At the end of June, a Michigan judge held three children aged 9, 10, and 15 in civil contempt for refusing to see their father and sent them to a juvenile justice facility for an unspecified length of time. The children’s parents have been involved in contentious divorce proceedings for five years; in a lengthy tirade, the judge called them “brainwashed” and likened them to “Charlie Manson and the cult that he has.”
The Detroit News reports that Judge Lisa Gorcyca of Oakland County ordered the children of Maya Tsimhoni, a Bloomfield Hills woman, to enter a juvenile facility called Children’s Village on June 24 after harshly reprimanding the oldest boy for refusing to see his father. According to a fairly horrifying transcript of the proceedings, the 15-year-old told Gorcyca that he was refusing to see his father because he had witnessed the man beating his mother.
“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 boy said, according to the transcript. (The children’s names are redacted from the transcript and have not been released.)
Judge Gorcyca told the boy that his father has never been charged with any crime and doesn’t have an order of protection against him, saying the father had “jumped through hoops” to have a relationship with his children. Immediately afterwards, she declared the teen in contempt, telling him that he may end up living in Children’s Village “until you graduate from high school.” All three children could be held until they are 18, she said.
Gorcyca also wildly reprimanded Tsimhoni, the children’s mother, strongly implying she’d raised her children in the style of the Manson Family cult, before once again scolding the boy:
Mother, I appreciate you did say that. [Tsimhoni asked the boy to consider seeing his father earlier in the hearing.] It probably was way too late. 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, your behavior back there is unlike any I’ve seen in 46,000 cases. You, young man, are the worst one. So you have bought yourself living in Children’s Village, going to the bathroom in public, and maybe summer school, I don’t know.
Tsimhoni told Fox Detroit that her children have been locked up for more than two weeks, adding, “I felt like I was watching them be executed.” Per the judge’s order, she is not allowed to visit her children; only the father, the children’s attorney, and a therapist of the father’s choosing are permitted.
There is, predictably, already a petition to remove Gorcyca from office. A better bet would be for someone involved in the case to file a complaint with the State of Michigan’s Judicial Tenure Commission. Gorcyca set the next court date in the case for September 1. Friends of the children have rallied outside the courthouse calling for them to be released.
Screenshot via WILX