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North Carolina mom had child baptized—and now she’s behind bars

Marko Vombergar-ALETEIA

Evidently, she violated a court order regarding “decisions concerning religion” connected with child custody.


Kendra Stocks got her daughter baptized. Now she’s in the Mecklenburg jail.

In a head-on collision between matters of church and state, the Charlotte woman began serving a week behind bars Friday after being found in contempt of court.

Her punishment stems from the clandestine christening of her child in August 2016 – one day after a Mecklenburg judge gave full custody to the girl’s father, “specifically including decisions concerning religion.”

Paul Schaaf learned of the baptism of his daughter when Stocks posted photographs of the ceremony on Facebook, court records indicate. He then complained to the courts.

Last March, District Court Judge Sean Smith found Stocks guilty of contempt. Smith wrote that the mother had acted in “bad-faith disregard” by not telling Schaaf about the ceremony and refusing to give him any role in how and where and it would take place – despite the importance Schaaf placed on the event.

Stocks appealed. Smith’s ruling was upheld Monday in Superior Court. The original 10-day jail stay, however, was cut to seven.

…Stocks said both she and Schaaf, an insurance broker, are practicing Catholics and wanted the child baptized and raised in the church. Yet the court files speak of a prolonged disagreement over spiritual matters between the parents that had delayed the girl’s baptism. Asked what the argument was about, Stocks said, “I would like to know that myself.”

Smith’s contempt order says 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.”

Read more. 

Deacon Greg Kandra
The Deacon's Bench
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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