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U.S. sperm donor at centre of Canadian lawsuits admits to false info: police
Published Tuesday, August 30, 2016 11:24AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, August 30, 2016 3:11PM EDT
An American who fathered more than 30 children through sperm donations, including at least three in Canada, has admitted he lied to a sperm bank about his background, police said.
Police in Georgia say James Christian "Chris" Aggeles showed up at a police station in Athens-Clarke County last week, saying he wanted to turn himself in.
"I was contacted about a male in the police parking lot that said he had committed a fraud," Det. Brigitte Menzel wrote in the report. "He informed me that he had falsified paperwork for a sperm bank, Xytex."
Aggeles is at the centre of multiple lawsuits against the Georgia-based sperm bank Xytex Corp., including three suits from Ontario families that allege they were misled about their sperm donor's medical and social history, which they claim included a criminal record and a mental illness.
Menzel's report said Aggeles told her he "was not truthful" about his college degree status, and about some other information which was redacted in the report obtained by The Canadian Press.
"Aggeles said that I could 'Google' his name and there would be ample information available," Menzel wrote. "It is unclear if Xytex has or is going to file a report against Aggeles."
Menzel noted that the case was "information only" at the time, which means no charges have been laid against Aggeles.
A lawyer for Xytex said the company currently has no comment on the information in the police report.
Earlier this year, in statements of claim filed in a Newmarket, Ont., court, three families alleged Aggeles lied about his mental health history and his education -- which included a claim about working towards a PhD in neuroscience engineering -- when he filled out a Xytex questionnaire, but was never questioned by anyone at Xytex.
The families all allege Aggeles was promoted as a highly educated, healthy and popular donor.
But in reality, the documents alleged, Aggeles had in fact been diagnosed with schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder, had spent time behind bars for a residential burglary and did not have the degrees he claimed to obtain.
The statements of claim alleged Xytex failed to properly investigate the donor's education claims and his medical history, and misrepresented him to customers, including suggesting he had the IQ level of a genius.
The allegations in the lawsuits, which involve families from Port Hope, Ont., Ottawa and Haileybury, Ont., have not been proven in court.
Xytex has said Aggeles was interviewed about his health, indicated he had no physical or mental impairments, and underwent a standard medical exam.
The company said it made it clear to the families that Aggeles' information could not be verified for accuracy.
But Angela Collins, who along with Margaret Elizabeth Hanson is the one of the Ontario couples taking action against Xytex, said Aggeles' admission to police highlighted the issues with Xytex's verification process.
"We (the parents) verified our own findings regarding the donor two years ago, so I'm not shocked at what he has admitted to doing," she said. "It should be obvious by now that the 'honour system' is a highly ineffective way to verify information."
A separate lawsuit Collins and Hanson filed against Zytex in the U.S. was dismissed last year.
In that case, a judge said that while the lawsuit claimed fraud, negligence and product liability, it is "rooted in the concept of wrongful birth," which isn't recognized under Georgia law.
A lawyer for Xytex said Tuesday the company looks forward to "successfully defending itself."