A Cook County, Illinois judge has reversed a stunning order which blocked a woman from seeing her own son because she had not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Earlier this month, Judge James Shapiro told Rebecca Firlit, who shares joint custody of her 11-year-old son with her ex-husband, that she would not be allowed to see the child because she had not been vaccinated.
“I miss my son more than anything. It’s been very difficult. I haven’t seen him since August 10th,” Firlit told local FOX 32 News at the time in a story that quickly went viral.
Firlit had appeared for a child support hearing over Zoom when out of the blue, Judge Shapiro asked if she’d been vaccinated.
She replied that she hadn’t, as she’s experienced complications with vaccination previously.
In a move that stunned even her husband’s attorneys, the judge then said Firlit could not see her son until she received the novel inoculation.
“It had nothing to do with what we were talking about. He was placing his views on me. And taking my son away from me,” Firlit said at the time.
On Monday, FOX 32 learned that the judge had reversed his decision.
“Judge Shapiro just issued an order vacating portions of his prior order of August 11th so Rebecca Firlit can see her son again,” Firlit’s attorney, Annette Fernholz told the station.
“I think there’s been a lot of media outcry,” the lawyer added. “The divorce bar here in Illinois has been responding when they saw it on the news.”
An attorney for the child, meanwhile, says that he believes the judge believed Firlit’s behavior to be “volatile” during the hearing and used her vaccine status as an excuse to force her into a cooling off period away from her son.
“He was seeing something that clearly said to him, ‘There is an endangerment to the child right now.’ And we’re gonna act on it,” attorney Michael Bender said.
Firlit, however, denies this claim.
“It definitely was not a reason to take my child away from me,” she explained. “I’m not an endangerment to him. Nothing was filed about that. Nothing that we were in the hearing for had anything to do with it.”
Now, Fernholz is concerned that although the judge reversed his vaccination requirement, that Firlit’s ex-husband will now request that he maintain full custody of the child until his mother is vaccinated.
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