Cooperative Republic of Guyana
I, James Jones, being duly sworn, declare:
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 in the parking lot of our Redwood Valley church, “Do whatever you can” and he emphasized sex. After he had said that, that night Mrs. Patty Cartmell and I located her some way; I don’t remember how we located her. Since Tim had emphasized 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 the woman, no instruction had ever 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 this, having had an upbringing which emphasized a one man-one woman relationship. That is the way I had 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 was 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 it was a personal thing, but then there would be moments when she would suggest there was some romance. She would ask “Could I haved [have] loved her?” or “Could we have married each other?” What a terrible hate she developed, based I guess on rejection. One time I recall she said she loved me or something of that sort. Anyway, the situation was most odd as it seemed that the bed toppled and we somehow had to get the bed straidhtened [straightened] around, and people were coming and going in the house while Patty Cartmell tried to keep them from knowing what was going on. To me, I failed to notice any joy in it; I just remember them laughing. 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 met her. I thought she demonstrated snobbery in our service by the way in which she treated black people. She took the liberty to be obviously rude in a public worship. She would often pull her long strands of hair in almost an autistic manner and at times rock back and forth as is the pattern of many disturbed persons.
As time went on she informed me that she was pregnant by me. I tried in every way to encourage her to have an abortion. At the time she must not have yet come to hate me, and 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 does it was not pursued further.
After John Stoen was born she again appeared to be falling apart emotionally and came up to the church podium 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 thoroughally [thoroughly] familiar with the situation and said he was indeed prepared to be the legal father, and was economically well off, I felt my marrying her would only hurt others. It also seemed grossly unfair; it seemed to be the point of 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 worried with guilt thinking I could have done a little more. On this particular occasion I called Tim up to the podium along with another church counselor who was thoroughally familiar with the situation. I wanted him to be alert as to her emotional problems and keep some kind of watch on her to make sure she didn’t go ahead with it. I was never sure just how much of her behavior was designed to manipulate for attention, and how much was sever [severe] mental disorder, so I wanted to exercise caution. Grace was always a very manic depressive personality. She was either estatic or morosely depressed beyond the normal limits. Others 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 everyone who lived in the house (my wife, mother, and housekeeper) made special not [note] of her insane patterns. 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 condescending to 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 is very irratic [erratic] with him, at moments screaming at him and the next trying to kiss him seductively on the mouth, thus manipulating him in ways I felt were very dangerous to his own normal development. I love John as much as any father could love his 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 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 have 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 herslef [herself] told me three months after she had left John to go off with Walter Jones that she felt John was indeed better off with me. At one point she even said, “Take him, he’s yours anyway.” At that time I gave her a round trip ticket to the place we both agreed was 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 to be used for John. She took the money and spent it on herself.
At the present time John is a very happy, healthy child. He attends school with 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 never speaks of Grace as his mother and when he refers to her it is as “Grace.” He has mentioned to me how she took him with Walter Jones to her parents home. 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 her boyfriend Walter. He dislikes Walter Jones greatly and seems to fear him. Either he thinks Mr. Jones would do him harm physically or he just dislikes him because his mother left him with this man. To take John out of this happy environment would be terribly destructive to him. At one point when Grace was manipulating him, he threatened to jump off the roof of our church, he had so much conflict. For a 3 ½ 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 tak [take] him away 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.
Two days before Grace began her relationship with Walter Jones (she had just finished a relationship with Tim Carter in which he described her later as the sickest person he had ever known) she again broached the subject of marriage to me. 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 ask about John until about three months later, when she arranged a visit with John. This visit upset John terribly. She again wept continually and asked John if he loved her. The child did not know how to respond to this barrage of emotion she openly expressed to him. It was as if he was the adult and she was a child. What a predicament it was for him. Frankly I never want to see him go through it again.
I am so convinced that what I am doing is correct that I have risked my whole reputation by not returning to the city and for his sake publicly can tell no one why. Grace herself has told how her parents are openly racist and were even ashamed of their own Latin background. I cannot subject John to this. I implore the court that the child not be put through this. I must say that the relationship was the gravest mistake of my life but it would only be compounded if this child were forced to return to his mother, whose emotional problems prohibit her from knowing how to love a youngster without expecting great personal returns. I know that I am capable of giving John love without expecting him to “pay it back in kind”. Grace does not have that capacity.
August 13, 1977
Signed: James W. Jones