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Kids say their dad was violent, but judge says they've been "brainwashed" in one of the two "worst parental alienation" cases of her career.
A group of parents are challenging the bizarre punishment an Oakland County Circuit Court judge gave three Bloomfield Hill kids who, caught up in an acrimonious divorce proceeding, had refused to have lunch with their father.
Judge Lisa Gorcyca last month ordered the children, ages 9,10 and 14, held on contempt of court charges at Oakland County Children's Village, a youth detention and shelter service. If they don't establish a relationship with their father, they could remain in state custody until they are 18, The Oakland Press and WDIV-TV report.
In earlier proceedings, Gorcyca had ordered the children to establish a relationship with their dad - a directive their mother, Maya Tsimhoni, reportedly said she supported. But Gorcyca, noting the case "tied for my worst parental alienation case" ever, suggested Tsimhoni had "brainwashed" her children.
"You are so mentally messed up right now and it's not because of your father," Gorcyca said at the June 25 hearing where she ordered the three children - ages 9, 10 and 14 - taken into custody.
The 14-year-old boy told the judge that he apologized for not understanding the rules, but not for refusing to see his father. He said he didn't want anything to do with his dad after seeing him hit his mother. The other two children told similar stories.
"… He was the one that (did) something wrong," the oldest of the children told the judge. "I thought there (were) rules .. for not hitting someone."
The boy's father has not been charged, and Gorcyca passionately defended him.
" … Your father doesn't have a personal protection order against him," Gorcyca said. "Your father is well-liked and loved by the community, his coworkers, his family (and) his colleagues. You, young man, have got it wrong. I think your father is a great man who has gone through hoops for you to have a relationship with you."
Continuing her searing admonishment, Gorcyca said:
"You need to do a research program on Charlie Manson and the cult that he has … You have bought yourself living in Children's Village, going to the bathroom in public, and maybe summer school."
Mom Can't Visit
According to the judge's order, the children's mother can't visit her 14-year-old son, the children are to undergo psychiatric therapy while in custody and they are to be kept separated so much as possible.
To the children's father, Gorcyca said: "Dad, if you ever think that he has changed and he's no longer like Charlie Manson's cult, then you let us know and we can (review the case)."
The case is set for review in September, but parents and supporters of the family gathered outside the Oakland County Courthouse Wednesday want the case reviewed now.
"There are adults who commit felonies who aren't sentenced to three or four years," Mark Honeyman, a teacher, told WDIV.
Honeyman questioned the judge's sharp tone and word choices when addressing the children.
"I deal with kid who misbehave in my classroom all the time. I have never used the kind of language that I have seen being used in these courtroom proceedings," he said.
Karen Gilcher, a family friend, called the children "constitutional heroes" for sticking to their principles. "What happened to freedom of speech?" she asked.
A hearing on a motion to bring the children back into court to lift the contempt order was filed by Maya Tsimhoni's attorney, Lisa Stern, of Bloomfield Hills, but it won't be heard until July 15.
Dad Says Mom Exploits Kids in Media
In a statement Wednesday (attached at the bottom of the article), Omer Tsimhoni's attorney, Keri Middleditch, said that after five years in court, the children's mother "is continuing to demonstrate disregard for the well-being of the children and disrespect for due process."
Middleditch said the situation is "traumatic for everyone involved," and asserted the children are in shelter care because their mother alienated them.
Now, the attorney said, she is "choosing to exploit the children via the media," placing them in a "traumatic situation."
Omer Tsimhoni has spent five years trying to salvage his relationship with his children, Middleditch said, and wants a resolution that doesn't require them to live in shelter care. The children had lawyers, as well as a court-appointed guardian, but none of them objected when the children were ordered to Children's Village.
Judge Locks Up Kids for Refusing Lunch with Dad (USA)
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