A Long Island father will be denied the right to see his 3-year-old daughter unless he gets the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a judge’s ruling.
The father, who has yet to be identified, must either get the shot or undergo weekly COVID testing, Judge Matthew Cooper said.
“Here, personal association with the parents by the accused is not in the best interests of the child, and there are exceptional circumstances that support the suspension,” wrote Cooper, who is chairing the couple’s divorce and custody dispute.
“The dangers of voluntarily remaining unvaccinated during entry with a child, while the COVID-19 virus remains a threat to children’s health and safety, cannot be underestimated,” Cooper added.
The family is not mentioned in the ruling.
A Long Island father will be denied the right to see his 3-year-old daughter unless he gets the COVID-19 vaccine, based on a ruling by Judge Matthew Cooper (pictured)
The father, who has yet to be identified, must either get the shot or submit to weekly COVID testing, Judge Cooper said
Cooper is a high-profile judge. In the past, he ruled over the divorces of A-listers such as Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman and former NBA player Lamar Odom
In this case, the father must either show a weekly PCR test or be fully vaccinated. He must also have a biweekly antigen test within 24 hours of his every other weekend visits.
“Unfortunately, and in my view, incomprehensibly, a significant minority, using misinformation, conspiracy theories and confused notions of ‘individual freedom’, have turned down all pleas to be vaccinated,” Cooper argued.
Cooper is a high-profile judge. In the past, he ruled over the divorces of A-listers like Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman and former NBA player Lamar Odom.
Evan Schein, the mother’s lawyer, praised the ruling.
“It’s an incredibly important one that highlights and reinforces the extraordinary times we live in that the best interests of a child come first,” Schein told the N.ew york post.
But Lloyd Rosen, the father’s attorney, believes Cooper is setting a dangerous precedent.
“My client is not a conspiracy theorist,” Rosen said. “He’s worried about the vaccine. He’s heard about side effects. He once had a bad reaction to a flu vaccine.’
The father has previously been infected with COVID-19 and Rosen believes he has an immunity that can protect him, as well as a vaccine.
Evan Schein, the lawyer representing the mother, praised the ruling
Lloyd Rosen, father’s lawyer, believes Cooper is setting a dangerous precedent
The couple broke up in 2019 and the custody battle was controversial over the 3-year-old, Cooper wrote in his decision.
Currently, the father’s visits are overseen by his own mother due to a “history of substance abuse and untreated mental health issues,” Cooper’s ruling said.
The child lives mainly with her mother in Manhattan, where she attends kindergarten.
On Sept. 2, Schein expressed concern on behalf of the mother about the father’s vaccination status, which led to Cooper suspending his visit until he received the shot.
Cooper said vaccination has become a prerequisite “for meaningful participation in everyday society” and referred to vaccine mandates for teachers, police and health professionals.
Two weeks later, the mother said she would be willing to reinstate the visit if he submitted to the proposed COVID test.
The father turned it down, but the judge agreed to the argument and changed his suspension to include that as an option.
Cooper then turned down the father’s request for a full hearing, arguing that he should act in the best interests of their child.
Rosen criticized Cooper’s statement.
“This judge must feel that 80 million Americans who have not been vaccinated are putting their children at risk or at risk and so the courts must step in and remove those children from their parents,” he said. “This is an absurd position to take.”
Cooper said vaccination has become a prerequisite “to meaningfully participate in everyday society” and referred to vaccine mandates for teachers, police and health professionals
Rosen said his client has not yet decided whether or not to appeal
Rosen said his client has not yet decided whether to appeal.
Cases like these have cropped up all over America as federal, state and local governments continue to try to convince people to take the chance.
In September, a Chicago father filed an emergency lawsuit in a custody battle with his ex-wife to avoid being reunited with their 11-year-old son today because she hasn’t been vaccinated.
Rebecca Firlit was banned from seeing her son on August 10 by Cook County judge James Shapiro for the same reason, but Shapiro reversed the decision two days ago and has since withdrawn from the case.
Rebecca Firlit (left) and her attorney Annette Fernholz (right) fight in a Chicago court to allow Firlit to see her 11-year-old son
The boy’s father, Matthew Duiven, took action on Tuesday to restore a judge’s original order and keep Firlit (pictured left) away from their child (right)
Judge James Shapiro has since withdrawn from the case, saying in a statement: ‘The public perception may be that I cannot be fair and impartial’