Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dad Pleads Not Guilty on Violating Court Order For Taking Daughter to Church

A Chicago man who defied a court order and took his toddler to a Catholic Church service was arraigned today on a charge of indirect criminal contempt in a custody battle that is threatening to put him in jail and draw new boundaries in divorce cases.

Joseph Reyes pleaded not guilty for allegedly violating a court order issued by Chicago family law Judge Edward R. Jordan who had barred Reyes from taking his 3-year-old daughter to church following a dispute over religion with his estranged wife. Reyes' wife, Rebecca Reyes, is Jewish.

Reyes, a veteran of the Afghan war, made a motion to have his contempt charges heard by a different judge, a motion that was granted. He was arraigned before Judge Elizabeth Loredo-Rivera.

If found guilty of indirect criminal contempt, Reyes could be sentenced to up to six months in jail.

The next court date is on March 3, when Reyes is expected to file a motion to dismiss all charges against him.

In a statement issued after the hearing, Reyes said, "There's a strong possibility I could end up in jail. It's really sad it's come to this."

Reyes and his wife are in abitter divorce battle, and the question of what faith their child should be raised in is pushing the boundaries of child custody arrangements.

Reyes' decision to baptize his daughter without his wife's permission resulted in what some are calling an extraordinary court order: Jordan in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., imposed a 30-day restraining order forbidding Joseph Reyes from, according to the document, "exposing his daughter to any other religion than the Jewish religion. &"

The couple married in 2004. Joseph Reyes was Catholic, but he converted to Judaism to please his in-laws. He has said the decision wasn't "voluntary."

Despite his conversion, Reyes, 35, said he never stopped practicing Catholicism.
Read the rest here.

She has legal custody of the child. That's all that needed to be said. How can you baptize a child you do not have custody of? On a side note this is an excellent case for why people should avoid religiously mixed marriages.


Son of Trypho said...

Wasn't he converted before the child was born and presumably the marriage? If his in-laws were concerned about it it would have happened before the marriage - this is the usual practice.

I would steer well clear of this case as his motivation seems more to spite his former wife than through genuine religious conviction.

And as a Hebrew Catholic I can assure you that he would have been examined quite closely on his faith by the religious court which converted him and was required to demonstrate a genuine committment to Judaism.

This is primarily the reason why I call into question his claim that the conversion wasn't voluntary - the rabbis aren't fools nor are they particularly desirous of converts, they do notice if the potential convert is being cooerced or isn't happy.

I also find it exceedingly strange that he claims that he was a crypto-Catholic the whole time - which calls into question his honesty and integrity with regards to his conduct towards his in-laws, wife, Church and synagogue.

Too much bizarre stuff here - and the court ruling is appalling. If anything, the poor girl should be allowed some time to herself away from religion with a very general introduction to both faiths so that when she reaches an age of maturity she can make an informed decision.

the Feds said...

I must agree with everything said so far in the original post and the comment above. However, I have a gut feeling that stops me short of saying that the child should not be baptized. So what if there is a disagreement between parents, or if the motives of the batizing parent might be called into question. Do we really want to live in a country where the courts can throw someone in jail for simply taking a child to church? Do we really want this kind of precedent being set?

Visibilium said...

Somebody's yoked.