A North Carolina mother is serving a week in jail for having her daughter baptized against the father’s will.
A judge ordered Kendra Stocks, 36, of Charlotte, to serve seven days behind bars Friday after she was found to be in contempt of court, the New York Post reported.
The Charlotte Observer reported that Stocks had the christening performed on her two-year-old in August 2016, one day after a judge ordered awarded full custody of her daughter to the father, Paul Schaaf, including the ability to make “decisions concerning religion.”
Court documents show that both parents agreed to baptize and raise the child in the Catholic church but disagreed on “spiritual matters,” causing the child’s baptism to be delayed.
Schaaf said he never knew about the baptism until Stocks posted photos of the occasion on Facebook, according to the documents. Schaaf then informed the court of what happened.
District Court Judge Sean Smith ruled in March that Stocks was guilty of being in contempt of court for acting in “bad faith disregard” by not informing Schaaf of the baptism or offering him any part in the ceremony.
Stocks appealed, but the court upheld Smith’s ruling Monday. However, the court decided to shorten her initial ten-day sentence to seven days.
“I’m scared,” Stocks told the 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.”
Schaaf’s attorney, Jonathan Feit, said Stocks was being punished because she disobeyed a judge, not because she baptized a child.
“For our system to work, there ought to be consequences for willfully and intentionally violating a court order,” Feit told the Observer. “I teach my children that. I reject the notion that anybody else is responsible for what is happening besides Ms. Stocks herself.”
The couple’s relationship lasted six months and ended in February 2014. Their daughter had been the result of their six-month relationship.