Tsimhoni custody case judge ignores psychiatrist testimony

Judge Lisa Gorcyca sentenced the Tsimhoni children to juvenile hall, then to forced reunification with their abusive father over the objection of the mother and the children.

Judge Lisa Gorcyca (Citizens Supporting Judge Lisa Gorcyca/ Facebook)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2015 — Almost four years ago, a psychiatrist informed the court during a custody hearing that the father was abusive, there was no parental alienation, and the children were all perfectly mentally healthy. All three observations directly contradict the controversial conclusions of the judge.

Ron Rice, a Farmington Hills, Michigan, psychologist who evaluated the children, wrote to Bill Lansat, the Guardian ad Litem on the case, on Dec. 1, 2011, stating his conclusions in what was then an evolving custody matter between Omer Tsimhoni and his ex-wife, Maya Eibshitz-Tsimhoni.

“I found all the children to be emotionally healthy,” Rice wrote. “They also have been physically abused by Omer Tsimhoni and have watch(ed) Mrs. Tsimhoni be abused.”

The Tsimhoni case became the subject of international debate when Oakland County Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca, first sentenced the children to juvenile hall and then to forced reunification with their father over the objection of the mother and the children. The children said repeatedly they didn’t want to communicate with their father because he was violent.

Gorcyca claimed she was made the ruling because of parental alienation, a nebulous and difficult-to-define term describing a situation in which a parent is rejected unnaturally by his or her children. However, Rice dismissed this notion in his 2011 email. He wrote, “There is no evidence of parental alienation syndrome and this has been ruled upon in prior proceedings.”

While parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome are technically two different behaviors, the terms are often used interchangeably.

But Gorcyca, when she sentenced the children to juvenile hall, suggested that this was tied for the worst case of parental alienation she had seen.

“I see kids who have been physically abused, tortured, raped, that still want to talk to their father, that still respect their father. Your kids have none of those things,” Gorcyca said in a summer hearing. She said this case is “tied for my worst parental alienation case.”

Rice sent this email to Lansat, who has backed up Gocyca’s assertions minimizing the alleged abuse by Omer Tsimhoni while playing up the perceived parental alienation.

“You have to give her credit,” Lansat told the court in a July 2015 hearing. “Whatever she did, she has been successful. She’s been on a campaign and she had damaged the children.”

But in Rice’s email, he suggested that Lansat had a personal connection and should have recused himself from the case.

“It has been suggested,” Rice said in the email, “that you have had a prior relationship with Omer Tsimhoni and therefore I feel it is your responsibility to recuse yourself from this case.”

The revelations come as the Tsimhonis were back in front of Judge Gorcyca to argue several motions, including one for her to recuse herself due to perceived bias.

According to court watchers, the hearing to rule on these motions was conducted over two days with Gorcyca not only refusing the hear any testimony but refusing to make any rulings until at least Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.

Lansat did not respond to an email for comment and all parties are under a gag order not to speak to the media. A similar gag order out of New Jersey was ruled unconstitutional in December 2014 after being challenged by the Bergen County Dispatch. The media have yet to challenge Gorcyca’s gag order.

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