A North Carolina mom started serving a week-long jail sentence for having her daughter baptized, according to reports.
The 2016 baptism at St. Peter’s Catholic Church when the girl was 2 years old defied a judge’s order in a custody battle between unmarried couple, Kendra Stocks and Paul Schaaf, who are no longer together.
Stocks, 36, of Charlotte, was ordered to serve seven days in the county jail after a judge held her in criminal contempt. She began serving the sentence Friday, WSOC-TV reported.
“It’s just very sad. It’s all a very sad situation,” she told the station at the jail. “I’ll get through this and hopefully come out a better person.”
The station quoted court records as saying Schaaf was a practicing Catholic who attended Mass every week and that the court had issued a ruling that gave him final say in all legal custody decisions, including decisions concerning religion.
The day after that ruling, Stocks went ahead with the christening without notifying Schaff. He found out when Stock posted photos of the ceremony on Facebook, according to the station.
Schaff’s attorney told the Charlotte Observer that Stocks was being punished, not for baptizing the girl, but for ignoring a judge.
“For our system to work, there ought to be consequences for willfully and intentionally violating a court order,” the attorney, Jonathan Feit, told the paper. “I teach my children that. I reject the notion that anybody else is responsible for what is happening besides Ms. Stocks herself.”
The paper reported that the judge’s contempt order said Stocks demonstrated “very erratic, bizarre conduct” during her relationship with Schaaf and after the birth of her daughter “including poor decision-making and an inability to cooperate.”
Their relationship lasted six months, according to the paper.
Stocks arrived at the jail with her mother and two friends who were there for emotional support, WSOC reported.
“Her father and I both agreed on baptizing her,” Stocks told the station. “I regret that he wasn't part of it, but I don't regret we’re raising her in the Catholic faith, which is what we both wanted.”