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Update (November 2005) — Additional information, including newspaper and magazine articles and court filings, is now available: xFamily.org: Tribunal de Menores de Mercedes - Cause number 32.202 1990-12-19
Here is a condensed version and a rough draft of a much longer story. In the next few weeks and months as I do more research using both primary and secondary sources, I will be writing a full and detailed account.
My father left the Family in 1979. My mother left the Family in 1987. Yet, their children remained in the group for many years after their parents left. For example, I left in November 1988 at age 13, two of my brothers left in April 1993 at ages 20 and 17, one left in 1997 at age 16 and another is still a member. This story seeks to explore how this happened.
In July 1987 my mother, Ruth Frouman, was excommunicated from The Family for the "sins" of not trusting in God to heal her from breast cancer and for trying to leave the group with her children. She arrived in Miami so disoriented and traumatized by her ordeal that she was detained by airport security until her mother and her brother arrived to take her home.
What happened that caused her to arrive in such a condition? One possible explanation is what Stuart and the Family did to her in the weeks and months preceding her departure in July 1987. Earlier that year, she tried to leave with her younger children but they found out where she had sought refuge and took her and the children back to the Family house in Corrientes on the highway near the sleazy motel. Stuart Baylin and Family leaders then kept her locked up in a warehouse for weeks until she agreed to leave without her children.
The friend she had gone to for help was Hector, a wealthy Argentine who had sometimes helped with small financial problems and often let her bring 15 kids to use his swimming pool. I remember him fondly. He gave my mom a Paul Theroux travel book (The Old Patagonian Express ) which I got to read (one of only a few 'System" books I recall reading from 1982-1988, the other one was an autobiography - "Is that it?" by Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats). Hector was somehow involved with the local Coca-Cola bottler/franchise and seemed amused at the Family prohibition of soft drinks - "Coke is not against Christ" he always used to say. I think he felt sorry for us kids. Anyways, this is where my mom sought refuge with her children while she planned to figure out how to leave with them - there was also the matter of her two older children (Manoli and I, ages 12 and 14) in Buenos Aires. At some point, she made the mistake of calling the home where Stuart was and disclosing her location. Stuart Baylin came and got her and the children and took them back. Next to the house in Corrientes was a large two-story warehouse that was being converted into living quarters using 2x4s and sheets of wood panelling to construct walls. According to one of my siblings, both he and my mother were held in this warehouse for weeks while they were on a strict program of correction that included being required to fast and read Mo Letters. I don't know everything that happened there but I believe she was tormented psychologically, emotionally and physically until they drove her crazy and could get her to leave without her children.
For weeks, they tormented her and did everything they could to destroy and weaken her mind, her body and her will to fight back. Finally, on July 18th, 1987, they decided that the almost 16 years of her life (total lifetime:37 years, 5 months and 12 days) she had given the Family was not enough. They wanted her children as well. It makes one wonder what kind of sick and twisted monsters can defend kidnapping and tormenting a terminally ill woman and then taking away her children.
Not long after my mother returned to the United States, her three younger children went to Montevideo, Uraguay with Stuart Baylin. At the time, I and my older brother Manoli were living in the "Teen Combo" in Buenos Aires run by Susan Claire Borowick (aka Borowik) and her husband, Cacho. As an ex-member, my mother was not allowed to know the address or the phone number of the houses where her children were living.
I decided I had to leave when Stuart Baylin told me that I should forget about ever seeing my mother again, that she was a backslider and that I should burn the few pictures of her and letters from her I had. After my mother left Argentina, she frequently sent her children letters, cards and gifts (including money for their support). We never saw any of this as Stuart Baylin usually threw away her letters and cards without giving them to us. The money she sent was not used for its intended purpose and we were forced to go out begging and selling tapes and posters to raise money. Fortunately, I was able to escape to visit her and my father on November 18th, 1988. I ended up staying in the United States and having a few years of a "normal childhood." My four other brothers were not so fortunate.
For many years my mother tried to negotiate with The Family and believed their promises that her children would be returned. In the last few years of her life, all my mother ever wanted was to see her children together again. She was willing to do almost anything she could to get them back. But her former mate, Stuart Harris Baylin (a disgusting and violently abusive man who abused and terrorized her children for many years and was not their real father but merely an abusive stepfather) refused to return her children and insisted on keeping them in The Family against the wishes of both the children's mother, Ruth E. Frouman, and the children's father.
In mid-1990, Stuart Baylin promised to finally return to the U.S. with all the children for a "visit" as my mother persistently demanded. Instead, he broke his promise and in September 1990 came only with the eldest child, Manoli, then 17, for a fundraising trip. I believe that my mother's relatives sent him money for airfare for all the boys and he misapropriated these designated funds. He didn't allow Manoli to spend much time with his mother and in desperation, so she could spend some time with him, my mother told Manoli they were going shopping and drove him 5 hours without stopping to her aunt's home in Kentucky. My mother was furious over Stuart's lies, deception, cruelty and adamant refusal to let her see her children even as she was dying. In October 1990, she returned to Argentina to find her children. She didn't even know where they were living as this was considered "selah." She had to find out where they were living from a police investigator. In November 1990, with some assistance from her sister, Rita Mckee and her brother-in-law, Arturo O. Godoy, she filed a complaint with a court in Argentina that the Family refused to return her four children.
I am still trying to get all the Argentine court records related to the Frouman case. I have been able to find the 127-page majority decision of the Appeals Court of San Martin dated December 13, 1993 in the case of "Causa no. 81/89 CAVAZZA, Juan C. y otros s/Inf. arts. 125, 139, 140, 142 inc.1, 142 bis, 210, 293 del CP y art.3 Ley 23592 Juzg. Fed. San Isidro 1-Sec. 2 Sala II-Reg. no 2." This decision mentions the Frouman case three times. First on page 22, we find the following:
A escasos meses de estos sucesos -el 19/12/90-, se dedujo la denuncia ante el Juzgado de Menores de Mercedes (Causa N. 32202), en representaciÃ³n de la madre de cuatro niÃ±os que habÃan desaparecido y que ella dejara a cargo de su concubino antes de tener que partir hacia su paÃs de origen para tratarse una enfermedad terminal. El sr. Juez de la causa, tras propiciar la intervenciÃ³n del Servicio de Inteligencia de la PolicÃa de la Pcia. de Buenos Aires con el fin de buscar a los cuatro menores Frouman, obtuvo como resultado parcial la presentaciÃ³n de dos de ellos (ver las fs. 1454/1458 del citado expediente) y mantuvo la averiguaciÃ³n del paradero de los otros dos, presumiendo su retenciÃ³n en alguna de las residencias del referido grupo "La Familia" que pensaba ubicadas en Mar del Plata (idem fs. 17/8, 211, 521 y 980), San Isidro, (fs. 347/51), Salta, TucumÃ¡n y Jujuy (fs. 385 vta.), Florida, Vicente LÃ³pez, Pilar y Capilla del SeÃ±or (fs. 395, 398, 405, 419 vta. y 460), Hurlingham, (fs. 431), BahÃa Blanca (fs. 490/504 y 839/842), Rosario (fs. 507/518 y 523/552) y Capital Federal (fs. 592). Motivo por el cual, recabÃ³ informaciÃ³n sobre el estado de las diversas causas judiciales abiertas en los Ãºltimos aÃ±os para investigar las denuncias sobre presuntos delitos que se habrÃan perpetrado contra la honestidad y la libertad de los niÃ±os que residÃan en las viviendas de la comunidad -salvo de los mencionados Juzgados provinciales en lo Criminal y de Menores del Departamento Judicial de San Isidro y del tambiÃ©n aludido Juzgado Federal No. 1 de San Isidro (esta causa No. 81/89)-, recibiendo por respuesta las respectivas constancias legajales, de donde se desprende que: en la causa tramitada en el Juzgado Federal No. 1 de BahÃa Blanca con el expediente No. 386/89, se dictÃ³ el sobreseimiento total y provisorio respecto de los cuatro procesados, ordenÃ¡ndose el archivo de las actuaciones el 23/5/90 (fs. 3185 del ppal.); la causa No. 2531/89 del Tribunal de Menores No. 2 de BahÃa Blanca, se halla paralizada desde el 18/12/90 por una averiguaciÃ³n de paradero (fs. 613/692); en la causa No. 23.147 del Juzgado de InstrucciÃ³n No. 31 de la Capital Federal, se dictÃ³ el sobreseimiento provisional el 14/08/92 (fs. 693/800); la causa abierta por el Juzgado de Menores de CÃ³rdoba fue archivada al "no constatarse que los menores que habitaban el inmueble (donde se llevÃ³ a cabo el procedimiento) estuvieran en una situaciÃ³n de peligro fÃsico o moral" (fs. 2000 del expte. ppal.); la causa N? 3512 del Juzgado de Menores de Mar del Plata, tiene un Ãºltimo proveÃdo fechado el 3/05/89 por averiguaciÃ³n de paradero (fs. 1008/1121); en la causa No. 1959 del Juzgado Federal de Comodoro Rivadavia, se dictÃ³ el sobreseimiento el 18/12/90 sin haberse procesado a persona alguna (fs. 144 del respectivo expte. que corre por cuerda fotocopiado); la causa No. 35401 del Juzgado en lo Penal No 2 de Mar del Plata se encuentra en trÃ¡mite (fs. 1209); y en la causa que tramitara por ante el Juzgado en lo Penal de Faltas de la ciudad de Rosario (fs. 1193/1207), se impuso a los diecisÃ©is procesados una pena de 30 dÃas de arresto y el pago de multa de 6 JUS por incumplimiento de los mandatos legales, negocios no autorizados y explotaciÃ³n de la credibilidad pÃºblica, en concurso real (Expte. No. 2858/92 que corre por cuerda en 600 fojas fotocopiadas).
On page 32, one finds the following:
Finally, on page 99, there is another mention of the Frouman case:
Ruth Frouman was allowed to see her children briefly in Mar del Plata, Argentina in October 1990. She was in a weakened physical condition and in a lot of pain and part of the price she had to pay for being allowed to see her children was having to listen to Stuart scream and yell at her for hours demanding that she sign over custody to him. She had no intention of doing this and in fact had a plan to bring all (or at least the younger three) of them back to the United States to live with her.
In a letter to C. Frouman dated November 13, 1990, she wrote: "I am planning almost immediately to get a paper through the police here so that neither Stuart nor anyone else can take the children out of the country (Also to know their street address). I plan to do a grade check with Jon, Mike and Manoli because I don't have the slightest idea where they are at academically. D. is in 9th grade - that I know and he's planning to continue with the same course...By the way he only recently came to Argentina because he knew I was coming. Maybe people in Uraguay thought I would try and take him away. I just feel the time is getting closer for the children to be with me and that this one of the last oppurtunities to try and get those 3 boys at least, out of the group."
My mother died on March 12, 1991. After her death, my father and her relatives continued to try and find her children and bring them back to the United States. It took some time. In April 1993, Stuart Baylin and Claire Borowick returned the two older children, then aged 17 and 20, but failed to return the two younger children, ages 12 and 14, as the court ordered.
My brother Michael recalls that in April 1993, he and three of his brothers were living in Asuncion, Paraguay. Stuart Baylin took the children to Paraguay to hide them from Argentine law enforcement agencies who were still looking for them so they could be returned to the United States to live with their relatives as my mother intended. Then they got a message from Buenos Aires that there was some action in my mother's court case and they might need to return to Argentina. Stuart Baylin and Claire Borowick lied to the children by telling them that Arturo O. Godoy was demanding custody of them. In fact, as far as I know, Godoy's only involvement had been to present my mother's complaint to the court on her behalf in November 1990. No one ever considered giving him custody of any of the children and even if he had asked, which he did not, he never would have been granted custody. In 1992, my aunt separated from Godoy and fled to the United States with all her children. After that, no one in our family had any contact with her ex-husband, Arturo O. Godoy.
In any case, in the event of her death, my mother's plan was for the older children to live with their father if they wanted to or with some of her relatives. Her aunt Jean in Kentucky had also offered to take them all in. Several of her brothers and sisters had offered to help as well. If Stuart Baylin had not kidnapped them with help from Claire Borowick and others, they would have lived very comfortably in the United States with their relatives. They would not have had to live with a violent monster like Stuart Baylin or even Arturo O. Godoy. That was not what my mother wanted.
Anyways, Stuart and the Family lied to the children by telling them it was a choice between living outside the Family with Arturo 0. Godoy (like Stuart Baylin, he was also a violent child abuser and wife-beater) or in the Family with Stuart Baylin. Given these two choices, it's not surprising they would choose what appeared to be the lesser of two evils. Thus, in Asuncion, they made the children sign affidavits saying they wanted to be in the Family with Stuart. However, Claire Borowick soon relayed a message that they needed to go to Buenos Aires.
According to Michael, when they arrived in Buenos Aires, they were taken to a Family home known as the "Lighthouse." There, all four children and Stuart were placed in one room where they were required to stay all the time. In that room, Claire Borowick made them read and memorize pages and pages of statements and briefings. They were required to do role-playing and had mock question and answer sessions based on questions they might be asked by a social worker, judge, police officer, journalist, etc. Finally, it was determined that they were ready. However, despite the fact that the judge had specifically ordered that all four children be produced, Claire Borowick and Stuart Baylin decided to only bring the two older children. According to Michael and my other siblings who were there, the plan was to see what would happen. Michael notes that if the the two older children had not been immediately taken in, the plan was to bring in all the children the next day. But Stuart Baylin and Claire Borowick did not have legal custody of any of the Frouman children and there was no way any judge in Argentina (or anywhere else in the world) would have ever allowed them to have even temporary custody.
In May 1993, the two older Frouman children were returned to the United States to live with their relatives. Their tickets were paid for by repatriation loans from the U.S. Department of State. Before their departure, they had spent several weeks in a juvenile institutution in Buenos Aires while the authorities searched in vain for their two younger brothers. Michael has told me of at least one incident where they came very close. According to Michael, there was a two bedroom apartment in Buenos Aires that was being occupied by about 16 Family members (including Stuart Baylin and the two younger Frouman children). According to Michael, a social worker was scheduled to visit and inspect the home as they falsely told her that this apartment was where the Frouman children and Stuart would live if by some horrible perversion of justice, the child abuser Stuart Baylin were to be granted custody of the Frouman children. Before the social worker visited, they furious cleaned the apartment and moved everything around to hide the evidence that 16 people were living in a two bedroom apartment. While the social worker was visiting, the younger Frouman children and the rest of the people living in the apartment were at a park a few blocks away. Claire Borowick knew exactly where the younger Frouman children were all the time but continued to lie to the police and conspire with Stuart and others to conceal and abduct them.
According to Michael Frouman, soon after the two older Frouman children were returned to the United States in May 1993, Stuart Baylin took him and his brother to Montevideo, Uraguay. There they remained in hiding from the authorities and the police for several months. Then on September 1, 1993, several homes in Buenos Aires were raided by the police. As soon as they received noticed of the raids in Buenos Aires, they left the home in Montevideo and Stuart received instructions from Family leaders to flee with the children to Brazil and then to Mexico. The home in Montevideo gave Stuart Baylin some money including the reserve funds of about $2000 USD. Once again, they barely missed being found by the police. Just a day or two after they left, they saw a television news program of the home in Montevideo being raided by the police.
They were soon on their way to Mexico. However, rather than take one of the many direct flights from Uraguay to Mexico, Stuart Baylin took a more circuitous route with the kidnapped Frouman children. First they went to Chuy near the border of Uraguay and Brazil. After seeing their passports and noting some irregularities (the main one being that Stuart Baylin did not seem to have legal custody of the children), the border guards refused to let them into Brazil and instructed them to go to the consulate to apply for a visa. At the consulate, Stuart Baylin lied to the Brazilian officials and claimed to have legal custody of the Frouman children. As evidence, he showed them an Argentine marriage certificate from 1985 and a power of attorney he forced my mother to sign before she left in 1987. He didn't mention that he savagely beat my mother and her children for years, that his marriage to my mother was practically over in 1986, that my mother demanded the return of all her children in 1990, that she died in 1991, that in 1993 an Argentine judge again ordered Stuart to return all the children, that when he turned in two of them they were both sent back to the U.S. to live with their relatives, and that the children's father was the only one who had legal custody of the children. After several hours of listening to Stuart's lies and possibly after the payment of a bribe, the Brazilian consular officials in Chuy relented and allowed Stuart Baylin and the kidnapped Frouman children to enter Brazil.
After entering Brazil, they took a bus to Porto Alegre and then to Sao Paulo. Then they took a flight to Mexico City and arrived there in mid-September 1993. According to Michael, upon arriving in Mexico, Stuart once again lied to the border officials and used fraudulent documents to deceive them. The kidnapper and child abuser Stuart Baylin was welcomed with open arms by the Family in Mexico. They continued to help him evade the law and hide the children. For many years, Stuart Baylin continued to retain the Frouman children outside the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights. According to Michael, from 1993 until 1997, on numerous occasions he took the children from Mexico into the United States and back. Every time he took the children back into Mexico, he was violating U.S. federal laws. He was also violating the laws of Arizona and Texas. When questioned by U.S. border officials about whether he had lawful custody of the Frouman children, he always lied. This is not at all surprising to me, as lying, deception and breaking "Man's laws" is the standard operating procedure of the Family International. Except for brief trips into the United States, Stuart Baylin has lived continously in Mexico since September 1993. According to public records he used the addresses of Family homes in McAllen, Brownsville and San Antonio to receive mail (including a driver's license from the Texas Department of Public Safety), but he has been mostly absent from the state of Texas since 1982.
It was not until the summer of 1997 that Stuart Baylin returned the youngest of the kidnapped Frouman children, Michael Frouman. He was 16. At the time, I was a very poor college student living in a tiny apartment in what some people considered to be a dangerous neighbourhood. Yet Michael still wanted to live with me. A few months later we moved to more spacious accomodations and ended up living together for the next few years. Besides being reunited with his brothers and all his relatives (most of whom he had never met), he was also able to meet his biological father, Charles, and some of his sisters and their families.
My mother didn't want her children to grow up in The Family. She had witnessed their abuse with her own eyes and she knew what had happened to them and what might happen to them if they stayed in the group that had caused her and her children so much pain and suffering over the years. It took her a while to come to this realization but when she finally did, she tried to make amends by getting her children out. Unfortunately, The Family didn't want to let her children go and even after her death, refused to return them to their father and her relatives. It was her last dying wish that her children leave The Family. Instead, they were kidnapped. Stuart Harris Baylin (born March 12, 1955 in New York) would not have been able to abduct the children without assistance. Instead, he had help from The Family and people like Susan Claire Borowik (aka Borowick). The Family provided financial assistance, logistical support and specific directives to help Stuart kidnap my siblings. Claire Borowik, the current primary spokesperson for the Family International, was a key figure in coordinating the abduction of my brothers. I don't know how Claire Borowik (aka Borowick) can sleep at night knowing that she helped a violent and abusive sociopath take the children of a dying woman.
Some people, even quite a few ex-members, seem to think the raids in Argentina were wrong and based on exagerated or false claims and charges. I would like those people to know that nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are that the Family and certain members protected by the group's leaders kidnapped, sexually abused, tortured and exploited children. While I think the authorities in Argentina and elsewhere made some mistakes, I don't think the raids were wrong. Were children traumatized by their experiences in state custody and the medical examinations for signs of abuse? Certainly. But whose fault is that? Perhaps it is the fault of the adults who sexually and physically abused children. It is the fault of the leaders who practiced and promoted the sexual and physical abuse of children. The people who took pictures and made videotapes of children being sexually abused and exploited. The people who kidnapped children and conspired to conceal and kidnap children. The people who, when they knew months before of the impending raids, still refused to cooperate with the authorities and comply with court orders such as those to return kidnapped children to their parents. The people who for years sheltered and protected criminals.
It is these people, the child abusers and the criminals, who are the most responsible for any harm and trauma that the children experienced as a result of the raids. The people who bravely told the truth when almost everyone else was lying are heroes and what the children suffered is not their fault.
Response to the Family's statements about the abduction of the Frouman Children
The Family International now claims that in each case in Argentina, " "the allegations were unsubstantiated and Family members were found innocent of all charges." Perhaps by "innocent", in the Frouman case they meant to say that the Family helped the violent child abuser Stuart Baylin to abduct the Frouman children and to flee to Uraguay, Brazil, Mexico and the United States (in all of them, kidnapping children is still illegal), and that some child abusers like Claire Borowik (aka Susan Claire Borowick) lied to protect other child abusers like Stuart Baylin.
Note: Peter Frouman and frouman.net has a stringent policy against having any communication with child abusers. frouman.net does not publish or respond to correspondence or complaints it receives from child abusers and child molesters. However, since the current official primary spokesperson for the Family International, Susan Claire Borowik, is a known child abuser with a history of sending threatening and offensive letters to victims of child abuse, we have made a limited exception to our policy in order to respond to the statements she has made, in her role as a spokesperson for the Family International, about the abduction of the Frouman children and other matters.
Note: This list is incomplete. More court filings will be added to it as they become available. Most documents are in Spanish. English translations will be added as they become available.
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