A Charlotte, North Carolina, woman reported to jail Friday morning after she baptized her daughter.
The court case goes back a couple of years to when Kendra Stocks and Paul Schaaf were in a custody battle over their daughter. According to court documents, the two could never agree to the terms of their daughter’s baptism.
“It’s just very sad. It’s all just a very sad situation,” Stocks told WSOC-TV Channel 9.
Court records said Schaaf is a practicing Catholic who attends Mass every week, and that ultimately the court granted him final decision-making authority on all legal custody decisions, including decisions concerning religion.
Both parents were warned that they could go to jail if they ignored the warning. But the next day, Stocks went out and baptized her daughter, according to court documents.
Schaaf found out about the baptism on Facebook, documents showed.
The court documents stated that “the mother has acted selfishly by depriving the father of the ability to be present at an event that was extraordinarily important to him.”
The judge found Stocks in contempt of court and sentenced her to seven days in jail.
Channel 9 had the only camera at the jail as Stocks, a mother of two, turned herself in.
“I’ll get through it and hopefully come out a better person,” Stocks told Channel 9.
In contempt cases, a judge can order someone detained if they believe someone is improperly challenging or ignoring the court’s authority. Violators can be fined, jailed or both.
Channel 9 tried to speak with Judge Sean Smith about his ruling, but were told that because the child is under 18, it’s still a pending case and he can’t comment.
Stocks was supported by a couple of friends and her mother. They shared an emotional embrace before Stocks was processed.
“Her father and I both agreed on baptizing her. 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,” Stocks said.
Stocks was searched by a female deputy and handcuffed, and her mother cried as she walked out of the jail.
“She’s wonderful,” said Carol Stocks, Kendra Stocks mother. “They play all the time. She teaches them things. She’s an incredible loving mother.”