Cooperative Republic of Guyana
I, James Jones, being duly sworn, declare:
These are my experiences and observations:
I recall the situation with Grace Stoen was getting very bleak and it appeared that time was running out. Different members would come to me with reports that she was going against our ethical principles and planning on leaving. Tim Stoen thought this also and he said to me in the parking lot of our Redwood Valley church, “Do whatever you can” and he emphasized “anything of a sexual nature that would keep her”. After he had said that, that same night Mrs. Patty Cartmell and I located her some way. I don’t remember how we found her. Since Tim had to emphasize sex I considered it as a means, otherwise, I would not have done it, because I felt a loyalty to him and would have done nothing to hurt him. My teaching of principle and my concern as a pastor had not reached her, not a sermon had ever seemed to move her. It seems that necessity was the mother of invention and Patty Cartmell lived in the house next to the church. I wanted someone there to verify that it was principle; it wasn’t a romantic thing. I was greatly bothered by the situation, having had an upbringing which emphasized one-man-one woman relationships. That is the way I have been conditioned. I also needed help because it was a trafficked area. I wanted the woman prepared not to have a baby. Patty Cartmell gave her various preventatives obviously which did not work. It is strange that the girl could have ever believed that there was anything personal, if she ever did. Most times when she spoke she indicated that she didn’t believe that there was anything personal, but then there would be moments when she would suggest that there was some romance. She would ask “Could I love her?” or “Could we get married?” What a terrible hate she has, based I guess on rejection. One time I recall she said she loved me or something of that sort. Anyway, the situation with Patty there was most odd as it seems that the bed toppled over and we somehow had to get it straightened around and people were coming and going in the house and Patty was trying to keep them from knowing what was going on. To me, I failed to notice any joy in it, I just remember them laughing as I recall. If I did laugh it was just to be polite. I didn’t like her; I didn’t like her from the first time I saw her. I thought she was a snob because she did not consider the feelings of black people around her. She would sit and pull long strans [strands] of hair in almost an autistic manner and sometimes she would even rock back and forth as very disturbed people often do. At first I had compassion for her as an emotionally sick person, but her total obsession with her own problems and her obvious rudeness to other members made my patience grow somewhat short although I tried not to show this.
As time went on she informed me that she was pregnant by me. She insisted that she had had no relationship with her husband Tim Stoen and that the child was definitely mine. I tried in every way to encourage her to have an abortion. At the time she must have had some attachment to me because she seemed to insist on going ahead and having the child. We even had an abortion arranged, but she seemed to be unable to cope with the idea emotionally and thuse [thus] it was not persued [pursued] further.
After John Stoen was born, she again appeared to be falling apart emotionally and she came up to the church podium after a meeting to tell me she was going to commit suicide if I did not marry her. I told her I did not see how that would be possible and in that she was married to a man who was thoroughly familiar with the situation and was indeed prepared to be the legal father (as well as being economically well off), I felt it would only hurt others. It seemed grossly unfair and it seemed to be the point at which too much was required. Maybe it would have made a difference. I can’t say that it would have or would not have. I have always had guilt in thinking I possibly could have done a little more. On this particular occasion I called Tim up to the podium along with another church counselor who was also familiar with the situation. I wanted them to be alert to her emotional problems and maintains [maintain] some kind of watch on her to make sure she didn’t actually try suicide. It was hard to tell how much of her behavior was manipulation for attention and how much was totally irratic [erratic] to the point of real suicide, but I wanted to make sure she had conscientious help. Grace was always a very manic depressive personality. She was either estatic [ecstatic], or morosely depressed beyond the normal limits. Many others in the church witnessed her crying spells go on for hours. She would also call my home on the phone and go into a weeping session for long periods of time, which made everyone in the house (my wife, mother, and housekeeper) made special note of. She constantly berated her husband Tim, even threatening to kill him on several occasions. She complained that he did not spend time with her and that he acted in a condescending manner toward her.
Grace often wept in front of John for long periods of time, which was of great concern to me. In fact I am keeping John, not because I want to deprive her of him, but because I deeply believe she is injurious to him, because of her long history of mental imbalance. She was very irratic with him, at times screaming at him and the next trying to kiss him seductively on the mouth, and manipulating him in ways I felt were very dangerous to his own normal development. I love John, as much as in the father could love a son, but it is not just that I love him which makes me firmly bent on keeping him. It is my fear of what would happen to him, if he were reared by her and her boyfriend Walter Jones whom I know to be a rascist [racist]. I know beyond any doubt that she would express her emotional imbalance to him and her companion would take his obvious hostility out on him. Both have expressed open hate towards me and many parishioners noted that she was fiercely hostile and even violent at times in a manner suggesting that she was taking out her anger for me on him.
Grace herself told me three months after she left John to go off with Walter Jones that she thought John was indeed better off with me. At one point she said, “take him, he’s yours anyway.” At that time I gave her a round trip ticket to the place where we both agreed he would best for him. She later cashed in the part of the ticket that was refundable to her. At an earlier time I had given her $3000.00 as some security for the child with the idea that she would keep the money for him. She later took all the money and reportedly spent it on herself.
Two days before Grace began her relationship with Walter Jones she again broached the subject of marriage to me. She had just finished a relationship with Tim Carter (in which he described her later as the sickest person he had ever met). This was about 1 ½ years ago. I again told her that I did not feel that was possible. This time I guess she took me at my word and gave up on the idea altogether. It was the following July 4 that she left with Walter Jones, without so much as a good bye to John. She did not contact us again to ask about him until about three months later, when she arranged a visit with John. This visit upset John terribly. She again weapt [wept] continually and asked John if he loved her. The younster [youngster] did not know how to respond to the barrage of emotion she openly expressed to him. It was as if he was the adult and she was the child. What a predicament it was for him. Frankly I never want to see him go through it again.
At the present time John is a very happy, healthy child. He attends school was a highly accredited teacher for part of the day. He spends a part of his afternoon playing with his peers on the playground. I spend every evening with him. We talk a lot together and have had many conversations about Grace. He is a very articulate child and has stated many times that he wants to stay with me and does not want to return to Grace. When he refers to her it is always as “Grace” and never as “mother”. He has mentioned to me how she took him with Walter Jones to her parents home (while still living with Tim Stoen). He tells how they offered him different foods and things, but he was strictly forbidden to tell that he had gone there with Grace and Walter. He dislikes Walter Jones greatly and seems to fear him. Either he thinks Mr. Jones will do him some kind of bodily harm or he just dislikes him because his mother left him with this man. To take John out of this happy environment would be devastating to him. At one point when Grace was manipulating him, he threatened to jump off the roof of the Church, he had so much conflict. For a four year old to express such conflict I considered very grave. Since he has not been with Grace he has never expressed such a desire. I really think it would be the end of him to take him away from his life and family here. I will not let this happen as long as I am able to prevent it. Grace is free to visit him here if she chooses and it seems to me that if she loves him she must certainly see what destruction would come to him if he were suddenly thrust out of his happy life here.
I must say the whole situation with Grace was one of the gravest mistakes of my life, but it will be compounded if the child is returned to her. I am able to love the child without expecting the child to give back to me that same love. She doesn’t have that capacity. Also, she herself told us of how racist her parents were, ashamed of their own Latin background. I cannot subject him to that. I implore the court that the child not be put through the kinds of things he will face if he were to return to his mother. I feel the child could try to destroy himself in such an environment. I feel this so strongly that I have risked my whole reputation by not returning to the city and I cannot for his sake publicly tell anyone why.
Rev. James W. Jones