TRANSCRIPT: Joseph Reyes on Being Barred From Taking Child to Church

REYES: To some extent, yes, to some extent there's part of me that feels as though if she was 9 or 10 or in a more advanced age, she would get it more, it would be more of an informed decision, but at the same time, it was something that she showed interest in doing, I'm happy to share my faith with her, it's not dangerous--

CUOMO: I'm with you on the dangerous, it just looks that, in timing, you didn't do it with Rebecca when you were married, but now you're doing it and it begs the question, are you doing it now because you want to exert some control and so 'see? This is what I can do. She's my daughter, too. You could have done it for the last 3 years, but you didn't.

REYES: I'm not trying to exert some kind of control. But Ela—but my daughter is my daughter too, and, as a result, I am entitled I think to share certain experiences with her.

CUOMO: Anything else you want us to know?

REYES: I'm a great dad, I love my daughter, there's a lot of great dads that love their daughters who are out there that the system just doesn't treat fairly.

CUOMO: You think if the tables were turned here and Rebecca wanted to introduce your child to a different religion, which this would have happened the same way?

REYES: Well if the tables were turned, it certainly would have happened a different way. For one, unless there is serious harm to my daughter, I wouldn't have marched into court and filed a motion for a TRO. The second part of that is there is a definite gender bias in terms of the court system.

CUOMO: Bias towards moms?


CUOMO: Did you think that it would be good for her that the media came in?

REYES: Did I think it'd be good for Ela to see cameras shoved into our faces? No I didn't think it would be a good thing directly, but indirectly, if we can keep the situation from getting way out of hand, which unfortunately in the family court system has a knack of doing, and see that justice is done and that I can be a parent to my daughter, then there's an indirect benefit there.

CUOMO: Alright.

REYES: Oh, can I add one thing?

CUOMO: Please.

REYES: With regard to this alleged harm, Rebecca has contacted not one expert on the subject to reinforce this allegation—that practicing my faith with Ela is a harm. I've contacted—I've contacted the court-appointed therapist to ensure that there would be no harm to Ela, and she came back and said there is no harm to exposing your child to two faiths.

CUOMO: Where was that therapist the court appointed during the motion for the TRO?

REYES: Curiously, the judge never spoke to her.

CUOMO: Alright thank you, Joseph.

Statements from Steven Lake, Rebecca Shapiro's Attorney

Well there's a 3-year old daughter involved and basically these parties have always raised the little girl in the Jewish religion, and there was never a written agreement but this is just the way they lived. Mr. Reyes has, a matter of fact, converted to Judaism during the marriage and they went to synagogue every weekend, and according to my client, he never went to church during the entire marriage.

To the best of my knowledge, they hadn't discussed it at all. And the way she found out about it was he-he… on one of his visitations, he had surreptitiously had the child baptized and sent her an email with pictures of the baby in a little dress and here you go, here's our daughter being baptized, that's how she found out.

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