Affidavits on Grace Stoen

FF-9-B-3

[Editor’s note: The signed version of this affidavit of Joe Wilson appears here.]

I was a frequent houseguest of the Stoen’s and as a consequence was exposed to some bizarre behavior on the part of Grace Stoen. She often wrestled with me and brushed against my privates in a rough manner, obviously attempting sexual stimulation. She would then say, “What’s the matter, can’t you take it?” On other occasions she would run in front of me totally nude and asked [the] same question, above mentioned. She also did this in front of me in the presence of Emmett Griffith, Jr.

I began wondering how she kept her accounting in order when she handled some of the finances because she would give me gas money from church funds and not require receipts nor an accounting of any kind. This happened often and regularly. I saw her give Melanie Briedenbach money for personal clothing from the petty cash box in the church office.

She didn’t spend time with her son like she should have, and I know she had plenty of spare time because she frequently took me out to dinner, several times driving all the way to San Francisco from Redwood Valley, just to eat at a restaurant. This is a six hour drive both ways alone.

On other occasions I saw her neglect her son for the sake of her affair with Walter Jones, many times she would leave John with me or other people and leave with Walter. This caused John a great deal of anxiety and tears. She even went as far as to push John aside, drop his hand, take Walter’s hand and leave.

[blank signature line]
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnessed:
[2 blank signature lines]

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FF-9-B-4

[Editor’s note: The signed version of this affidavit appears here.]

Jonestown, Port Kaituma
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Joan Pursley

I, [blank signature line], duly sworn, declare:

During the time that Grace Stoen was a member of People’s Temple she was very neglectful of her son John. On one of our Summer trips I was in a park watching John and she walked over to where we were and said that she would be back in a few minutes and would take John to the store. After she left he turned to me and said that he didn’t believe she would be back because she didn’t care about him. We didn’t see Grace until late that night. That kind of obvious neglect was very upsetting.

Another thing that really bothered me about Grace Stoen was the way in which she manipulated John. She would grab him and squeeze him then say things like, “Do you love me?” The unhealthy emphasis being centered on John supporting her emotional needs instead of the reverse. I felt that the affection that she sporadically gave the child was inappropriate, I would not term it as affection so much as a satiation of her own needs.

[blank signature line]
DATED August 13, 1977
Witnesses
[2 blank signature lines]

——

FF-9-B-5

[Editor’s note: A version of this affidavit – with witness signatures – appears here.]

Jonestown, Port Kaituma,
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Emmett Griffith, Jr.

I, Emmett Griffith, Jr, being duly sworn, declare:

Grace Stoen did some things that were shocking to me when I was about 16 or 17 years old. She would run across a room in her apartment totally nude and laugh at the reaction it caused, she would say, “What’s the matter, can’t you take it?” She did this quite often.

She would make exceptions for certain people in her capacity as financial secretary and not require accounting for money she distributed from Peoples Temple funds. She told Joe Wilson and myself that we didn’t need to worry about gas receipts, she didn’t need them. We got gas money from her frequently.

I saw her on many occasions flaunt her relationship with Walter Jones in front of her son John. She would often leave the child behind to accompany Walter somewhere else.

/s/ Emmett Griffith, Jr
Dated: August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[2 blank signature lines]

——

FF-9-B-6

[Editor’s note: A version of this affidavit – signed one day later and with witness signatures – appears here.]

Jonestown, Port Kaituma,
Northwest District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Wesley Breidenbach

I, Wesley Breidenbach, being duly sworn, declare:

I saw Grace Stoen take funds from Peoples Temple cash boxes and spend it on herself. Upon one occasion she gave me $70.00 to buy some clothes out of a cash box and she never asked me for any money back or receipts of for any accounting of the money whatsoever.

Concerning her child John, I felt that she left him alone too much with too many people and because of that he suffered long periods of rejection. These periods of rejection were frequent.

/s/ Wesley Breidenbach
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[2 blank signature lines]

——

FF-9-B-7

Jonestown, Port Kaituma
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Edith Bogue

I, Edith Bogue, being duly sworn, declare:

When John Stoen was an infant Grace Stoen would bring him to my house and leave him. She wouldn’t say where she was going or when she was coming back, she would return hours later. When John was only a few months old she would hold him up and swing him around by his arms. I was afraid she would break his arm or his collarbone. She also called him names like crazy John Stoen.

Her conduct around young boys from 10 years old and up was very seductive. She did this around John all the time.

Edith Bogue
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[2 blank signature lines]

——

FF-9-B-8

Jonestown, Port Kaituma
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Barbara Cordell

I, Barbara J. Cordell being duly sworn, declare:

Grace was having difficulty with John during the period when he developed severe facial tic. She brought into my home to care for him for an extended period of time. Within a matter of two week[s] away from her he was free of this tic.

Grace generally could not handle John. He told her that he hated her and she could not deal with this. During her visits with John while he was living in my home if he happened to be naughty, she would bring him to me to deal with.

/s/ Barbara J. Cordell
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[2 blank signature lines]

——

FF-9-B-9

[Editor’s note: A version of this affidavit – with witness signatures – appears here.]

Jonestown, Port Kaituma
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Danny K. Kutulas

I, Danny K. Kutulas, being duly sworn declare:

Grace was one of my house guests in my apartment in the Fall of 1975. She was aware of my serious marital problems at the time. On the occasion that the others left the apartment Grace, who was clad in a thin gown, threw open her arms and said, “Would you like to fuck me?” I said, “You’re nuts.” and walked out of the apartment. I feel this typifies her immature narcissism.

/s/ Danny K. Kutulas
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[2 blank signature lines]

——

FF-9-B-11

Jonestown, Port Kaituma
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Maria Katsaris

I, Maria Katsaris being duly sworn, declare:

Grace Stoen has always made it clear that Jim Jones is the father of her son John V. Stoen. She would explode with anger if and when Tim Stoen said anything about the rearing of the child or made any criticism of her parental abilities, which he did frequently and accurately. She stated that Tim Stoen had absolutely nothing to do with the child. She was quite emphatic on that point.

/s/ Maria Katsaris
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[2 blank witness signature lines]

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FF-9-B-12

[Editor’s note: A different version of this affidavit – signed one day later and with witness signatures – appears here.]

Port Kaituma
Guyana

Affidavit of
Lynetta P. Jones

I, [blank signature space], being duly sworn, declare:

A number of times while I was living in my son, James Jones’s home in Redwood Valley, California, Grace Stoen called him. I answered the phone myself on several occasions to hear Grace tearfully asking to speak to Jim. These conversations would continue for hours. One could not avoid hearing parts of them just working around the kitchen.

Another time Grace Stoen came to our house in the same state of mind, crying loudly. She even approached the other teenage boys living in the house, trying to tell them her problems. When Jim discovered that she had done this he put a stop to look at once. He had already apprised the entire household of the situation. Grace’s hysteria certainly necessitated this.

John spent many hours with us at the house. He often spent the night and always returned home regretfully. He protested having to go back with Grace on many occasions.

Grace openly stated to me that my son, James Jones was the true father of John.

August 13, 1977
Signed: /s/ Lynetta P. Jones
Witness: [blank signature line]

——

FF-9-B-13

[Editor’s note: An almost identical version of this affidavit – signed one day later and with witness signatures – appears here.]

Georgetown, Guyana

Affidavit of
Carolyn M. Layton

I, Carolyn M. Layton, being duly sworn, declare:

As a member of People’s Temple and a counselor in the organization for a long time. I have had several experiences relating to Grace Stoen which the following will describe.

On one occasion shortly after John Stoen was born Grace went up to the altar of the church to talk to Jim Jones. She was crying and he called my [me] up to talk with her as well. She complained that she felt like committing suicide and was unhappy with Tim Stoen as her husband. She suggested marrying Jim Jones. Jim said to her very kindly that this was not possible. He then called up her husband Tim to let him know how she was feeling so he could counsel with her.

On another occasion I went to Grace’s house and she was taking care of John. He was quite young. She was sobbing and crying loudly about her problems while holding her son John. At the time I thought it was very inappropriate that she be demonstrating such strong depression in front of the child. She did this often.

Grace constantly complained that people slighted her and that she was not treated well by people. Considering the kind of emotional pressure she placed on everyone around her I thought such an accusation was utterly ridiculous. I found people to be extremely tolerant of her. She responded like a child to almost all adults around her, requiring constant praise and reassurance in order to function.

Grace was very flirtatious around teenage boys and I remember her kissing Vincent Lopez on the lips  one time. Another time she kissed John in the mouth in front of me. Other young men complained of similar approaches made by her.

Grace Stoen is an emotional cripple. Because of her serious emotional problems I definitely feel she should not be allowed to remove John from his present very satisfying environment. I have known Grace all of the years she has been in Peoples Temple. I can say with utmost conviction that she was given every possible opportunity to grow; she was given far more hours of counseling time and attention than almost any troubled person who came to the Temple for help. I saw her talk to Jim Jones until he looked like he were about to pass out from exhaustion. One occasion while she was talking to him, I saw him fall to his knees and medical personnel had to come and administer oxygen. From my viewpoint he gave all that he could to help her and she took all she could. It would be cruel and inhumane to take John Stoen from his father and return him to his mother.

/s/ Carolyn M. Layton
August 13, 1977
Witness: [line blank]

——

FF-9-B-15

[Editor’s note: This affidavit also appears here.]

Jonestown, Port Kaituma
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Christine R. Lucientes

I, Christine R. Lucientes, being duly sworn, declare:

Grace Stoen spoke freely to me of the fact that James W. Jones is the father of her son John V. Stoen. In fact she never indicated to the contrary, ever. Indeed, when she talked to John about his father Jim Jones she referred to them as “your dad.”

/s/ Christine R. Lucientes
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[two witness signature lines blank]

——

FF-9-B-16-17, 19

[Editor’s note: This affidavit appears in its complete form here.]

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FF-9-B-18

Jonestown, Port Kaituma
North West District, Guyana

Affidavit of
Christine R. Lucientes

I, Christine R. Lucientes, being duly sworn, declare:

Grace Stoen was a friend of mine for several years and I had the opportunity to become acquainted with some of her negative personality traits. Because I babysat her son on a consistent basis I further was made aware of the affect [effect] that those patterns had on him.

Grace is a very immature person whose narcissism requires continual positive support from others, including her son. Instead of being a supportive mother to the needs of John Stoen, she sought reassurance from the child himself. I have heard her frequently ask him if he loved her, if the child didn’t answer in a manner that seemed appropriate to her, her face showed vivid disappointment. I felt the child was unduly pressured by such emotional expectations and acted out accordingly.

I recall on a bus trip back to San Francisco from Los Angeles that Grace was awakened from her sleep and asked to attend to her child that she had left without appointing anyone to supervise. She became hysterical at what she interpreted to be a criticism of her abilities as a mother. In front of the child she shrieked, pulled her hair, hit her head against the bus window and slugged herself. Not only was John upset by this display but several children had incredulous looks upon their faces. I was shocked.

After his mother had abandoned him John expressed to me great hostility and fear of Walter Jones. He related a childish fantasy to me of how he would kill Walter if he tried to take him away to Grace. [2 lines illegible due to over-typing] were ever to be put in Grace’s care again.

/s/ Christine R. Lucientes
Dated August 13, 1977
Witnesses:
[two witness signature lines blank]

Originally posted on March 5th, 2021.

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