Columbus Dispatch: Woman seeking to get cult-controlled kin out of Argentina

From XFamily - Children of God

Woman seeking to get cult-controlled kin out of Argentina

The Columbus Dispatch/1993-09-25, NEWS LOCAL & NATIONAL 04D.
By Robert Ruth
Dispatch Staff Reporter

A 19-year-old North Side woman left Port Columbus on Wednesday on a 5,500-mile trek she hopes will end with seeing her brother and sister sever ties to a religious cult in South America.

The woman escaped the Children of God cult 17 months ago but left behind her brother, Samuel, 17, and sister, Angelino, 16.

On Sept. 1, Argentine law enforcement authorities raided 10 homes in Buenos Aires controlled by the cult, arrested 18 adults and took 268 children into protective custody. Authorities have accused adult cult members of sexually abusing the children.

The North Side woman, who does not want her name revealed, discovered this month that her brother and sister are among the young people taken into protective custody.

"I haven't seen them in almost two years," the woman said as she waited for her jetliner at the airport. "I couldn't tell them I was leaving. I didn't even say goodbye. I'm sure they'll be surprised to see me."

The woman is certain her siblings will be happy to see her again, especially since she is taking them two bags of bite-sized candy bars. She said they love the candies "but they can't get them down there."

U.S. Embassy officials have agreed to aid the woman in visiting her siblings. She hopes to persuade Argentine authorities to talk her brother and sister into leaving for the United States. The parents of the woman and her siblings have been members of the cult for more than two decades. She hasn't seen them in years.

John E. Lloyd, a Columbus relative who accompanied the woman to the airport, cautioned that such approval could take time. Lloyd has given the woman affidavits stating that he and other Columbus-area relatives are willing to take legal custody of the brother and sister if they are allowed to come to America.

An account has been established at Bank One for donations to help cover the woman's expenses. The account is the Save the Children Fund, c/o John E. Lloyd, P.O. Box 340504, Columbus 43234-0504.

The Children of God is an outgrowth of the 1960s hippie movement on the West Coast. David Berg, the group's founder, has espoused free love and claims he is guided by the spirits of the late Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the Pied Piper. In the early 1970s, the cult opened branches throughout the world.