Family Law

Mom files federal civil rights suit in parental fight over circumcision of boy, 4

  • Print.

Held in contempt of court and in hiding with her 4-year-old son because she doesn’t want him circumcised, a Florida mom started raising funds for her legal fees via social media last month.

Now Heather Hironimus has filed a federal civil rights suit on the child’s behalf, contending that he should not be forced to undergo a procedure he does not want and that is not medically necessary, according to the Palm Beach Post and the Sun Sentinel.

She and the boy’s father, Dennis Nebus, have never been married, but Hironimus signed a parenting agreement in 2012 that provided for the boy to be circumcised, then subsequently changed her mind. A Palm Beach County judge has enforced the order, holding her in contempt when she refused to comply. At last report, she was staying at a domestic violence shelter with her son.

Filed Monday. the suit names as defendants Nebus; Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen; and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, apparently because the sheriff is in charge of efforts to arrest Hironimus.

Last month, Gillen held Hironimus in contempt and ordered her arrested, the Sun Sentinel reported at the time. “”I will allow her to avoid incarceration or get out of jail if she signs the consent to the procedure,” the judge said during a March 6 hearing.

Attorney Thomas Hunker is representing Hironimus and has unsuccessfully sought a mental health exam to determine the effect circumcision is likely to have on the child. The judge also refused his request to appoint a guardian for the boy.

“The child is scared to death of the procedure and doesn’t want it,” Hunker told the newspaper. “There have been no safeguards put in place to protect the child’s psychological and emotional condition with regards to this surgery.”

Nebus says Hironimus has made the boy frightened, the Sun Sentinel reports. “My son has mentioned things to me that he’s scared to have his penis cut off,” Nebus testified.

At one point, Nebus was seeking a court order to prevent Hironimus from utilizing the $37,000 that she has raised for legal fees, the Inquisitr reported earlier.

Related coverage:

Huffington Post: “Fight Over 4-Year-Old’s Court-Ordered Circumcision Draws National Attention”

WPEC: “Support grows for Heather Hironimus, mom who is battling child’s circumcision”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.