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Update: Judge Releases Kids Who Refused Lunch with Dad—to Summer Camp

The Short of It

On Friday, Michigan's Oakland County Judge Lisa Gorcyca ordered the release of three siblings from a juvenile detention facility, where she had placed them after the kids refused her order to spend time with their dad. Instead, she ordered that they be sent to a summer camp, where visits with their parents will be allowed.

The Lowdown

As we reported last week, on June 24, Judge Gorcyca had sent the 9-year-old girl and her 10- and 15-year-old brothers to a juvenile center because they refused to spend time with their dad. The children's parents, Omer Tsimhoni and Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, have been in a divorce, custody and visitation battle since 2009. The dad has a job in Israel but often comes to the Detroit area, where the children live with their mother. The mother says she feels threatened by her ex-husband and fears for the children's safety, while the father denies any violence, claims the mom is brainwashing the kids against him, and that she violates court orders for the children to see him.

In that court hearing, Judge Gorcyca showed little compassion for the kids, and she belittled and threatened them as she sentenced them to the juvenile detention facility. She banned the mother from visiting her children and ordered that the siblings be "kept away from each other as much as possible," because she said they had been brainwashed like Charles Manson cult members.

Many were outraged by the judge's punishment and protested in front of the courthouse and drafted petitions that call for the judge's firing and for the release of the children.

The Upshot

This seems far more reasonable. The siblings should never have been punished for whatever is going on between their parents. Sending them to summer camp sounds like a good way to help the kids get some distance from their home situation in what should be a safe, supportive and fun environment. I hope the camp has counselors to help these kids work through what is happening with their mom and dad and what, if any, healthy relationship they can have with each parent.

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