Tribunal de Menores de Mercedes - Cause number 32.202

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

Case Summary and Background

Tribunal de Menores de MERCEDES
Juez Dr. Julio M. Cámpora
Provinicia de Buenos Aires
Poder Judicial

Causa No. 32.202, Frouman, Emanuel David y otros s/ infracion al art. 10 ley 10.067.
Cause Number 32.202, Frouman, Emanuel David and others regarding infraction of Art. 10 of Law 10.067.

On December 19, 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 Baylin and The Family refused to return four of her five children after she was expelled from the group in July 1987 after being diagnosed with breast cancer in December 1986. In late October 1990, she was briefly permitted to see her children but Stuart Baylin and The Family refused to allow her to take her children home as both she and the children's father had repeatedly requested since 1987. Thus, she and the children's father filed a complaint with Judge Campora and appointed her sister and her brother-in-law as her representatives and granted them temporary custody for the express purpose of returning her children to the United States. The U.S. State Department, including its employees Barbara Hemingway (U.S. Consul General to Argentina) and Office of Children's Issues staffer Consuelo Pachan provided assistance. The Family later claimed that the U.S. State Department provided assistance to parents and relatives of missing children in this case and others because it had been infiltrated by agents of the anti-cult movement and the Cult Awareness Network[1]. To date, it has offered no evidence to support these claims. In February 1991, Ruth Frouman slipped into a coma and died on March 12, 1991 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Despite being immediately informed of her death by mail, telephone and published obituaries, Stuart Baylin and The Family did not allow them to attend her funeral and waited over a year to inform all the children of their mother's death. On May 21, 1991 Judge Campora ordered that the Frouman children be presented to the court and ordered the Chief of Police of Buenos Aires to find them. Despite numerous inquiries, Stuart Baylin and The Family refused to produce the children and continued to hide them in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

On April 13, 1993, Claire Borowik and Stuart Baylin, partially complied with the Court's May 1991 order and appeared before the court with the two eldest children. They both refused to produce the two younger children and refused to say where they were. In her April 14, 1993 deposition, Borowik claimed she first became aware of the existence of the Court's May 1991 order to return the children while attending a public conference on sects in which a lawyer spoke about the Frouman case and other pending cases involving The Family. Borowik also claimed to have once had written permission from Ruth Frouman to have temporary custody of Emmanuel David Frouman but said she had lost all copies of the alleged document and thus could not produce it. In May 1993, the two older children were returned to their relatives in the United States and in the same month, Stuart Baylin fled with the two younger children to Uruguay. Around the same time, a separate criminal case (Causa No. 37.790) against Stuart Baylin was filed in Juzgado Criminal No. 8 under the supervision of Dr. Robertoi Guillermo Boracci. On at least three occasions, Stuart Baylin failed to appear before the court as ordered. In June 1993, Judge Campora requested the intervention of Federal Judge Roberto Marquevich to investigate matters beyond the jurisdiction of the minor's court. In September 1993, shortly after raids on Family homes in Argentina were unsuccessful in locating the missing children, Stuart Baylin fled with the missing children from Uruguay to Brazil and from there to Mexico. On February 8, 1994, Emmanuel David Frouman died in Orlando, Florida. In mid-1997, the youngest of the missing Frouman children was returned to his relatives in the United States.

Court Filings

Note: This list is incomplete. More court filings will be added to it as they become available. Most documents are in Spanish. English translations will be added as they become available.

Related Cases and Legal Documents

  • Cause No. 317, 213. "In the matter of the marriage of Ruth E. Frouman and Cary L. Frouman and in the interests of EDF, PSF, DPF, JMF, and MQF, minor children." 53rd District Court of Travis County, Texas. USA
  • Case 81/89 Cavazza, Juan C. and others — on Inf. Art.125, 139, 140, 142, Par.l, 142 bis, 210, 293 of the Code of Proceedings and art.3 of Law 23,592," Federal Court of San Isidro, 1 Sec.2 Office II, Reg. 443.


The Family's Position and Defense

Other than the April 1993 depositions of Stuart Baylin and Claire Borowik, which Judge Campora determined contained compelling evidence of criminal offenses against the Frouman children and their parents, there is not much in the court filings regarding the legal defense and positions of The Family, Claire Borowik, Stuart Baylin and others. This is not surprising because Stuart Baylin, Claire Borowik and The Family violated the court's orders and the law rather than defend themselves and their actions in court. However, it is possible to ascertain certain aspects of their defense and position from their sworn statements, public statements by Family spokespersons and other sources.

By Statement Source and Date Notes
Stuart Baylin "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 the declarant and the children never had any intention of escaping Justice." Stuart Baylin Deposition - 1993-04-14 According to the records in the case and his own deposition, Mr. Baylin fled to Paraguay after the court's 1991 order to present all the children and after both the mother and father of the children had made it clear to him that they wanted their children back. Despite Mr. Baylin's statement that it was his intention to present all four children to the court as ordered, in fact he only presented the two older children. Despite Mr. Baylin's statement that he "never had any intention of escaping Justice," in fact in May 1993 he fled with the two younger children to Montevideo, Uruguay and in September 1993 he fled with them to Brazil and later to Mexico. He was also summoned to appear several times before a criminal court in Argentina and failed to appear and thus, he is a fugitive from Argentine justice and, under Argentine law, the statute of limitations for the crimes he committed has been suspended.
Stuart Baylin "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 he remembers that on October 3 [1990], 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." Stuart Baylin Deposition - 1993-04-14 Mr. Baylin's statement makes it very clear that the children's mother wanted her children returned to her and he refused to return them.
Claire Borowik, Family spokesperson "That in the years she had known the Frouman minors she has noted that they have a great deal of respect for Mr. Baylin, whom they love and call papa, and that he has always acted to fulfill every one of their needs in a sincerely admirable form." Icon pdf.gifDeposition — 1993-04-14 The Frouman children have alleged that Mr. Baylin terrorized and severely physically abused them for many years and that his actions to care for them and and provide "for every one of their needs" included beatings that resulted in severe pain, bleeding, bruises, black eyes, broken teeth, broken bones and permanent physical scars. Furthermore, at the time she made her statement, Ms. Borowik was fully aware of the acts of severe physical abuse against the Frouman children by Stuart Baylin as Emmanuel and Peter Frouman reported these to her in person in 1987, Ruth Frouman reported them to her and others in writing when Ms. Borowik was a leader in Argentina, and others also reported them to her at various times prior to her April 1993 statement.
Claire Borowik, Family spokesperson "That Emanuel always visited his mother, his aunt and his father and that this is the norm of the community. " Icon pdf.gifDeposition — 1993-04-14 Ms. Borowik's statements indicate that the norm of the Family is to separate young children from their parents for extended periods of time with little or no contact and to not allow terminally ill parents to spend the last few years of their lives with their children. From July 18, 1987, when she was expelled from the Family, until she died on March 12, 1991, Ruth Frouman only saw her eldest son Emanuel on two occasions - during brief visits in June 1989 and September 1990. From 1982 until 1993, Emanuel Frouman only saw his father on one occasion - during a brief visit in June 1989. From July 18, 1987, when she was expelled from the Family, until she died on March 12, 1991, Ruth Frouman only saw her three youngest children on one occasion - during a brief visit, lasting approximately four days, in October 1990 and at this time Stuart Baylin and the Family refused to return her children to her as she had repeatedly requested in the last four years of her life. Mr. Frouman did not see his oldest child from 1982 until 1989, his second child from 1982 until November 1988, his third child from 1982 until 1993 and his youngest two children from 1982 until 1997.
Timothy Richards, Family spokesperson "The San Jose Mercury News, published one day earlier, on September 3, revealed: "Marquevich said the impetus for the investigation came from pleas by two American families who had failed to get the group to give back their children. Argentine court authorities said the U.S. embassy had shown great interest in the case." If the previously quoted press reports are accurate, that the American government was indeed interested in any of the children in our Argentine communities, all they had to do was ask us, and we would have provided them with whatever information they requested. Our communities in Buenos Aires were open to the public, receiving visitors daily." The Family in Argentina, A Church Under Siege — 1993-09-24 The information was requested and never provided. The Family International and its representatives and members, including Susan Claire Borowik, Stuart Baylin, Mario Roberto Torres and Alice Sophia Dow, were questioned numerous times about the whereabouts of the missing Frouman children and repeatedly lied and refused to tell the authorities, the parents and the relatives where the Frouman children were.
Timothy Richards, Family spokesperson "On September 2nd The Associated Press reported that the court was charging Family adults with "conspiracy to kidnap and conceal children." (Ed.: It should be noted that all of the children found in our homes were our own children, who were living with their own biological parents. The only "kidnapping" that took place was when the police ripped them away from their parents.) The Family in Argentina, A Church Under Siege — 1993-09-24 The court record and the April 14, 1993 sworn statements by both Claire Borowik and Stuart Baylin make it clear that the abducted Frouman children were not "living with their own biological parents" and, in fact, had been illegally separated from their parents for many years in, as Judge Campora ruled, violation of their human rights and the laws of Argentina.
Claire Borowik, Family spokesperson "I did everything I could to assist Lucas [Emanuel David Frouman] and [DPF] during the time the judge in Mercedes illegally had them sent to the States against their will (they were technically not under the jurisdiction of a minors court)... I had nothing to do with anything pertaining to your personal family, other than assisting Lucas [Emanuel David Frouman] and [DPF] whom I felt responsible for at the time, as they resided at the same community I did (though technically they were no longer minors), through a difficult time when they were forced to leave the Family against their will...I was not involved in any way shape or form. When I discovered that the court in Mercedes was seeking Manoli (Emanuel David Frouman] and [DPF] at the request of your aunt, I presented myself spontaneously to the court to assist in their investigation..." Icon pdf.gifEmail from Claire Borowik to Peter Frouman — 2005-04-19 The orders of Judge Campora to return the children to their father and their other surviving relatives was not "illegal." In fact, it was in accordance with the laws of Argentina and the United States. Furthermore, Judge Campora ruled that the actions of Stuart Baylin, Claire Borowik and the Family violated the fundamental human rights of the Frouman children and their parents and violated the laws of Argentina. Contrary to Ms. Borowik's assertion that the Frouman children were " longer minors" in fact, in April 1993, the Frouman children were ages 12 to 20 and In Argentina anyone under 21 is a minor under the law. Ms. Borowik may be referring to the Family's "law" at the time that children over 12 were adults and not minors. Contrary to Ms. Borowik's assertion that the Frouman children were "technically not under the jurisdiction of a minor's court," in fact they were, in accordance with Argentine law, under the jurisdiction of the Minor's Court of Mercedes and this jurisdiction was affirmed in the December 13, 1993 majority San Martin appeals court decision of Federal Judges Mansur and Prack. Contrary to Ms. Borowik's assertion, the court was not seeking the Frouman children at the request of their aunt but rather at the request of their mother and father. Furthermore, they were seeking all four abducted children and not just the minors she names. Despite Ms. Borowik's statement that she was "not involved in any way shape or form," the records of the case and the recollections of the Frouman children whom she allegedly conspired to abduct make it clear that she was deeply involved in the case and the conspiracy to abduct the Frouman children.

Legal References

Listed below are references to applicable laws in the relevant jurisdictions. Other jurisdictions whose laws were allegedly violated by the actions of Stuart Harris Baylin, The Family and others include Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and the U.S. states of Arizona and New Mexico.