Julio Manuel Cámpora

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Julio Cámpora, 1997. (Clarin)
Julio Cámpora, 1994. (Protagonistas de Mercedes)

Julio Manuel Cámpora is a former judge in the Judicial Department of Mercedes, Argentina. He worked as a judge in the Tribunal de Menores de Mercedes (Minor's Court of Mercedes) and later in the Juzgado en lo Criminal y Correccional Nro. 3 de Mercedes (Criminal and Correctional Court Number 3 of Mercedes). In July 2005, he was working as a criminal defense attorney on behalf of former public officials who had been charged with corruption.

In December 1990, Arturo Odilo Godoy, acting on behalf of two U.S. citizens who alleged that four of their five children had been unlawfully retained by The Family/Children of God cult and Stuart Harris Baylin, presented a complaint to Judge Campora at the Minor's Court of Mercedes seeking the return of their 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 Susan 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.

During the proceedings, Cámpora's office, with the assistance of other investigators, including police intelligence officer Hugo Gabutti, lawyer and cult expert Héctor Walter Navarro, psychologist and cult expert José María Baamonde, lawyer Marcelo Giacoia and lawyer Horacio Chiminelli, began an intensive investigation of the cult and its activities in Argentina. During the proceedings, four witnesses, including Edward Priebe and Rick Dupuy, travelled from abroad to give testimonial declarations. On June 28, 1993, Cámpora issued a ruling in which he declared that the human rights of the Frouman children had been violated by Stuart Baylin and The Family, inferred the existence of many offenses (including kidnapping, hiding children, falsification of documents, rape, sexual abuse, illegal deprivation of libery and reduction to a state of servitude) beyond the jurisdiction of his court and requested the intervention of Federal Judge Roberto José Marquevich of San Isidro. Marquevich then reopened a 1989 case against members of the Family, and in August 1993 ordered raids on 10 Family Homes in Argentina. One of the primary objectives of the raids was to find the two missing Frouman children. As Stuart Baylin had by then fled with the abducted children to Montevideo, Uruguay, in violation of the court's orders and the laws of Argentina, the United States and Uruguay, the children were not found. Cámpora's office continued the investigation and search for the Frouman children for several years. In 1994, he travelled to Paraguay with Hugo Gabutti and others to investigate a report that the Frouman children were there. In July 1997, the youngest of the missing children ran away from a Family Home in Mexico and was reunited with his surviving relatives.

Judge Cámpora was also involved in another case involving The Family when a child whom Brian Edward Pickus abducted in 1980 and who, in July 1987 at age 13, ran away from a teen home run by Susan Claire Borowik and Manuel José Sabatasso, appeared before Judge Cámpora in July 1994. In August 1994, Cámpora issued a ruling returning the boy to his relatives in the United States. Another notable case Cámpora was involved in was a criminal case against Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona for shooting at journalists with an air rifle.

In March 1997, Judge Cámpora was charged with filing false documents to obtain a Social Security disability pension for his 7-year-old son (who has Down's Syndrome). According to the charges, to obtain a $100 pesos per month pension, he falsely claimed he was a plumber earning $250 pesos a month and living in a shack with a corrugated tin roof when in fact he was a judge earning $5000 pesos per month and living in a nice home with his wife (who also earned $2000 pesos per month as a secretary for another judge). Cámpora strongly denied these allegations and said that, while he had visited the Social Security office on another matter, he had never applied for a disability pension. All the judges in Mercedes recused themselves from hearing his case and it was probably heard by a judge in San Martin or San Isidro. It is not known if he was ever convicted of any charges but given that he continued being a judge for several years and still works as a lawyer, it seems unlikely that the charges were ever proven or that he was ever convicted of any criminal charges.


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