Mom Sentenced 7 Days in Jail for Baptizing Daughter
Baptizing a child doesn’t seem like a terrible offense. It’s been done for ages, and will probably continue for the foreseeable future.
The act in general is not what got this particular mother in hot water, though. This case has more to it than meets the eye.
It started when a mother from Charlotte, North Carolina, baptized her young daughter. Being Catholic, having her daughter go through the rite was important to her.
But Kendra Stocks acted alone, directly against the wishes of the young girl’s father, and now she’s going to jail for seven days. The punishment dates back to a custody battle with her daughter’s father from 2016.
The custody battle appears to be contentious at every turn, and the religious aspects surrounding the case were no different. The two are both Catholics, but it the court decided it was up to Paul Schaaf, the baby’s father, to decide religious matters for their child.
Despite the court’s ruling, Stocks took her daughter to church and had her baptized the very next day. Schaaf didn’t find out about the baptism until he saw a picture she posted of the ceremony.
Schaaf complained to the court that Stocks violated the ruling. The judge agreed with him, but Stocks appealed his decision of a 10-day jail sentence.
Now that the appeal process is over, it looks like the judge’s original ruling is being upheld. Stocks got three days knocked off her sentence, but still faces a week’s stay behind bars.
“I’m scared,” Stocks — who has never spent a day in jail — told the Charlotte Observer. “I’m sad about what has happened.
“I don’t regret having her baptized. That was in her best interest … I don’t see how this is in the best interest of the family. Her father is sending her mother to jail,” she added.
Schaaf’s lawyer, Jonathan Feit, argued that Stocks should have never disregarded the judge’s ruling in the first place.
“For our system to work, there ought to be consequences for willfully and intentionally violating a court order,” he said.
“I teach my children that. I reject the notion that anybody else is responsible for what is happening besides Ms. Stocks herself,” Feit continued.
Judge Sean Smith, who initially found Stocks guilty of contempt, cited Stock’s “very erratic, bizarre conduct” in his ruling. He said she expressed “poor decision-making and an inability to cooperate,” during the custody battle with Schaaf.
Feit agreed and referenced the fact that the two were in court, hashing out religious differences the day before the baptism.
“One would think that you would have the sense to say, ‘Oh, by the way, I’ve scheduled a secret baptism and it’s tomorrow, and you might want to know about it,’ ” he said.
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