Man Sues Over Stolen Sperm
Man Sues Over Stolen Sperm
It's lawsuit time!
By Craig Malisow
Hair Balls is familiar with people stealing cars, money and jewelry, but a civil suit filed Monday alleges the theft of perhaps an even more precious commodity: semen.
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UCF Knights Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. Florida Atlantic University Owls Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 5, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulane University Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 12, 11:00am
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Louisville Cardinals College Football
TicketsThu., Nov. 17, 7:00pm
Joe Pressil is accusing a Houston fertility clinic, Advanced Fertility, of accepting a semen sample from a woman claiming to be his wife in 2007, and, without his knowledge or consent, performing "in vitro fertilization which resulted in the birth of twins." Pressil, who recently moved to New York, has also sued Omni-Med, the clinic's in-house sperm bank that he says is essentially holding the remaining frozen semen hostage. The whole mess has caused mental anguish and "economic harm due to substantial child support payments," according to the suit.
Confused? So were we. Fortunately, Pressil's attorney, Jason Gibson, filled us in: He says Pressil started a relationship with a woman who later claimed to be his common-law wife, around 2005. (She's identified as Anetria Pressil in a 2010 custody case). Three months after they broke up in 2007, Gibson says, she told him she was pregnant — with his progeny. Pressil didn't believe her until a paternity test backed up her story. Pressil let Anetria and the twin boys stay at his home, and he agreed to pay child support, Gibson says.
But in February 2011, "Pressil found a receipt from Omni-Med for cryopreservation of a sperm sample," according to the suit. Pressil called Omni-Med, which punted him to Advanced Fertility, which eventually told him the story about his "wife" coming in with the semen. (Heh..."coming in"....)
Gibson says Anetria surreptitiously smuggled the spunk by saving the condoms that had been used. He says Advanced Fertility and Omni-Care had a duty to notify him that they a) had his sperm and b) used it to knock up some lady. Anetria got pregnant only to squeeze more money — and the house — out of Pressil, Gibson says.
Pressil was charged in February for allegedly assaulting Anetria in 2010 and has agreed to a "pre-trial intervention," whereby prosecutors can dismiss the charge if he doesn't get into trouble for the next year.
According to Anetria's December 2010 affidavit, the alleged incident occurred on the evening of the twins' birthday, when she found a text from a "lady friend" in New York, and "obscene, nude" pictures from her and other women. They argued; she tried to kick him out of the house, but Pressil "punched me in the face, choked me and proceeded to drag me across the room."
We asked Gibson about the assault allegations; he said Pressil told him the charge had been dismissed. Gibson said Pressil would call us, but we haven't heard from him.
We haven't been able to reach Anetria for comment; we also have a call in to Advanced Fertility. We're also freaked the hell out.
Two Very Different Sex-Offender Sentences
By John Nova Lomax
Is the Texas justice system simply a crapshoot? Is there still an enormous double standard when it comes to sex crimes? Or has Jerry Sandusky cast a huge shadow over future sentences for all those convicted of sex crimes against children?
Awhile back we introduced you to the tale of Clifton Grasham-Reeves, an actor and former English teacher at a Waco charter school. Grasham-Reeves was accused of seducing a 16-year-old girl he met while the two worked on a community theater play, and of having sex with her approximately four times. He was charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child by contact.
Last month, just as the nation was gripped in the maw of the Penn State pedophilia scandal, the gavel came down on Grasham-Reeves. And man did that wooden mallet come down hard. Grasham-Reeves, a married father of an infant boy, was convicted. Despite a tearful plea for leniency, and a hitherto-clean criminal record, he was sentenced to 90 years behind bars. (The jury recommended the max 20 years on each count of sexual assault of a child and five years for the indecency charges; the judge accepted their advice and then ordered the sentences stacked.)
Right now Grasham-Reeves's parole officer is probably not even a twinkle in anyone's eye. He will not become eligible for parole until 2056. He will be 77 years old.
Earlier in November, 45 miles from Waco down I-35 in Belton, 31-year-old former teacher Kaci Suzanne Pomerenke was in court on similar charges.
She pleaded guilty to having an improper relationship with a 14-year-old student. It's a lesser charge, but she did pretty much the same thing. Specifically, she confessed that she had sex with the boy in her car on three different occasions.
Three days in jail and seven years probation. Should he live to be 121 and serve out all his time, Grasham-Reeves will be punished ten thousand times more severely. (We're aware that doesn't account for Pomerenke's probation, which can be onerous but beats prison any day.)
Now, there are some mitigating factors. Grasham-Reeves once worked for CPS, and a woman who trained him there testified at his trial that she had to warn him against spending too much time alone with a ten-year-old girl, as she believed that an inappropriate bond was forming between the two. (Investigators have interviewed all the children Grasham-Reeves worked with during his nine months at the agency and none said that he abused them.)
Also, it was previously reported that Grasham-Reeves gave his victim alcohol and told her to sneak out her window and come over while his wife was away. Those facts make him seem even more coercive and more of a sleaze.
And whereas Pomerenke confessed to everything and pleaded guilty, Grasham-Reeves took his case to trial and lost. He might well have been offered a deal at some point and instead rolled the dice and come up snake-eyes.
But still — 90 years on a first offense?
Years ago I watched famed rapper Carlos Coy, a.k.a. South Park Mexican, get half that much time after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl. During the punishment phase, the prosecution brought forth at least five other minors who claimed to have had sex with SPM, and one of them had very compelling evidence in the form of a genetically certified little South Park Mexican Jr.
So once again, was Grasham-Reeves's sentence just the luck of the draw, a sexual double standard or should Grasham-Reeves be cursing Jerry Sandusky's name for all eternity?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.