Moreno 1045-2000-ROSARIO * Ituzaingo 827-Dpto.3-2000-ROSARIO (Argentina)
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Re: My reply to Eduardo Lause, ex-member in Argentina

From: Peter Frouman
Date: 19 Dic 2000
Time: 09:19:04

Dear Eduardo, I know quite a bit about some of these events and while I would rather forget about most of this, I feel it is neccessary to clarify and respond to some of the statements in Eduardo's letter and Ed's (Hart) response. [Eduardo Lause wrote:] > You know that the Judges, the legal experts, the policemen and the lawyers > became more and more astonished as they advanced in their investigations, which > had started with the search for the Frouman children. It was the mother who > first abducted them from their father because he wasn?t with the Family. But > then she was kicked out when she got ill with cancer because she was no longer > of any use to the Family, but they didn?t allow her to take her children, they > didn?t even allow her to see her children before she died. First of all, while some of the above is correct, the part about my mom abducting her children from their father after he left the Family is completely inaccurate. As is standard practice in most U.S. divorce proceedings, as the mother she got full custody and he only had visitation rights. Secondly, while the Family leadership displayed an incredible lack of sensitivity and basic human decency in their handling of this case, they did not stop her from visiting her children and she saw them about 4 months before her death. However, they did not inform the children that their mother had passed away until several months after the event and subsequently cut off all communication with the children's surviving relatives. Finally I would like to answer some of the questions Ed (Hart) asked in his response to Eduardo's letter. [Ed (Hart) wrote:] > Are you saying that the whole investigation and raids and imprisonments of >Family members in Argentina, stemmed from the Frouman case? [...] > I believe someone or a group of people were pushing to ?get? the Family, and > the heartbreaking events of the Frouman case were their pretext to raid all > Family Homes. I have often heard from various sources (including my own relatives) that the Frouman case was what started the investigation that led to the raids. However, from what I know I would have to strongly disagree with this assertion. While the Family might have been able to avoid some of the problems they had by simply producing all the Frouman children earlier, the 1993 raids did not occur until months after two of the Frouman children had been returned to their father and the other two had left the country with their mother's second husband (who was not the father of any of the children and never had legal custody of them). The 1989 investigations and raids (in Bahia Blanca and elsewhere) ocurred before my mother filed her complaint. Shortly after my mother filed her original complaint seeking the return of her children, she was informed that the authorities were already investigating The Family on other unrelated matters and that her complaint and any other information she could provide would be useful in their endeavours. But it seems clear to me that while they were indeed investigating the group and even had some Family homes under surveillance for several months, they never made a serious effort to find the Frouman children. Thus, I would have to agree with Ed that while the case may have been used by some individuals as a pretext for the raids, the actual investigations leading up to the raids were motivated by a completely different agenda than simply finding the Frouman children and returning them to their father and relatives in the U.S. In fact, after her death in March 1991, the Frouman case was mostly inactive although the investigation of the Family on other mostly unrelated matters continued. Thus, the investigation of the Family started before my mother filed her original complaint and continued after the authorities had mostly forgotten about it. Before her death, my mother received several offers of resources and assistance to locate and retrieve her children without the involving the legal authorities who were not really doing anything about finding them. However, it was ultimately decided that that such an action might be too traumatic for the children and that it was better to let the legal and law enforcement process run its course. There was also a major concern that if such an action were unsuccessful finding the children again would become much more difficult. [Ed (Hart) wrote:] > One thing you have never mentioned though, is how the Frouman case turned out. > Did the father eventually get his children? Was the issue resolved? I would be > very glad to hear more details, and I?m sure everyone on this board would as > well. [...] In March 1993 (during the Waco/Branch Davidian standoff), the case was revived as the result of inquiries and pressure from the U.S. State Department on behalf of the U.S. relatives (who had discovered the children were in Paraguay after the U.S. embassy in Asuncion requested parental permission to renew one of the children's passports) It was only at this point that any serious effort was made to find and return the Frouman children. Through their usual sources the Family leadership received advance notice of the revived investigation and came up with their own plan to resolve the issue. Their offer was to return the two older (ages 20 and 17) children and the plan was for the older children to return to the Family as soon as the 17-year old turned 18 and the 20 year-old arrived in the U.S. (As he was under 21, he was considered a minor in Argentina). The Family leaders and my mother's second husband (who was not the father of any of her children, did not have legal custody, and from whom she had been separated since 1986) refused to say where the younger children were or comply with the court order that they be returned to their father and the other U.S. relatives. However, despite personally questioning him several times, neither the Court nor the police ever arrested him or took any action to compel him to produce the children. This was just one of many times when the authorities in Argentina had the oppurtunity and ability to find and return all the Frouman children but for whatever reasons failed to do so. I find it somehwhat ironic that the Argentine authorities passed up the chance to arrest the person who had illegal custody of the Frouman children and was probably guilty of kidnapping and other crimes and yet they had no problems with detaining hundreds of innocent Family children and adults in the raids that occurred a few months later. In April 1993, the two older children were released into the custody of a juvenile institution in Buenos Aires where they, for reasons I still don't fully understand, spent almost two months before being returned to their relatives in Texas and Tennessee. After spending several months with their relatives both of them decided not to return to the Family. In February 1994, several months after he returned from Argentina my older brother died of pneumonia in Florida. Once again, the Family waited months before even bothering to inform his younger brothers (who were still in the Family) that yet another one of their relatives had died. The two youngest Frouman children remained in hiding in various countries in Latin America and were not allowed to have any communication with their U.S. relatives. Finally in 1996, the younger children were located and contact was re-estblished several months after an email inquiry was sent to someone at the Family website. The youngest one finally left the Family when he was 16. The other one is still somewhat involved with the Family. As I hope I have made clear, the investigations in Argentina and the raids played almost no role in returning these children to their relatives. They returned and/or got back in touch with their relatives only when they and the Family decided it was the right time to do so. I really did not mean to write this much and although my account is undoubtedly incomplete, I would hope it will set the record straight somewhat.
Peter S. Frouman (

Re: to Peter Frouman

From: ex-member
Date: 19 Dec 2000
Time: 11:03:42

Thanks Peter, for writing all of this. There is much that can be said, but the thing that comes to mind over and over in readiing so many testimonies is how in the world could Berg and the leadership create a world where natural affection, personal family ties etc. did not mean anything at all? I know so many parents that were denied being able to see their children after they left (many even in the group since often children were taken away to other places once they turned 12 or so) and that "policy" went on for years. I think Berg and the Family caused a lot of the trouble that ensued to themselves. A lot of what they did when it came to children and nuclear families was absolutely unlawful and criminal. They need to apologize to themselves. I do not know of any other 'Christian' group that shows such little regard for the legitimacy of the nuclear family. They call this love? I wish you well and thank you again for the info you posted.


Some of my comments to Ed

From: marina
Date: 18 Dec 2000
Time: 23:52:31

Dear Ed,
I just wanted to let you know that I am following with much attention the exchanges on the board. I have been in touch with Eduardo as well in the past, so it is interesting to see how the exchange progresses. Two comments just coming to mind as I have read the long letters: we may have to remain open to the fact that much like in the Florida election, we may never really know all the FACTS involved in the Argentina story. There was a lot of lying on the part of the F. in so many cases that it is difficult to know when what they say is real or not. All I know is that Rick and the other ex-members involved did not lie. Everything else is not clear. The clear cut abuse cases are undeniable - but as far as the whole operation I don't think it will be possible to come to terms with all the factors/variables involved in the event. I noticed that you are trying to reestablish some connection with the F. and make efforts to be...diplomatic and kind. I also noticed that somehow your focus is skewed or bent more towards the "apology" issue, which is a needed one, but not enough towards the accountability issue for all the ones who have had permanent and longlasting damage from what was perpetrated to them on the part of the F. and their leadership. Perhaps it could be because you were able to create yourself a whole new life and the children you raise do not show those scars to you every day, or because you have not lived so close to someone who died to end the nightmare of what the Victor Camps have wrought. I really do believe that living with that daily makes a difference in the way we look at things. I was surprised you did not remember those passages in the Devil Hates Sex. I have for many many years, because they were engraved on my skin. {erhaps your time in the F. was not laden with traumatic events, and I am glad for you, but I don't think any apology can ever clear something that requires more than an apology. The apology is something you can start with. When you mentioned Mark (Lonnie Davis) and the person he apologized to S. I could not tell if you know her or not. I do, I met her in person and I am not sure that 'formal and circumstantial' 'apology' on Mark's part did much to change the results of what he had done. Did you talk to her about that? I think this gives the wrong idea to readers and to ppl who are still in the F.'s mindset that 'apologies' can solve issues that are bigger than words. It simply does not work that way. What do you think? I understand the angle you have, but I am not sure you can see other angles, from where you stand. If you cannot take Ricky's picture out of your mind, think what it is like for me - I have seen first hand the damage wrought to him by ppl's criminal behavior whose 'apology' will never ever be sufficient (nobody EVER apologized for what was done to him - he was vilified - the infamous prophecy from the dead is still part of cmembers literature today) to undo that kind of damage. Coming clean with the facts and the horrors that took place is different from 'apologizing.' I understand you are trying to do that in your own life, but I do not see many doing the same, especially the ones who bear the greatest responsibilities. I wonder if some of what you say may take attention away from the 'other side of the coin.' Pls understand these are my honest thoughts and I am just passing them on to you. If they stimulate any thinking on your part, fine - but if not, you are welcome to discard them. :) Just some thoughts in processing. I wish you and your family a good holiday period. It is always interesting to read you. Love,


Marina, thank you for your letter

From: Ed
Date: 19 Dec 2000
Time: 02:08:35

Dear Marina,
Thank you for your letter. Yes, a lot of what really happened behind the scenes in Argentina, we may never know. That's part of what held me back for so long in making my apology. I just didn't know enough facts about what had happened. I didn't know what had happened to Family members in prison, nor to the children in the Institutions, and I didn't know what the police were doing behind the scenes. This is why my letter was not only an apology to the Family members, but a series of questions to Hugo Gabutti. I asked questions because I didn't know the answers, but I had seen and heard enough to have questions raised in my mind. And I think through all this asking of questions, and with Eduardo Lause and Hugo Gabutti now writing replies, we're starting to get a clearer picture. What I really wish is that Family members who were in Argentina would post something and I really don't understand why they don't. As far as establishing a connection with the Family, I hope some bridges of understanding and forgiveness have been built, and I do believe that has happened, but as far as any ongoing dialogue either on the boards or to my e-mail address, no, not much has happened. Yes, I am trying to be diplomatic and kind. Why not? I believe it can accomplish a lot more than adjectives and heat. My focus has been bent toward the apology issue because that is where I started, and as I mentioned in my letter to Eduardo Lause, I'm realizing just how vital that is. I don't pretend to have a clear course set ahead of me on all these issues yet. I'm just beginning. I'm still just taking in the power of apology and forgiveness, and will move on to the more complex issues from there. But without that foundation in place, I believe my focus would be "skewed." But yes, you are correct about the issue of accountability for those who inflicted permanent and lasting damage. You're right that I never personally suffered that much in the Family, at least not like some people have, and certainly not like Rick and others. Rick and I talked about that in Argentina. When I wanted to leave WS and return to Canada, leadership let me. When Rick wanted to go home and visit his parents, they put him through hell in the Victors Camp. And I do have three small children, so in many ways I'm surrounded by a whole new life. And I wasn't with Ricky those last months before he died, though I was in telephone contact from time to time. You said, "I don't think any apology can ever clear something that requires more than an apology. The apology is something you can start with." I agree. But in many cases, even a sincere apology was not forthcoming, when that alone would have been sufficient to help someone heal. Sometimes a sincere, heartfelt apology IS really enough, but as you say, in other cases, it's only a starting place. Regarding the young woman Mark apologized to, yes, I did speak with her, and she was the one who mentioned that he had apologized and said that it meant a lot to her. I was still in a radical mode at that time and I was upset when she shared that. I didn't want her to be neutralized by an apology that I felt may not have cost Mark much. But then I realized that that young lady was there and I wasn't, and she had to be the judge of his sincerity. Not me. His apology was important to her so that she could go on with her life, so I backed off from trying to stir her up. You're right that mere apologies can't resolve issues that are bigger than words. But don't underestimate the power of forgiveness. There's tremendous healing there. But yes, in cases like Rick, where the abuse and the damage went beyond words, an apology would have been a beginning. It could have saved Rick's life. He needed an apology to literally survive, to hang on to life. And it was never forthcoming. Had he been given a sincere apology shortly after leaving Japan, he very likely would never have become the "enemy" he became in the first place. Even in his early Letters, David Berg admitted that the Family often created enemies by their foolish and harsh treatment of people. Please also note that said in my letter, "I can't pretend to speak for all ex-members, and some may have tales of horror that may shock us all, but whenever possible, restorative justice is preferable." Rick fits into that category of suffering that needed more than an apology, yet don't you think that Rick, more than most people you and I could possibly hope to meet, was searching for inner peace? Yes, Rick suffered horrible injustices in that Victor Camp, but do you picture his flame of anger burning forever? I can't. Do you think in his final months he would have wanted money from a lawsuit or wholeness? I'm not attempting to take attention away from the other side of the coin, for things that need more than apologies, but you are right in that I'm focusing on the issues of forgiveness and dialogue at this point. I am hoping that some truly lasting good can come of it. I at least want to give it a try.

You want my comments? Can you answer a question?

Your question about the raids in Argentina is a big question. I believe the raids were the right thing and putting the Family members in jail was the rigtht thing and take the kids away from the Cult is the right thing. What I am disapointed about is that in the end the COGs got away with it. I don't know all the reason, and the mistakes and what more should had been done, but maybe we can learn from from this and do It better in the future. As you know 14 year olds are masturbating to Jesus etc. The cult is just as crazy as it ever was. It is very sad that they were able to get away with it in all the cases. The only case where they got in trouble was the English court case and they paid a high price for it. It was proven that the children were abuses etc. But enen there the child was returned to the cult. And that is very sad. Take care xxx