(JTA) — A family court judge sent three American-Israeli children to a juvenile detention center for refusing to speak to their father.
Liam Tsimhoni, 14, and his siblings, Rowie, 10, and Nathalie, 9, have been in juvenile detention since June 24, The Forward on Thursday reported.
Judge Lisa Gorcyca, of Oakland County family court in Michigan, threatened to detain all three children until they turn 18, unless they start speaking to their father.
The children have been at the center of a divorce and now a custody battle raging for five years between Maya and Omer Tsimhoni, both originally from Israel. The children live near their father with their mother in Bloomfield Hills near Detroit.
During the June 24 court hearing, the Forward wrote, Gorcyca ordered Liam to speak to his father. When he refused, saying that his father was violent and that he hit his mother, Gorcyca called him “a defiant, contemptuous young man” and ordered that he be put in detention.
“You’re supposed to have a high IQ, which I’m doubting right now because of the way you act, you’re very defiant, you have no manners,” she also told the teen, the Forward reported.
Gorcyca said she would review her decision when the teen “can follow the court’s direct order and have a normal, healthy relationship” with his father, whom she described as “a great man who has gone through hoops” to have a relationship with his children.
The two younger siblings, who appeared next, apologized and appeared to be willing to communicate with their father. Gorcyca ordered Rowie and Nathalie to have lunch with their father in the court’s cafeteria that day. She warned them that if they did not comply they could end up in detention, according to the Forward report.
When the pair refused to have lunch with their father, Gorcyca said that they had been “brainwashed” by their mother and ordered that they be put in detention, too, and kept apart from one another and denied access to their parents, according to the Forward.