DENVER (CBS4) – As accusations mount against a former Grand Junction doctor accused of using his own sperm to impregnate women, state lawmakers are stepping in. CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass first broke the story about Paul B. Jones last year.
Now, a bill at the State Capitol would make the knowing misuse of eggs or sperm a felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison.
It would also create a new civil penalty that allows not just moms, but kids and spouses to sue for damages.
Sheryl Emmons says she’s one of the women who was victimized.
“I feel used and dirty even after all this time,” Emmons told lawmakers she went to OB-GYN Paul Jones for help conceiving both of her daughters only to learn, decades later, he impregnated her, both times, with his own sperm. She says she’s not the only victim.
“I am confirmed one of 14 donor-conceived siblings,” said Emmons older daughter Maia Emmons-Boring. She went on Ancestry.com a year ago and started getting messages from people claiming to be her half brothers and sisters.
The one thing they all had in common, she says, is that their mothers had gone to Jones for artificial insemination.
“He said would be medical student in area that would give the donations. My mom didn’t think her doctor would be the donor,” Emmons-Boring says.
She says she was stunned to learn she had a family she didn’t even know about.
“There’s a lot of pieces of you running around the country.”
She was stunned again, she says, when she learned it’s not illegal for a doctor to use their own sperm without telling a patient.
“Our cases fall through cracks. There’s no law that we really fit into,” Maia said.
“This is repugnant behavior. It’s an incredible invasion of trust and privacy. We need criminal statutes to reflect how we feel about this behavior,” said Rep. Kerry Tipper.
She and Rep. Janice Rich are sponsors of the bill that would only apply to cases going forward. Sheryl Emmons says she’s speaking out to protect others.
“So many memories have turned dark and ugly. I ask you sincerely, please pass this bill.”
Emmons is now suing her former doctor for civil damages, while her daughter has formed a private Facebook page to get to know her half siblings.
Lawmakers are considering amending the legislation to make sure a convicted health care provider loses his or her license. Jones surrendered his, after practicing over three decades in Grand Junction.
The bill passed its first committee unanimously with no opposition.