A Chicago man who defied a court order and took his toddler to a Catholic Church service was arraigned today on a charge of indirect criminal contempt in a custody battle that is threatening to put him in jail and draw new boundaries in divorce cases.
Father defies court order and takes his daughter to church.
Joseph Reyes pleaded not guilty for allegedly violating a court order issued by Chicago family law Judge Edward R. Jordan who had barred Reyes from taking his 3-year-old daughter to church following a dispute over religion with his estranged wife. Reyes' wife, Rebecca Reyes, is Jewish.
Reyes, a veteran of the Afghan war, made a motion to have his contempt charges heard by a different judge, a motion that was granted. He was arraigned before Judge Elizabeth Loredo-Rivera.
If found guilty of indirect criminal contempt, Reyes could be sentenced to up to six months in jail.
The next court date is on March 3, when Reyes is expected to file a motion to dismiss all charges against him.
In a statement issued after the hearing, Reyes said, "There's a strong possibility I could end up in jail. It's really sad it's come to this."
Reyes and his wife are in abitter divorce battle, and the question of what faith their child should be raised in is pushing the boundaries of child custody arrangements.
Reyes' decision to baptize his daughter without his wife's permission resulted in what some are calling an extraordinary court order: Jordan in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., imposed a 30-day restraining order forbidding Joseph Reyes from, according to the document, "exposing his daughter to any other religion than the Jewish religion. …"