Toronto Star: 'We've been totally and falsely accused' Family mom insists

From XFamily - Children of God

Editor's note: Some names have been partially redacted to protect individual privacy or for other reasons at the discretion of the editors of

'We've been totally and falsely accused' Family mom insists

Toronto Star/1993-09-15

by Dale Brazao

Susan Claire Borowick says she's no child molester.

The Ontario woman, being held in Argentina and accused of leading a sex cult that abused children, told The Star she's been framed by police and disgruntled former cult members.

"We have been totally and falsely accused," the Burlington native said in an exclusive interview yesterday from the crowded Ezeiza Women's Prison in Buenos Aires.

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

Argentinian police have identified Borowick as the leader of the cult, an accusation she denies.

Some 134 children from about 20 countries have been held under court protection since Sept. 1, when Argentinian police raided seven homes run by The Family in the Buenos Aires area.

Borowick, a member of the South American sect for 15 years, disputed the finding of medical officials, who claim nine of the children seized in raids showed signs of sexual abuse.

"This is all part of the same frame up," Borowick said. "The children are all now being checked by our own doctors, but I can assure you that there was no abuse because we don't tolerate that in our group."

"This is definitely not tolerated, nor accepted nor condoned, and this is all very painful for us parents who have children and who are separated from them," said Borowick, whose 12-year-old son Esteban is one of the children in protective custody.

Borowick denied the Argentinian police claims that they had confiscated stacks of pornographic literature and kiddie porn videos seized during the early morning raids on the sect's compound and homes.

Any pornographic material found was planted by police, she said.

"Unfortunately the houses were investigated several times after we were already in jail, so any material they claim they found there is definitely not ours," Borowick said in a telephone interview.

"We do not have any type of pornographic videos or literature in our houses," Borowick said, adding that the group's current problems stem from "religious persecution."

Borowick dismissed as "lies" the accusations from former cult member Abigail B., who accused Borowick personally of condoning sex between adults and children, some as young as 12 and 13 years old.

Abigail, a 20-year-old American born into the sect, went on television last week saying cult leaders openly promoted incest. She said she had been sexually assaulted as a 12-year-old and later forced to prostitute herself as a way of attracting new members.

"That is just a total lie, too," Borowick said. "We do not tolerate any kind of relations with minors. In our group, minors are not allowed to have any kind of intimate relations until they are of age."

Borowick said Abigail left the group because she did not agree with the restrictions placed on sex between adults and minors.

"She thought she should be totally liberated, and so she ran away from the group with a 45-year-old man, when she was 17 years," Borowick said. "With that, I can tell you what kind of person she was.

"She was looking for something that our group couldn't offer her, which was free sex."

The Family is an offshoot of the Children of God cult, started by former Pentecostal missionary David Berg in California in 1969. Berg, known to his followers as Moses David or Chairman Mo, preached salvation through sexual promiscuity.

Buenos Aires prosecutor Carlos Villafuerte said yesterday he's seeking an international warrant for Berg's arrest.

"The prosecution takes this man (Berg) to be responsible for these crimes," Villafuerte, who has asked federal judge Roberto Marquevich to issue an Interpol warrant for the arrest.

Berg, who is 74, is believed to be living at one of the cult's homes in the Canary Islands.