A Michigan judge sent three siblings to a juvenile detention center for refusing to maintain a relationship with their father. Judge Lisa Gorcyca charged the nine, ten, and 15-year-old children with contempt of court on June 24 for refusing to have lunch with or talk to their father.
Yes, that actually happened.
The parents have been involved in a nasty divorce dispute since 2009. The transcript of the hearing is very disturbing. Judge Gorcyca seems to truly believe the kids have been “brainwashed.” In the court transcripts, the 15-year-old is informed that he will be held in contempt of court if he refuses to see his father. This is what happens next:
Child: Okay, so I do apologize if I didn’t understand that the rules… like apologize for whatever I did to you, but I do not apologize for not talking to him because I have a reason for that and that’s because he’s violent… I saw him hit my mom and I’m not gonna talk to him.
Judge: All right. Well the court finds you in direct contempt. I ordered you to have a healthy relationship with your father… you are a defiant contemptuous young man and I’m ordering you to spend the rest of the summer — and we’ll review it — we’ll review it when school starts, and you may be going to school there. I’m ordering you to Children’s Village — is there anything you’d like to say about that?
Child: I didn’t do anything wrong.
Judge: No. You did. I ordered you to talk to your father. 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.
Child: How come, I thought there was like rules when, rules for like you know – not hitting someone. Why am I going to the —
Judge: I ordered you — I will say this again — and apparently you have a high IQ, which I’m doubting right now because of the way you act — you’re very defiant. You have no manners. I ordered you to talk to your father. Your mom told you to talk to your father. There is no reason why you do not have a relationship with your father. Your father has never been charged with anything. Your father has never been convicted of anything. Your father does not have a personal protection order against him. Your father is well-liked and loved by the community… You, young man, have got it wrong. I think your father is a great man who has gone through hoops to have a relationship with you. You are in contempt and you are going to live in Children’s Village. Remind me how old you are?
Judge: You may stay there until you graduate from high school.
The judge then goes on to compare the mother to Charles Manson, insinuating that her children are brainwashed and the eldest child is the “worst one.” She addresses him again saying, “You have bought yourself living in Children’s Village, going to the bathroom in public.” The judge then clarifies that no one will be allowed to visit the teen except therapists and his father – and that the teen will not be released until his father comes to the judge with the news that his child has decided to have a relationship with him. She then says:
“There’s two other little kids that are very well going, too.” So she sends all three children: a nine-year-old, a ten-year-old and a 15-year-old to a juvenile correction facility because of a contentious divorce.
Divorces get ugly, parents spin stories about each other, and custody battles are terrible. But ordering children to have a relationship with a parent or be faced with essentially jail time is unbelievable. Do you know how many teens would be in jail if they were charged with contempt for refusing to maintain a relationship with their parents? How can you legislate personal relationships to the extent that you are forcing children to have a relationship that they don’t want?
The mother very well may be turning her children against their father — but if so, shouldn’t she be the one somehow punished via custody arrangements? Where are the therapists? Where are the advocates for the children? How a judge punish children who are clearly going through a very traumatic experience? Basically, this judge has lost her damn mind. How can you send three children to a juvenile detention facility over a custody dispute? The court transcript reads like a five page tantrum being thrown by a family court judge.