Judge jails kids for refusing lunch with dad

Detroit Free Press – by Bill Laitner

Three Oakland County children who refused to go to lunch with their father, as part of a bitter divorce and custody battle between their parents, are spending their summer in the county’s juvenile detention center, according to court records.

“We’ll review it when school starts, and you may be going to school there,” Oakland County Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca told the children during a June 24 hearing, referring to the center in Waterford Township called Children’s Village, where authorities house as many as 200 juvenile offenders.  

Gorcyca, who blamed their mother for poisoning the children’s attitude toward their father, ordered the children be sent to the center for defying her orders — while in court — that they go to lunch with their father.

The children — ranging in age from 9 to 14 — were deemed in contempt of court last month by Gorcyca for disobeying her orders to “have a healthy relationship with your father.”

The oldest boy told the judge during the hearing that he apologized for “whatever I did to you.”

“But 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, later telling the judge, “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“No, you did,” Gorcyca replied. “You — I ordered you to talk to your father. You chose not to talk to your father. You defied a direct court order. It’s direct contempt, so I am finding you guilty of civil contempt.”

Tsimhoni court hearing transcript REDACTED

After sending the older boy to Children’s Village, Gorcyca gave the two younger children — a 10-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, a chance to go to lunch with their father in the courtroom cafeteria, but they refused.

“I’ll go with my brother then,” the 10-year-old told the judge.

Speaking about the children to their mother, Dr. Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, Gorcyca was vehement.

“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 … is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in 46,000 cases,” said Gorcyca, who has a young son and is known for her normally pleasant demeanor in court.

The judge told the mother she could not visit her children this summer, according to a court transcript of the hearing.

Referring to the contempt orders and sending the trio of kids to summer behind institutional walls, Gorcyca told the older sibling: “I wanted to do this because of your horrific behavior a long time ago and your dad begged me not to. … One day you are going to realize what’s going on in this case and you’re going to apologize to your dad.”

The two boys and their sister each had a court-appointed lawyer at the hearing, according to records. But the attorneys said the children refused to cooperate and, in some cases, wouldn’t talk to their lawyers. The attorneys for the children did not object to Gorcyca’s order.

“Your dad is a good man. And wipe that smirk off your face,” Gorcyca said to the 10-year-old, as both he and his sister defied the judge’s order to have lunch with their dad.

The children are caught up in a highly contentious divorce case that began more than five years ago between their father, Omer Tsimhoni, an internationally prominent traffic safety researcher and GM engineer who works frequently from a GM research lab in Israel, and their mother, a pediatric eye doctor and widely known glaucoma researcher who is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Michigan and has an office in Canton.

The case has resulted in dozens of court appearances throughout the years and has led to the children being ordered to spend time with their father. After repeatedly refusing to cooperate with Gorcyca, the mother at the June 24 hearing finally agreed that the children should spend time with their father and agreed to the lunch date. But Gorcyca said to her “it’s too late.”

Omer Tsimhoni “desires a resolution to the current circumstances that would allow his children to live in a healthy home and not the Children’s Village,” said a new release issued Wednesday from his lawyer, Keri Middleditch in Birmingham.

Middleditch blamed the mother for “alienating” the children from their father and for creating the situation in which the judge ordered them into juvenile care.

“The court took severe action to attempt to remedy a heart-wrenching situation, solely created by Dr. Eibschitz-Tsimhoni,” Middleditch said, calling Omer Tsimhoni a “loving, caring father who desires a healthy relationship with his children.”

The lawyer for the children’s mother, Lisa Stern, declined Wednesday to speak about the case.

Contact Bill Laitner: blaitner@freepress.com or 313-223-4485.


2 thoughts on “Judge jails kids for refusing lunch with dad

  1. The father works in Israel…jewish? Not that it matters, but the judge is an idiot. I’m on the kid’s side. They should have the right to decline to go to lunch with their dad. You can’t force them to love or even like their dad. If he was a decent father while he was with them, they would want to be with him when possible.

    1. I searched them and it seems they are referred to in other articles as “Israeli-Americans”. Chances are, they are.

      It doesn’t appear there is a single name here that isn’t a member of the tribe?!

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