Judge Lisa Gorcyca of Michigan's Oakland County Family Court recently ordered three children under 15 years of age into juvenile detention for the summer after they refused to have lunch with their father.
According to the Detroit Free Press
, the children — ages 9, 10, and 15 — were found in civil contempt of court during a June 24 hearing in a bitter six-year custody battle between their parents, Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni and Omer Tsimhoni.
Gorcyca said in court that the children's mother has "alienated" them from their father, and that the children need to spend time with him. They've refused to do so, going so far as to refuse to talk to lawyers. They've remained steadfast, while their mother recently agreed to the lunch date.
"I do not apologize for — for not talking to him, because I have a reason for that and that's because he's violent and he — I saw him hit my mom and I'm not gonna talk to him," the oldest boy told the judge. "I didn't do anything wrong."
"I ordered you to talk to your father," replied the judge. "You chose not to talk to your father. You defied a direct court order. It’s direct contempt so I’m finding you guilty of civil contempt . . . You want to have your birthdays in Children’s Village? Do you like going to the bathroom in front of people? Is your bed soft and comfortable at home?"
Turning to the children's mother, who is forbidden from visiting them during their stint in state custody, the judge unleashed a barrage.
"Your children — you need to do a research program on Charlie Manson and the cult that he has. Your behavior in the hall with me months ago, your behavior in this courtroom . . . is unlike anything I've ever seen in 46,000 cases," she said.
To the children, she said further, "You are so mentally messed up right now and it’s not because of your father. And one day you are going to realize what’s going on in this case and you’re going to apologize to your dad."
The children's father is a traffic safety researcher and GM engineer who works frequently at a lab in Israel, while their mother is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Michigan.
"Here’s the issue," explained WWJ-TV Legal Analyst Charlie Langton
. "The judge felt that the kids should be taken away from mom. And what do you do when you’ve got a parent, a so-called bad mom in general terms, and a father who is in Israel right now, where do you go with these children? You put them in Children’s Village because that’s ordered counseling. It’s not the bad side where there’s criminals in Children’s Village. It’s a place where they go when you have two parents who are not able to parent."
In an interview with the New York Observer
, the children's father explained his side of the story.
"The one incident that happened was five years ago — I had a five-hour unsupervised visit. We were in a park and Maya was circling around the park the whole time, trying to sabotage the visit," he said.
"Two hours into the visit, the children ended up in her car and she was trying to leave. I tried to prevent her from leaving because it was my time with the children. I was very careful not to do anything but she claimed that I pushed her. She screamed at the children, 'Call 911! Call 911!' The police showed up and Maya was screaming and the police confirmed that nothing happened. But in the children’s mind, that’s what happened."
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