Kids Sent To Juvenile Detention For Refusing To Have Lunch With Their Dad Released Friday

Three Detroit kids sent to juvenile detention for refusing to have lunch with their dad were released on Friday, with the judge saying the three should be allowed to go to a planned summer camp.

The strange decision of one family court made headlines this week after Judge Lisa Gorcyca ordered three kids — 14-year-old Liam Tsimhoni, 10-year-old Roee, and 9-year-old Natalie — to go to juvenile hall after missing a court-ordered visit with their father, Omer Tsimhoni.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the children had already been warned that they need to attend scheduled visits with their father.

But Gorcyca reversed the decision on Friday, the Observer noted.

Media outlets painted the cast as a travesty of justice, and the kids’ mother, Maya Tsimhoni, said it “felt like I was watching them be executed.” Outlets noted that the children were afraid of their father, who they said was abusive toward their mother.

But the Observer found a different side of the story:

“As with all divorces, however, there are at least two sides to this story. And Mr. Tsimhoni, who has yet to be heard from, has now broken his silence, sharing with the Observer a painful tale of a marital split, a tale that will be familiar to many parents who have felt that their children have been “turned against them” by a spouse following a split.”

“Reached by telephone for an interview arranged by 5WPR, the firm Mr. Tsimhoni hired to help him navigate the crisis, Mr. Tsimhoni spoke to the Observer at length. ‘I’m in shock by what’s happening. My ex-wife lost in court after many times she was warned and as a result she just went out to the media to put pressure on the judge or overrule the judge. I understand everybody’s pain—the children’s pain, my pain, that the children are where they are. But she saw it coming and never tried to prevent it. ‘”

The report explained that the kids taken to juvenile hall after missing lunch with their father had been stuck in a marital dispute that stretches back for years. Mr. Tsimhoni is an internationally known engineer who took a job with GM in 2008 and recently took a position that moved him to Israel. His wife decided she didn’t want to move, and the couple ultimately divorced.

Omer said his wife filed for divorce and didn’t let him see the kids, even moving to Michigan without warning. He moved back to Michigan and remarried, with supervised visits with the kids.

As to why the children may not want to see him, Omer offered only one idea:

“The one incident that happened was five years ago I had a five-hour unsupervised visit. We were in a park and Maya was circling around the park the whole time, trying to sabotage the visit. Two hours into the visit, the children ended up in her car and she was trying to leave. I tried to prevent her from leaving because it was my time with the children. I was very careful not to do anything but she claimed that I pushed her. She screamed at the children, ‘Call 911! Call 911!’ The police showed up and Maya was screaming and the police confirmed that nothing happened. But in the children’s mind, that’s what happened.”

But the legal issues may not be over for the kids sent to juvenile detention for refusing lunch with their dad. There is another hearing scheduled for July 20, when they return from camp.

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