Susan Claire Borowik

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Claire Borowik speaks on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360°, 2005-01-18
Claire Borowik on ABC News: Tale of the Tape — 2005-01-27
Susan Claire Borowik with Lonnie Davis

Susan Claire Borowik (Canadian; also known as Claire Borowik / Borowick) was born 1960 in Burlington, Ontario. She is currently the official international spokesperson for The Family International and lives in Washington, D.C.

Borowik has described the atmosphere of The Family International's past similar to that of "a nudist colony," where sexual freedoms were taken for granted. She cites scholars who have said the sexual practices appeared to cause no harm to children.

Borowik has repeatedly and adamantly denied any responsibility by the group in Ricky Rodriguez's murdersucide.

In the past, Borowik served as a Family leader in Argentina, and was married to Manuel "Cacho" Sabatasso. She is currently partnered to Lonnie Davis.

Alleged criminal activity

Borowik has been accused of criminal activity by former members, police officers, judges and other law enforcement officials. She was also arrested and jailed in 1989 and 1993. However, to our knowledge she has not been convicted of any charges filed against her and thus must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Child sexual abuse

Several ex-members of The Family have alleged in sworn court testimony and elsewhere that Borowik placed underage children that were entrusted to her care on sexual sharing schedules with adults in the Argentine home under her leadership during the mid to late 1980s. According to a December 14, 1993 story in the Toronto Star, a child that was placed in her care alleged that "Borowick's husband, Jose Manuel Sabatasso, raped her when she was 13 and that Borowick not only condoned the attack, but ordered her to have sex with other leaders of the sect." Borowik has denied these allegations and claimed that the person whom her husband allegedly raped on her 13th birthday and continued to sexually abuse thereafter left the group "because she did not agree with the restrictions placed on sex between adults and minors." A former member who lived with Borowik for several months in 1987, has alleged that she sexually abused his older brother (who died in 1994) and other minors aged 12 to 14 in 1986 and 1987. Another alleged victim, who is still alive but does not wish to be publicly identified, has alleged that Borowik had sexual contact with him when he was 12 years old.

In an April 2005 email message Borowiki denied these allegations as false and stated that "I was never intimately involved in anyway with him or any other minor at any period of my life, whether before joining the Family or after." [1]. One of the recipients of the email has reported that he did not respond to her email but instead forwarded it to an FBI agent investigating these matters. Several months later, the email was made publicly available on this site.

In October 1989, Borowik was arrested by Argentine police during raids on Family homes in Buenos Aires and Bahia Blanca. After approximately a month in jail, Borowik was released and the case, which involved alleged child abuse and drug possession and use, was later dismissed. The judge assigned to resolve the case was a friend and supporter of The Family who had visited the Home in Pilar, Argentina where the Argentina Teen Combo was located.

In 1992, the case was reopened and in September 1993, Borowik was arrested again by Argentine police in a series of raids on Family homes and charged with many charges including corruption of minors. Although she was subsequently released in December 1993 when an Argentine Federal Court of Appeals revoked the arrests of adults detained in the raids, the Court did not issue an acquittal of charges against Borowik. Her case was remanded back to a lower court with the stipulation of further investigation into the allegations. According to an April 2005 email[2] from Borowik to Jim LaMattery, the lower court did not review the case until 2004, at which time they granted final closure on July 27, 2004. Borowik has not explained exactly how the case was resolved and xFamily.org has not yet been able to verify her claims about the "final" resolution of the case.

Child abuse and neglect

A number of children who lived with Ms. Borowik in the mid to late 1980s have alleged that she abused them by neglecting their physical, emotional and medical needs, failed to provide them with an adequate education and exploited their labor for her benefit and the benefit of the cult.

In a 295-page ruling in a UK child custody case Lord Justice Ward summarized the latter case of medical neglect:

AB was in Argentina in 1990, and fell acutely ill. The letters she had been assigned to read did not gain for her the requisite "victory". For the shepherds who cared for her that was an indication that she needed a sharp warning and needed to confess whatever terrible sin she was hiding. She was regarded as "rebellious" because she did not wish to eat. She was told Oplexicon, one of Satan's archangels, was living in her. She was barely 17 years old at the time and she was terrified. After many days of high fever and delirium she was finally taken to hospital and received emergency surgery which saved her life, but did not save her fallopian tubes. She was the victim of cruel neglect and those who had charge of her in the absence of her parents treated her with callous disregard for her welfare.

How did that happen? The answer is one which sends a shiver of apprehension down my spine. The answer is that her shepherds were conforming with the standards set by the leadership and were following their example. For them, AB was another MB. AB was ill in January 1990. In December 1989, the first issue of the new "Teen Specials" featuring a "Traumatic Testimony" was published as a warning to teenagers who like AB were:

"Wilfully yielding to the same spiritual sins that she (MB) yielded to such as extreme pride, self- righteousness, self-exultation and harsh criticism of others ... You can wind up in a living hell on earth like MB has experienced even within The Family if you yield to the Devil and his doubtful destructive and damning devices".

Source: Complete Judgment of Lord Justice Ward, 1995-05-26.

Child Abduction

Borowik was involved in two child abduction cases involving the children of former members. The first was the case against Brian Edward Pickus for abducting two children from his ex-wife in September 1980. An Interpol "Red Notice" or arrest warrant was later issued for Mr. Pickus. The abducted Pickus children later lived with Borowik in Argentina and she allegedly had unlawful custody of the youngest one from 1986 until July 1987 and the older one from 1986 until 1988 or possibly later. During this time, Borowik knew that the children had been abducted, that their mother had been searching for them for many years and that there was an international arrest warrant for their father. Former members who lived with Borowik have alleged that she took extraordinary measures to make sure the abducted Pickus children would not be found by the authorities. These measures, which were in accordance with official Family policies and practices at the time, prohibited photographs of the Pickus children being sent to outsiders and in fact, the Pickus children were not allowed to keep older photographs of themselves from the time they were abducted. In July 1987, the youngest of the two Pickus children ran away from the "Teen Combo" run by Borowik and was not reunited with his mother until 1994 when he appeared before Judge Julio Campora who intervened in the case and had him sent back to the United States. In August 1987, group photographs were taken of the teens living with Borowik at the time. One group photograph showed the eldest of the abducted Pickus children who was then in Borowik's unlawful custody. A second group photograph, which did not include the eldest abducted Pickus child, was later featured on the cover of Argentina Teen Combo Newsletter #1 (which was sent to friends, relatives and parents). Ms. Borowik has never denied these allegations or made any statement, public or otherwise, about her personal involvement in the Pickus case.

The second case in which Borowik was involved was the Frouman case, involving the children of Ruth Frouman (who was expelled from the organization in July 1987) and her ex-husband (who left the organization in 1979). According to a report by the Associated Press, Ruth Frouman alleged that "she was expelled after being diagnosed with breast cancer, which the cult considered a 'Biblical punishment,' and cult members refused to release her four children." In December 1990, Arturo Odilo Godoy, acting on behalf of the Froumans, who alleged that four of their five children had been retained in the by The Family/Children of God cult and Stuart Harris Baylin, presented a complaint to Judge Julio Manuel Cámpora at the Minor's Court of Mercedes seeking the return of the children. After the mother of the children, Ruth Frouman, died on March 12, 1991, the case continued on behalf of the children's father. On May 21, 1991, Cámpora issued an order that the four children be returned and presented to the court. On April 13, 1993, Stuart Baylin and Claire Borowik partially complied with Cámpora's 1991 order by presenting only the two older children to the court. On April 21, 1993, Cámpora issued orders to the National Guard, the Federal Police, the Directorate of Immigration and the Navy Prefecture, to search for the two younger missing Frouman children and Stuart Baylin, prevent them from leaving the country and if found, present them to the court. In May 1993, the two older children were returned to their father and other relatives in the United States, while the search for the younger two children continued. When Stuart Baylin failed to appear before the court as ordered and police officials attempting to serve a summons on him discovered that he was no longer at the two addresses he had given the court, Judge Cámpora referred his case to a criminal court judge who opened a criminal case against Stuart Baylin.

In a sworn statement[3] under oath to the Tribunal de Menores de Mercedes, Borowik alleged that on an unspecified date Mrs. Frouman gave her written permission to have temporary custody of the eldest of the Frouman children but that she had lost her only copy of this alleged document and could not prove that it ever existed. In the same statement, Borowik also claimed that Mrs. Frouman granted the permission because she was "physically and mentally ill."

On June 28, 1993, Judge Campora ruled that the Family had violated the fundamental human rights of the Frouman children. While retaining jurisdiction over the Frouman case, he requested the intervention of Federal Judge Roberto Marquevich to resolve other crimes that had been uncovered during the investigation of the Frouman case.

In an April 2005 email, Borowik made a number of statements, some of which contradict each other and the known facts, in which she defended her actions in the case. In one part of the email, she stated that she was "not involved in any way, shape or form" but in a latter part she stated that her involvement was limited to trying to "help" the eldest two of the abducted Frouman children stay in The Family. Judge Campora ruled that Borowik's goal of "helping" the Frouman children by keeping them in The Family and separated from their parents and relatives was a violation of their fundamental human rights and the laws of Argentina. Borowik also argued that the orders of Judge Campora were "illegal" and that he did not have jurisdiction over the case.

In her defense, Borowik also claimed that, in April 1993, all (or at least two - her statement is not entirely clear) of the Frouman children were "technically no longer minors." According to numerous reliable sources, it is clear that all four of the Frouman children were minors in 1993. According to Interpol, the laws of Argentina clearly state that children under the age of 21 are considered minors [4] According to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, "under Argentine law, a person under age 21 is a minor." [5] On page 12 of a report titled "The Rights of the Child in Argentina, the World Organization Against Torture noted that "the Civil Code defines "minors" as persons under 21 years of age." [6]. Article 126 of the Civil Code of Argentina (Law 340 - September 25, 1869), states that "persons who have not reached the age of twenty-one are considered minors." [7].


Perjury

On April 14, 1993, Borowik made a sworn statement[8] under oath to the Tribunal de Menores de Mercedes (Minor's Court of Mercedes) regarding the disappearance and abduction of the Frouman children. In her sworn statement, Ms. Borowik claimed that, according to Mr. Baylin, the youngest two missing children were staying with "friends" but that she did not know the identity or address of the "friends" with whom they were allegedly staying. One of the abducted children Ms. Borowik was referring to has alleged that at the time she made the statement under oath she knew exactly where the two missing children were, who was with them and had actually seen them in person that same day she made her statement and thus committed the crime of perjury when she denied knowledge of their whereabouts. In the same statement, Ms. Borowik also claimed that she did not know the address where the missing Frouman children lived at in Asuncion, Paraguay prior to their return to Argentina in April 1993. Once again, the abducted children have alleged that Borowik's statement was absolutely false in that she did know the address. In the same sworn statement, Borowik claimed that a sibling of the other children was a drug addict who, since he left the Family in November 1988 at age 13, lived alone without his parents or relatives and did not have a good relationship with his father. The individual named by Borowik has alleged that Borowik's statements were absolutely false in that Borowik had no personal knowledge of these matters, he was never a a drug addict and that except for a brief period when he attended a boarding school in 1990 and later when he moved to Florida in August 1992 shortly before his 18th birthday, he lived with his parents and other relatives and had a good relationship with his father but decided to live in Tennessee to be closer to his mother during the final years of her life. In her sworn statement, Borowik also claimed that "that in the years she had known the Frouman minors she has noted that they have a great deal of respect for Mr. Baylin, whom they love and call papa, and that he has always acted to fulfill every one of their needs in a sincerely admirable form." Once again, the Frouman children have alleged that Ms. Borowik's statement was false in that during the time they lived with Mr. Baylin they were violently and horrifically physically abused and terrorized by him and they had more fear than respect for him. In her sworn statement, Ms. Borowik also claimed that she first became aware that the parents of the Frouman children wanted their children back and of the existence of the Mercedes case while attending a conference about cults. In fact, voluminous documentation and the accounts of the Frouman children and their parents suggest that this part of Borowik's statement was also false in that she first became aware that Ruth Frouman and the children's father wanted their children returned in 1987 when Mrs. Frouman first tried to leave the organization with her three youngest children and demanded the return of her two older children (who were then attending the South America TTC in Peru to which Borowik escorted them without permission from their mother and father as required by Argentine law for all travel involving minors) and that soon after Borowik first learned of the court's 1991 order to return the children, they were sent into hiding in Paraguay.

Multimedia


Excerpt of Claire Borowik on CNN Anderson Cooper 360: Murder-Suicide Leads to Secretive Cult — 2005-01-18


Excerpt of Borowik's appearance on ABC News: Tale of the Tape — 2005-01-27

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