Sperm donor at heart of Canadian lawsuits admits he lied to company Xytex, police say
Sperm bank didn't investigate man's claim that he had the IQ of a genius, Ontario lawsuit alleges
An American who fathered more than 30 children through sperm donations, including at least seven 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.
Two lawsuits were also filed against Xytex in a B.C. court this summer in connection with this case.
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.
Families questioned donor's background
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.
Nancy Hersh, a U.S. lawyer representing one of the Canadian women, told CBC's As it Happens that Aggeles had falsified his history to Xytex.
"We were able to interview him during the time the first lawsuit was pending," she said.
A lawsuit one the Ontario families filed against Xytex 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.
"He said that when he went to sell his sperm, he was told by Xytex personnel that sperm from highly educated people with high IQs sells better," Hersh claims. "He then made up, created an education history that wasn't true.
"Xytex itself created his IQ that they put on his profile ... even higher than Einstein's."
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 have obtained.
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 plans defence
Hersh said mothers first became suspicious of Aggeles's history in 2014 after Xytex accidentally cc'd him in an email group chat set up by the company for mothers of the same donor.
"[The mothers] went to work, found out who he was, and found out everything they needed to know about him," she said.
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's information could not be verified for accuracy.
"It was very easy for my clients to Google Mr. Aggeles when they found his name," she said.
"After we advised them of the information ... they continued to deny that it was true," Hersh claims. "So they either didn't do their own due diligence ... or they were lying."
A lawyer for Xytex said Tuesday the company looks forward to "successfully defending itself."
Hersh wants litigation to lead to action and regulation in the industry.
"These are for-profit companies that make their money selling sperm and they have absolutely no incentive to do any background checks or any verification of anything as long as there's no regulation and there's no litigation," she said.
With files from CBC News