Dad not guilty in church contempt case

October 21, 2010 4:45:24 AM PDT
A divorced father was found not guilty of indirect criminal contempt for taking his daughter to Mass at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral.

"The issue of Joseph taking his daughter to church is now over," attorney Joel Brodsky said Wednesday after a judge issued the not guilty ruling. Joseph Reyes was charged with indirect criminal contempt after he took his 3-year-old daughter to mass last January. At the time, Reyes was locked in a bitter divorce with his wife, who is Jewish. She had filed a restraining order that barred Reyes from exposing their daughter to any religion other than Judaism.

"Ela is an intellectually curious girl and I want her to get an appreciation for the diverse world we live in. I want her to appreciate that there's a lot of different perspectives out there with regard to god, beliefs," said Reyes.

Reyes' story gained national attention because he invited a local TV station to tape him going inside the church in January.

"The decision to involve the media at all was a desperation play because of the unfair treatment I was receiving by judges in this county," said Reyes.

In court Wednesday, Brodsky said the televised report did not prove the person who accompanied Reyes into the church was his daughter.

"They chose to try to criminally prosecute him and when they chose to, they came in to my ball park and they weren't able to sustain their burden," Brodsky said.

Reyes' ex-wife and attorney both refuse to comment on the case.


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