06 October 2014
ByAppeared in BioNews 774
A university professor who offered private 'insemination services' has been sentenced to a nine-month suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a woman.
Professor Gennadij Raivich, 52, a perinatal neuroscientist at University College London, was found guilty of the assault in July of this year. He was found not guilty of a further eight alleged counts of sexual assault on two other women.
The assault took place in November 2012. The victim who hoped to become pregnant had made contact with Raivich through a sperm donation website where Raivich advertised his services under the pseudonym 'Frank Qualman'.
During the trial, the court was told that the complainant had been denied NHS fertility treatment and was unable to afford private fertility treatment through a clinic.
The assault took place in Raivich's London home. The victim had agreed to participate in 'artificial insemination-plus' - a term coined by Raivich to describe the recipient of the sperm stimulating the donor. However, although she consented to oral sex for this, she had not consented to being touched by him.
Judge Deva Pillay, who sentenced Raivich, found that he 'made it plain to [the complainant] that if she did not provide AI-plus she would not receive a donation of sperm and therefore she agreed to do so'.
'I find there was a breach of trust here and the complainant was a vulnerable woman in that she was desperate to conceive'.
'There were also elements of exploitation, [Raivich] implying [he was] a registered medical practitioner within the jurisdiction'.
'Having regard to the fact the complainant consented to oral sex and having regard to the loss of [Raivich's] reputation and employment in my judgement I am able to suspend the sentence'.
Raivich was also ordered to pay £5,000 costs and he will remain on the Sex Offenders' Register for ten years. He is also subject to an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from being a sperm donor or carrying a speculum, the London Evening Standard reports.
Raivich has reportedly fathered 58 children as a sperm donor. Following his arrest, 15 women for whom he had previously provided donation services came forward for the defence.
Raivich's activities were not regulated by and did not conform to the guidelines of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
Detective Inspector Neil Rawlinson said: 'This case demonstrates that sexual offenders come from all walks of life and can be extremely manipulative and persuasive'.
William Clegg QC, Raivich's lawyer, told reporters that Raivich intends to return to Germany, where he is a registered doctor, and retrain in a new field.
Clegg said that his client had 'been forced to resign his chair at University College Hospital and is unemployed. He lost a well paid and prestigious job. That indeed is a tragedy in itself'.