MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. -- A Michigan teen has been sentenced to four days in juvenile detention for refusing to visit his father.
Jacob Mastrogiovanni, 14, lives with his mother in Warren. His father, who has joint custody, lives in New Baltimore. Mastrogiovanni said he has deliberately missed court ordered visitations with his father, and because of that, Macomb County Judge John Foster has ruled he should be held in contempt of court and sentenced to time in a youth home.
Mastrogiovanni's mother, Dawn Platevoet, said her son is a hard working student and that she fears for his safety inside the Macomb Juvenile Center. "I'm very worried. I'm very concerned for the well-being of my son," Platevoet said. "The child is being torn in between this kind of situation due to the friend of the court. They're not looking at the best interest for my son." Mastrogiovanni said staying at the youth home for four days would not change his attitude toward his father. "I guess he's going to have to be punished. I don't necessarily like that he's in there but something has to be done," Mastrogiovanni's father, Victor, said by phone Thursday.
Mastrogiovanni would not be specific with why he was refusing to spend time with his father. His reasonings were recorded in a confidentiality agreement being held by the court. Mastrogiovanni said he would rather be in a youth home than visit his father and that he's willing to go back to the youth home again if required by the court.
Mastrogiovanni's family and friends have made signs protesting the judge's decision. "Going to a youth home to be with criminals, for what reason? What is this going to solve? Is it going to benefit the child? Is it going to make matters worse?" Platevoet said.
Mastrogiovanni's mother and grandmother escorted him to the center Thursday evening. He is scheduled to be released Sunday. Platevoet said she plans to picket the court Friday.
When I read the above story several things popped into my mind. What kind of father lets his son go to juvie over visitation? What could the father possibly have done to cause the son to choose juvie over visitation? Is this a case of parental alientation? Is mother so guilty of poisoning her son against his father that she will stop at nothing short of her son spending time in juvie?
Due to the satement by the father..."I guess he's going to have to be punished," I'm leaning toward there being a problem with this father. What kind of father thinks that 4 days in juvie is proper punishment for his son's refusal to visit?
How many fathers reading this blog post think that your child belongs in jail if they refuse to visit?
This is a case of cruel and unusual punishment. It is also another example of the damage adults can do to their children when divorce turns adversarial or they put their needs before the needs of their children.
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