WI: Judge jails mother over daughter's refusal to visit father
On November 12, Marinette County Circuit Court Judge David Miron sentenced a mother to 30 days in jail for her daughter's repeated refusal to comply with court ordered visitation with her father. Loraine Tipton was immediately taken into custody following the contempt hearing.
During the hearing, Tipton presented evidence to support reasons why her 11 year old daughter should not be forced to proceed with visitation based on the actions of the father, Craig Hensberger. Tipton also testified that it was her daughter who refused to go, and that she was not withholding visitation from Hensberger.
There are some in Wisconsin that are already familiar with Hensberger. Earlier this year, he was publicly admonished for a scandal involving illegally transporting live fish and having his daughter lie about it in a competition. This incident, however, is only the tip of the iceberg.
Apparently, Hensberger has a problem with alcohol consumption and had been ordered by this same court to remain sober in relation to child visitation because of previous reports of driving drunk with the child. But as recently as last week, he was seen at the local bar--a bar that his daughter can identify.
This 11 year old child reports having to sleep on the floor when visiting her father because there are no accomodations for her in the small location in which Hensberger resides with his mother, after recently losing his own home. In addition, his mother has also been accused of abusing the daughter in an incident where she tried to force feed the child her own vomit.
Thus far, Judge Miron has refused to allow the child to testify even amidst all the evidence on record. Tipton's husband reports that, unbeknownst to Tipton, Judge Miron has further ordered that for every 30 days that the child does not visit the father, another consecutive 30 days of jail time will be served by Tipton. The child is committed to defending herself and remains in the custody of her step-father.
We must ask ourselves:
Should parents be held accoutable for their children's actions?
Can contempt be held on a parent who cannot force their child to act?
Should children be required to have a relationship with someone who was/is abusive?
At what age should a child be able to participate/have a voice in his/her own legal proceedings?
Does a [pre-adolescent] child have any rights which supersede the rights of the parents?
More information will follow as the story is updated.