Note: On December 12, 1990, Case number 32.202 was ratified in the Tribunal de Menores de Mercedes (Minor's Court of Mercedes) in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The case was filed by an American citizen, Ruth Frouman, who alleged that Stuart Harris Baylin and The Family refused to return four of her children after she was expelled from the group eight months after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The court ordered that her four children be presented to the court. Instead, two years after her death in March 1991, Stuart Baylin and Claire Borowik presented only the two eldest children to the court on April 13, 1993. Stuart was questioned the following day (and on subsequent occasions) and this document is the official record of his answers on April 14, 1993. It should be noted that unlike some other types of depositions, in this case the questions and answers are summarized by the clerk rather than transcribed verabtim. While Mr. Baylin's answers contain some false statements, errors, and blatant deception, some of his admissions are remarkable. For example, he acknowledges that the children have been separated from both their parents, that he has allowed them to travel and live with other members of the group and that the children's mother made it very clear that she wanted her children back.
This is a preliminary translation from English to Spanish. An improved translation will be posted when it is available. The names of the minors have been replaced with initials to protect their privacy.
Preliminary Translation of the Deposition of Stuart Baylin - April 14, 1993
On April 14, 1993, the day designated for the audience, Mr. Stuart Harris Baylin appeared before the clerk to give a testimonial declaration and was first sworn to tell the truth and made aware of the penalties that are incurred by one who makes false statements.
Interrogated by the Clerk he says:
That he verifies his identity with United States Passport number 042987980. That the declarant got together with the mother of the children 12 years ago in Texas. He clarifies that he met her in 1980 and they got together in 1981 when the lady was still completing her divorce. That at that time Mrs. Ruth had three children living with her and two were with Mr. Frouman. He clarifies that the five children were the fruit of the union of Ruth with Mr. Frouman.
Asked by the clerk for the name of the minors, he says:
That they are JMF, PSF, MQF, DPF and EDF. That when the declarant got together with the mother of the minors, three of the minors, MQF, PSF and JMF, lived with them and that the other two stayed with the father. That soon DPF and EDF joined them, that is to say that eventually none of the children stayed with Mr. Frouman. That in that time they lived in the city of Austin in the state of Texas. That later, due to being Christian missionaries, they began a mission to various cities in the United States, all together. That the father was not totally in agreement with the lifestyle they lived, but that Frouman never did anything to impede this lifestyle, the basic difference being that Frouman is not a missionary but they are. That some time later they decided to go be missionaries in other countries that needed missionaries because in the United States there were many missionaries. That the declarant belongs to a fellowship of Christian missionaries called "The family."
That when they were in Austin, Frouman visited his children but that as time passed he saw his children less often because they began to travel around the United States. That in 1984 they moved to Argentina in the zone of the province of Corrientes with the whole group meaning the Frouman children and the mother. That they came to live in Corrientes at the invitation of another family of the fellowship with the last name Godoy. That this Mister Godoy was living with the sister of of the mother of the Frouman children, named Rita Pisuto. That Mr. Godoy did not have sincere convictions about being a missionary and that instead he integrated himself into the community or fellowship to be with Rita. That the declarant considers Mr. Godoy to be an aggressive and very violent person. That Mr. Godoy tried to get his wife and children out of the fellowship and was successful in that they came to live in Resistencia-Chaco in less than humble conditions, very dirty, very bad conditions in a bus. He clarifies that the declarant and his family stayed in Corrientes from 1984 until 1987. That in mid-1987, in July, still in the same group, they moved to Montevideo. He clarifies that before going to Montevideo, Ruth travelled to the United States due to a health problem and to receive better medical treatment. That at that time he and the minors headed to Montevideo where they lived until the begining of 1989. That it was his intention to return to Argentina to continue being a missionary. He clarifies that the two older minors EDF and PSF asked to go to a school so the declarant sent them to a school in the locality of Pilar near a Country called Mapuche. The declarant clarifies that when they were in Corrientes, they were with another adult of the fellowship named David whose last name he does not remember. That with the adult David they travelled to different cities of the country including those located in the provinces of Entre Rios and Misiones. That while they were in Montevideo they he maintained contact with the other boys that were with the other group of the fellowship in charge of the school in the locality of Pilar.
That when they were in Montevideo, PSF expressed his desire to go to the United States to be with his father and his mother, he clarifies fundamentally to be with the latter one. That PSF returned to the United States and soon the declarant went to Bahia Blanca and that EDF and DPF continued to study in Pilar. He clarifies that in regard to the point where he manifested that the two older ones attended the school located in Pilar, that that is incorrect because it was EDF and DPF who attended the school. That the latter one is the third and that PSF, who is the second, went to the United States. He also clarifies that MQF and JMF attended school homes located in Bahia Blanca but smaller than the one in Pilar. He clarifies that we are in the year 1989, that then the declarant was residing in Bahia Blanca, that they arrived there in the month of April and stayed there for approximately one year. He clarifies that those who preach the gospel live by the gospel which is basically the bibilical position which the declarant believes is true. At the same time he clarifies that in the different cities they were in they received financial help from different people from the different cities and that they also received financial help from the relatives and friends of the different missionaries in different parts of the world. That they were in Bahia Blanca for approximately one year. That when the lease contract for the house in Bahia Blanca expired they went to Mar del Plata. That despite the many moves, the declarant's life is not confusing but very orderly ("muy ordenadita" sic). That in regards to the studies of the minors that they attended a school of the fellowship in Mar del Plata.
That when they were in Mar del Plata, they received an invitation from the mother of the minors to visit her. That the declarant and EDF accepted the invitation but the other three did not want to go. That they were in the United States for a couple of months doing missionary work in Miami and later in Tennessee where the mother of the minors resided. That at that time the mother attempted to keep EDF who was 17 years old aginst his will but in the end EDF returned to Argentina with the declarant. That in that case EDF acted on his own conviction. That in Mar del Plata, the declarant lived with MQF and JMF for nearly two years while EDF went to Pilar. That the boys visited him there. That he remembers that on October 3, he returned to Mar del Plata. That the following month the mother of the minors came to Argentina. That her intention was to take her children and leave with them. That when the mother of the minors arrived in Buenos Aires, she contacted her sister Rita who lived in the Federal Capital. That because EDF maintained contact with his mother, the people in Pilar, "missionaries of the family" communicated with the declarant by telephone to advise him of the situation. That EDF told his mother that his brothers were in Mar del Plata but she already knew about this situation. That the mother stayed in a hotel approximately two blocks from the bus station. That the mother stayed in Mar del Plata for one week. That at first she spoke to the children proposing that they all, including the declarant, return to the United States. But later she told them the proposal was to leave without the declarant. That the children manifested their opposition. That later the mother returned to Buenos Aires. That in regards to the hotel in Mar del Plata, he doesn't remember the name of the hotel where the mother of the minors stayed but that it was located on Gascon street two blocks from the bus station. That later she returned to Buenos Aires meeting up with Rita and Godoy . That he doesn't know how long Ruth stayed in the Capital nor where she stayed but he does know that she returned to the United States where she died. That after this DPF returned to Pilar where EDF was and the two younger children stayed with the declarant. That last year the declarant went to Paraguay with the four Frouman minors because the declarant liked the place and there was the possibility of being missionaries on a missionary field, located in Asuncion, very receptive to the word of God.
Asked for the exact address, the declarant says:
That before answering he would prefer to consult with his lawyer. That he hopes this response does not affect his testimony.
Asked to state how he became aware of the existence of these proceedings, he says:
That directors of the fellowship advised him that the children were being sought by the court on the basis of a complaint. That the declarant then came from Paraguay with the four sons of Ruth. Also that now members of the fellowship here in Argentina advised him to come with all the children to confront the situation. That the declarant arrived in Pilar on the 5th or 6th day of April with the four minor Frouman children. That with the order to appear before the court, the declarant decided to first present two of the sons of Frouman but that the intention was to present them all. That they came with the two older ones to find out what was happening as they had doubts about what was happening.
Asked to state exactly where the two minors JMF and MQF are, he says:
That they came from Paraguay and stayed in the house of a friend.
Asked to state the address or identity of the friend, he says:
That before giving that response he needs to speak to his lawyer and get advice. At this time he states that his domicile is in Pilar and to contact him there for any notification. That he has nothing more to declare. After his declaration is read, he ratifies it, signing it in conformity and before me I give faith.
X. Stuart Harris Baylin (signature)
Reopening the declaration, he says before the Clerk:
That he wants to add that the agressive behaviour of Godoy is contrary to the position of the fellowship with the exception of sincere repentances. That the declarant and the children never had any intention of escaping Justice. That travelling to Paraguay was previously planned before the complaint. The declarant clarifies that it was always his intention to present himself before the court. That he has nothing further to say..