, the judge seemed sympathetic towards Donald Cline and was even described as “being on the edge of tears.” Dr. Cline got no jail time even though he was convicted of 2 level 6 felonies, he was ordered to pay $500 in court fines with a suspended sentence.

People in his community still share their support for him to his day. Currently, the number of siblings is at 94 and they are not surprised that more could be out there.

Every named sibling and their story:

Jacoba Ballard

Debbie Pierce, Jacoba’s mother, went to Dr. Cline as her husband was having fertility issues. Jacoba was the first one to find something was wrong.

Jacoba Ballard

Julie Harmon

Julie Harmon was watching the news and saw Jacoba explaining her story. Her husband made a comment jokingly stating that they looked like each other. Julie called her mother and asked if it was worth getting a DNA test as she knew her mother went to a fertility doctor when she was conceived. Initially, her mother convinced her that it wasn’t needed as she had provided a sample for the doctor to use.

Dianna Kiesler was another patient of Dr. Donald Cline as she was having problems with her fertility. She vividly remembers carrying her own husband's specimen to the clinic and being inseminated within the hour as it had to be done right away for the sample to still be viable. Both times she visited Dr. Cline; she knew her husband's sample was provided which convinced herself and Julie that a DNA test was not needed. However, Julie couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right and contacted Jacoba who explained the only way to know for sure is to get a DNA test and if Jacoba shows up as a close relative, they would know for certainty that Dianna’s husbands' sample was not used. The results showed that Jacoba was a half sibling which caused Julie’s world to crumble around her. Dianna had the heart wrenching responsibility to tell her husband that Julie wasn’t his and the doctor they had trusted used his own specimen. Dianna remembers her husband's first words after finding out the truth

“He has taken everything from me.”

Julie was the sibling that had her PC hacked into and everything on Donald Cline deleted.

Julie Harmon (right) Jacoba Ballard (left) Matt White (middle)

Matt White

Liz White went to Dr. Donald Cline as her husband was having infertility problems. She explains that every time she had an appointment with Cline, no matter what time of the week or day, she was always alone with him. She expressed that no nurse’s or other doctors were ever around. Liz describes being led to a medical examination room by Dr. Cline and whilst she was undressing to change into the gown and lie down to put her legs in the stirrups, he would leave the room under the excuse of getting a sample from a donor. She now knows that he was leaving to masturbate and collect a sample of his own before entering the room to inseminate her with what he’d just produced. When Matt got his DNA test back, Liz’s first words were;

“I was raped 15 times and I didn’t even know it.”

Matt White

Liz White

Heather Woock

Heather Woock’s husband got her a DNA test as a gift. Not long after taking the results, she received a message from Jacoba stating they were related. Heather took a couple of months to get back to Jacoba as she was confused and upset. She didn’t know her parents had infertility problems when she was conceived and she was devastated to find out the man who raised her was not her biological father.

Heather Woock

Lisa Shepherd-Stidman

Lisa Shepherd-Stidman got a DNA test for Christmas. She was obviously confused when a lot of random names popped up stating they were close family. She thought nothing on it as she didn’t even make the connection that close family could mean siblings and she just figured they were distant cousins of some sort. However, Julie Harmon knew Lisa as their daughters played basketball together and Lisa’s husband was the coach for the school team. Julie messaged Lisa and explained the situation which again, turned Lisa’s world upside down. Lisa asked her mother if the fertility doctor she went to was named Dr. Cline and her mother assured her that Lisa’s father provided a sample both times and was even in the room for the insemination. They had no idea Dr. Cline didn’t use the specimen they provided to him.

Lisa Shepherd-Stidman

Jason Hyatt

Jason Hyatt took a DNA test because he was suspicious there was some sort of infidelity in his family as he was the only one in his family with blonde hair and blue eyes. His work colleague informed him that his ancestry should only come back with 10-15 hits. When Jason got his results back, he had over 3000 hits and was shocked. Jacoba message Jason and explained his results as she did with every new sibling that would come up on ancestry.com. The two of them ended up meeting and becoming very close.

Jason Hyatt

Carrie Foster

Carrie Foster’s parents had only one specification when picking a donor. They wanted a healthy baby. Donald Cline used his own sample for them too and unfortunately, he wasn’t healthy. He had Rheumatica Arthritis which he was on heavy medication to subside the effects. This, in turn, affected every offspring he created causing all, if not most, of the children to have some sort of autoimmune disorder or health problem. These consisted of blood clotting disorders and digestive/colon issues.

Carrie Foster

Alison Kramer

Alison Kramer’s story is unique to the others as she has a twin sister. She decided to get a DNA test done as her children and herself were diagnosed with a genetic disorder. She dismissed the results with all the other siblings' names and figured it was wrong. She was watching TV on December 9th 2019 and a Dr. Phil show had aired with Jacoba and some of the other siblings. When Alison double checked her ancestry tree and saw the names of all the siblings on the show on her family tree, she knew what the results finally meant.

Alison Kramer

Her parents, Shereen and Mark Farber, were not only patients of Dr. Donald Cline but his friends. Shereen says that Cline took her case very personally and even went as far to deliver the babies himself. He regularly visited the children with his wife and there is even a photograph of 8-month-old Alison Kramer being held by Donald Cline in her childhood home. This story goes even further as for 2 years Dr. Donald Cline was also Alison’s fertility doctor and her main gynaecologist. He carried out PAP and breast exams on her with the knowledge she was his daughter whilst she was none the wiser.

Shereen and Mark Farber

For more information on this case, watch Our Father on netflix.

For more true crime stories:

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About the author

Shauna Mullen

I like to write about true crime and do small investigations. I also write fiction sometimes

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