Hamilton Spectator: Cult leader fears AIDS scare at jail

From XFamily - Children of God

Cult leader fears AIDS scare at jail

Needs medical help but afraid of prison hospital says brother

Hamilton Spectator/1993-12-11, p.T1.

by Belinda Sutton

A former Burlington woman, imprisoned in Argentina, is in need of medical attention but afraid to seek help because of an AIDS scare at the jail's hospital, says her brother.

Argentine police allege Susan Claire Borowick, 33, is a leader of a religious sex cult that allegedly abused children. The group, known as the Family, is an offshoot of the California-based Children of God.

Steve Borowick said his mother, Jacqueline, is in Buenos Aires trying to get his sister freed. His mother has visited his sister about 10 times in jail.

Mr. Borowick said his sister needs medical treatment related to previous serious health problems. He declined to elaborate on her specific illness.

"She needs medical attention, but she won't go into the hospital because, as far as they know, there's an AIDS problem in the hospital."

Eighteen members of the Family face charges of corruption and concealment of minors, illegal servitude, deprivation of liberty for religious purposes and racial and religious discrimination. They have been imprisoned since Sept. 1.

More than 100 offspring of group members have been placed in a jail for children.

Mr. Borowick, 35, a Burlington investment counsellor, said his mother, a Toronto justice of the peace, flew to Buenos Aires a month ago.

His mother has visited his sister's son, Esteban, 12, who is imprisoned on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. His head is covered in lice and he's extremely depressed, Mr. Borowick said.

"He's very concerned. He wants to know when he can see his mother again."

Mr. Borowick said his family is awaiting a decision expected by Dec. 15 from an Argentine appeals court on whether charges against group members will be pursued or dropped entirely.

"We're all hoping obviously they're just going to throw the whole thing out and be done with it."

He said his mother will stay in Argentina until at least after the decision.

Petitions have also been filed by 70 lawyers in Argentina to have Judge Roberto Marquevich, accused of corruption in this and other cases, removed from the bench, Mr. Borowick said.

He said his mother, who speaks Spanish, met last week with the judge, who denied airing the case in the media by distributing information such as video tapes of alleged child abuse.

Mr. Borowick described the charges against his sister's group as fabrication. He said medical examinations of the group's children by private doctors have failed to turn up any sign of physical or sexual abuse.

Mr. Borowick also said he believes charges against the Family are politically motivated and one of the groups pushing for the charges is the Roman Catholic Church, which is a dominant religion in Argentina.