(JTA) – A Chicago man who took his daughter to church despite a restraining order by her Jewish mother was cleared of contempt of court charges.
Joseph Reyes grabbed headlines last winter when he took his 3-year-old daughter Ela to church, accompanied by a local television crew, despite a temporary restraining order filed by his estranged wife that barred him from exposing their daughter to anything but the Jewish faith.
A court in Cook County, Illinois, found Wednesday that Reyes was not guilty of violating a court order when he took Ela to church before the child’s custody had been resolved. The ruling appears to rest on the fact that in video of the event the child is not visible, thus it cannot be definitively proven that she was there.
Reyes converted to Judaism when he married his wife, Rebecca, and she says Reyes promised to raise Ela in the Jewish faith. But after the couple filed for divorce, he returned to his Christian faith and baptized his daughter without his wife’s knowledge.
A divorce judgment handed down in April declared that Reyes could take his daughter to church during his visitation times, which include Christmas and Easter, even as she is raised Jewish by her mother.