Content Statement Analysis: Donald L. Cline
By Laurie Ayers
UPDATE: Over a year later and the verdict is in: Fertility doctor who lied about using his own sperm avoids jail time
at CBS News. was given a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. Read the latest information about this case
Original Analysis date: September 12, 2016
Updated with verdict: December 15, 2017
Fertility doctor accused of using own sperm to inseminate patients
A fertility doctor accused of using his own sperm to inseminate patients is facing felony charges. You can read the story here. At this point he has been charged, but not convicted.
Below is my content statement analysis using Cline’s own words, as provided in the news story.
Listen to see if he is giving a true denial. If someone says anything other than “I didn’t do it”, they’re most likely denying, as in refusing to accept, the act. Yet, refusing to accept is not saying they didn’t do it.
In deception detection the shortest sentence is the best sentence. If a sentence is still grammatically correct after removing extra words, then it’s important to look closer at the extra words.
“I can emphatically say that at no time did I ever use my own sample for insemination,” Cline wrote in the letter.
He can emphatically say – Emphatically is a qualifying word. Qualifying words are often used to make the story sound believable. It’s an overreach. Emphatically means without a doubt. But in order for him to include that word, there was a doubt in his mind that he’d be believed.
Also he is saying/stating that he can say, so we know that his mouth is capable of saying. But that is not the same as saying “I didn’t do it.” He’s just telling us that he is able to speak/state.
At no time did I ever use my own – The phrase “at no time” is an unusual phrase. Technically, there is no such thing as “no time.” The shortest sentence is the best sentence; “I didn’t use my own sample for insemination.”
With his use of “at no time did I ever” it appears he is trying to say he never did. The word “never” does not mean “no.” Therefore, you cannot substitute the word “never” for the word “no.” However, deceptive people will sometimes use the word “never” when making a denial.
His sentence above: “I can emphatically say that at no time did I ever use my own sample for insemination,” is in response to the charge that he used his own sperm to inseminate patients. Did you do it? It’s a yes or no question. Never does not mean no.
“I followed suggested guidelines of the period,” Cline wrote, according to court records. “I also did nothing morally or legally wrong.”
I also did nothing morally or legally wrong. What’s moral to one person may not be to another. It’s subjective. He’s been charged with a crime, so someone thought there was enough legally wrong to charge him. Regardless, stating he did nothing wrong is not the same as saying “I didn’t do it.”
Cline surrendered to the court during an initial hearing. He was released on his own recognizance. The next scheduled hearing is 17 Oct.
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