Hamilton Spectator: Cult woman's jail treatment 'atrocious'

From XFamily - Children of God

Cult woman's jail treatment 'atrocious'

Hamilton Spectator/1993-09-17, p. A1

by Belinda Sutton

Susan Claire Borowick is being denied her Bible and other personal belongings in the Argentine prison where she is awaiting trial.

Her mother, Jacqueline, a Toronto justice of the peace, had to wire $500 in U.S. funds Wednesday to pay for clothing, shoes, soap, toothpaste, a blanket and a Bible.

"We've had to send money down to the Canadian Embassy so they could buy these things for her," said Ms Borowick's brother, Steve, of Burlington.

Embassy officials asked for the funds, he said.

Ms Borowick, 33, is accused of being a leader of a religious sex cult that allegedly abused children. The group, known as the Family, is an offshoot of the California-founded Children of God.

Eighteen members of the Family have been charged with corruption and concealment of minors, illegal servitude, deprivation of liberty for religious purposes and racial and religious discrimination.

Mr. Borowick, 35, called the treatment of his sister in jail "atrocious." She wasn't allowed to keep her boots even though it's winter in Argentina and cold in prison, he said.

"I mean, how is a person ...supposed to defend themselves when even the most minor human dignities are not afforded them?" he asked.

Mr. Borowick said his sister, known by cult members as Clara, has also been denied legal counsel for at least one day since she's been in jail.

So far, her Canadian relatives have had no direct contact with her, he said.

Relatives are concerned by a $5 million lien imposed by Judge Roberto Marquevich on anything the sect might own, he said.

"To me, what the judge is obviously trying to do is inhibit their ability to defend themselves."

Mr. Borowick also said the judge appears to be trying to air the case through the media.

The details he has released to the media in the way of evidence "are all items associated with charges that were never laid."

Mr. Borowick said his mother has visited the Argentine consulate in Toronto to express the family's outrage at Ms Borowick's situation.

She has also demanded access to Ms Borowick's son, Esteban, 12, who is believed to be among 140 cult children taken into care after Argentine police raided nearly a dozen Buenos Aires homes early this month.

Canadian relatives have received no response since Tuesday's meeting at the consulate, he said.

Mr. Borowick, an investment counsellor, said his sister is not a group leader, but only an educational co-ordinator and spokeswoman.

He said relatives are still certain Ms Borowick is "100 per cent" innocent of the charges that have been laid.

Mr. Borowick said the family is still concerned about Ms Borowick's brother, Grant Borowick, 38, who is also a member of the Family sect.

There has been no direct contact with him since Ms Borowick's arrest, he said.

Grant, who joined the cult after visiting his sister in Argentina in 1982, was last known to be in Salta, Argentina, trying to get visitation rights to his three children. His wife accompanied by three male relatives whisked away the children after the couple separated about 18 months ago.

Steve Borowick declined to comment on whether the family has had any indirect contact with Grant. However, he said it's known Grant isn't in jail and to relatives' knowlege, no warrant for his arrest exists.