Published May 03, 2002
NEW YORK – The vegan father accused of starving his baby told The New York Post Thursday that the little girl was healthy before New York City authorities took her away last November — and added that his wife is about to have another child, which he plans to feed the same diet.
"We are about to drop another seed — and no one can tell us how to raise this child or any of our children," Joseph Swinton, 31, said in an interview at the Queens House of Detention, where he's being held on $20,000 bail.
Swinton also revealed he would not let his wife breast-feed his child because she was not "pure enough."
"She had smoked marijuana some months before the baby was born, so she wasn't clean enough to breast-feed," he said.
Swinton's wife, Silva, 31, who's being held on Rikers Island, refused to tell The Post anything more than "Everything in the papers is wrong."
Swinton said that he plans to rear the new baby on the same vegetarian diet that he fed to his 20-month-old baby, Ice.
The baby was taken from the couple after authorities determined she was suffering from severe malnutrition as a result of being denied breast milk, formula and medical care.
"I will fight to get my daughter back," said Swinton, a lanky man with a missing tooth and an intense gaze. "Our family will be together again."
Baby Ice was placed in foster care four months ago, after recovering for several months at a Westchester medical facility.
Last week, Queens County prosecutors filed criminal charges against the Swintons, accusing them of reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child for putting Ice "at grave risk of death."
"It's all lies," Joseph Swinton said. "She laughed and smiled like any normal baby. She'd never been sick a day in her life until they took her away."
The couple fed Ice, who was delivered at home weighing 3 pounds, nut milk, vegetables, fruits and oils as a part of a vegan diet.
"I wanted to save my daughter from suffering what I suffered," he said, referring to years of what he called the "excess mucus buildup" he endured while consuming meat and dairy.
Swinton said his life changed when he stopped eating animal products and processed foods about nine years ago, at the urging of his wife. In supervised visits with his daughter since the neglect charges against the couple were filed in Family Court, Swinton said she appears sick and listless.
"She has these layers of fat around her muscle from the poison they are feeding her," he said. "My daughter doesn't want the food they're feeding her. She wants her parents back."