A mother from Charlotte, North Carolina, has been sentenced to seven days in jail for having her daughter baptized without the dad’s consent. According to WSOC-TV, the baptism happened a few years ago when Kendra Stocks and Paul Schaaf were embroiled in a heated custody battle over their daughter. According to court documents, the two definitely butted heads over religion.
The courts reportedly granted Schaaf the final decision-making authority on all legal custody decisions. According to WSOC-TV, that includes religion. In fact, Judge Sean Smith gave the dad full custody “specifically including decisions concerning religion,” the Charlotte Observer reported. Both parents were warned that they must obey the rules or face potential jail time.
Just one day after a judge warned the couple of that, Stocks baptized her daughter, according to court documents. Schaaf found out about it on Facebook.
Court documents state that "the mother has acted selfishly by depriving father of the ability to be present at an event that was extraordinarily important to him." Judge Smith also wrote that Stocks acted in “bad-faith disregard.” He has found the mother in contempt of court.
Stocks appealed, but the ruling was upheld on Monday. The mother begins her week-long sentenced on Friday.
Stocks, 36, told the Observer about her upcoming jail sentence, saying, “I’m scared. 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.”
Jonathan Feit, Schaaf’s attorney, said, “For our system to work, there ought to be consequences for willfully and intentionally violating a court order. I teach my children that. I reject the notion that anybody else is responsible for what is happening besides Ms. Stocks herself.”