3 Israeli-American kids jailed for refusing to talk to father

Children say dad beat their mother, but US judge accuses them of contempt, tells young girl she’ll have to ‘go to bathroom in front of strangers’ in juvenile hall

From left to right: Siblings Rowie (10), Liam (14) and Nathalie (9), who were released July 10 from juvenile detention in Michigan. (YouTube screen capture)
From left to right: Siblings Rowie (10), Liam (14) and Nathalie (9), who were released July 10 from juvenile detention in Michigan. (YouTube screen capture)

A US judge recently sent three Israeli-American children at the center of a furious five-year custody battle to juvenile detention due to their refusal to talk to their father.

Oakland County, Michigan, family court judge Lisa Gorcyca held Liam Tsimhoni, 15, Natalie Tsimhoni, 9, and Rowie Tsimhoni, 10, in contempt of court and sent them to a local juvenile detention center, with transcripts of the proceedings indicating she repeatedly insulted the kids, calling Liam “mentally messed up.” Gorcyca also threatened the three kids would remain jailed until they were 18, and warned the little girl she would have to go to the bathroom in front of strangers in the juvenile detention facility.

The three kids had said they would not meet with their father, despite a court order, with Liam maintaining that Omer Tsimhoni had beaten the kids’ mother, Maya, in the past.

Gorcyca frowned upon this, however, and punished the children for defying her orders to talk to father Omer.

Court documents obtained by My Fox Detroit showed that in a June 24 court hearing, Liam apologized if he had broken any rules but said he would not “apologize for not talking to [Omer], because I have a reason for that and that’s because he’s violent and I saw him hit my mom and I’m not going to talk to him.”

The judge shot back that he was “a defiant, contemptuous young man.” She called his father “a great man who has gone through hoops for you to have a relationship with you.” She said there was no evidence of violent behavior on the father’s part and claimed the kids had been “brainwashed” by their mother.

According to court documents Gorcyca said, “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’m finding you guilty of civil contempt.

“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 told the teenager, adding that he was “mentally messed up.”

Addressing Maya Tsimhoni, the judge told her to research the Charles Manson cult.

When Liam’s sister Nathalie and brother Rowie refused Gorcyca’s order to have lunch with their father in the court cafeteria that same day, the judge said they too would be sent to detention for contempt.

“Do you like going to the bathroom in front of people?” she asked Nathalie. “Is your bed soft and comfortable?”

The judge ordered that the three be kept apart. She said their mother and her family members would not be allowed to see them.

A statement by the father’s legal team said the situation was “traumatic for everyone involved, and it is unfortunate that the mother’s actions have resulted in this situation.”

According to the communique, the mother “continually alienates the children from their father, and has ignored countless court hearings and rulings.”

Rabbi Jason Miller from the local Jewish community told the Jewish Daily Forward it was “bizarre” that the children were being punished for their parents’ feud. He added that the community was in shock over the children’s treatment.

read more: