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Catherine Keske, CSU prof, released from jail (again) in toxic parenting dispute

Thumbnail image for catherine keske.jpg
Catherine Keske.
Update: Catherine Keske, the CSU professor sentenced to ninety days in jail for contempt of court over a parenting dispute with her ex-husband involving a secure e-mail account for her son, among other things, was abruptly released less than 36 hours after the hearing in her case recounted below. On Saturday night, Jefferson County Detention Facility staff informed her she was free to leave. "They just said, 'You're out, go," Keske says. "I walked up to the Loaf 'N Jug and called my husband to come get me."

This is the second time Keske's unusual sentence, which stems from a magistrate's ruling that she'd interfered with her ex's ability to communicate with one of their sons, has been reversed. She was originally jailed August 11 but released four days later. After her ex-husband filed a motion contending that release was in error, she was jailed again last week. Keske she hasn't seen any court orders relating to the release and doesn't know if she is supposed to be on some form of home detention. "I'm home with my son, and that's good," she says.

See our previous coverage below.

Original item, 2:52 p.m. September 2: Three weeks ago, Colorado State University professor Catherine Keske was sentenced to ninety days in jail by Jefferson County Magistrate Chris Voisinet, who ruled that she'd interfered in her ex-husband's ability to communicate with their youngest son, in contempt of court orders. But today, Keske was back in court complaining about her ex defying court orders himself, and she got just about everything she asked for -- except her freedom.

Keske, who teaches in CSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been involved since 2006 in costly and highly contentious litigation with ex-husband Jeffrey Handley over parenting matters; currently, each parent has primary custody of one son. Voisinet's decision to send her to jail for, among other infractions, failing to provide the son in her custody with an unsupervised e-mail account, triggered outrage among her supporters, who criticized the magistrate for overzealous intrepretation of court orders that simply stated the parents would "encourage each child to communicate" with the other household.

Keske initially spent four days in jail and was released after paying money that Voisinet ruled was owed to Handley. But Handley sought to have the full sentence imposed, and her release order was revoked a few days later.

This morning, though, Voisinet sided with Keske, who appeared in blue jail scrubs to pursue her own claim that Handley has denied her access to the son in his care. Acting as her own attorney, she cross-examined Handley and took the stand herself to establish that she's had almost no contact with her older son since he went to live with his father two years ago, even though court orders called for visits at least one weekend every month.

Handley and his attorney, Mechelle Faulk, told Voisinet that the boy is "afraid of his mother" and refuses to see her. "He's thirteen," Faulk said. "You can't pick him up and put him in a car."

Keske pointed to experts' reports that suggested Handley had disparaged Keske in front of the children and alienated the boy from his mother. But Faulk contended that the dispute has been marked by "a pattern of both of the parties engaging inappropriately and the children seeing it." Various observers -- the case has had five judges and three child/family investigators to date -- have blasted Keske and Handley for (as one judge put it) "the parties' inability to communicate with each other, the large attorneys' fees they had incurred as a result, and the negative impact of their behavior on the children."

Voisinet decided that Handley was "clearly in violation" of the orders regarding monthly visits. Unlike her ex, Keske wasn't seeking a contempt order, but Voisinet did grant her request for make-up parenting time, supervised exchanges of the children for visits, and reunification therapy sessions for herself and her older son, to be paid for by Handley.

"The parallels between this hearing and the contempt hearing are telling," Voisinet said. "Both parties are putting me in the position of having to enforce court orders."

Handley insisted that he was merely trying to respect his son's wishes. Keske described Handley as the aggressor in the matter who continued to promote conflict. "This is not a punishment of Mr. Handley," she told Voisinet. "I would never seek to jail Mr. Handley. [But] I feel certain that if the court doesn't intervene, Mr. Handley will continue to harass me."

Noting that the son in her care has been diagnosed with a mental illness, Keske repeatedly asked the magistrate to grant her home detention so that she could be with him during her contempt sentence. Voisinet declined to rule on that request at the hearing's conclusion.

"I have to think this through," he said.

After Voisinet left the bench, several Keske supporters in the courtroom broke into applause for her -- while a sheriff's deputy handcuffed her and prepared to take her back to jail.

More from our Comment of the Day archive: "Reader: CSU prof Catherine Keske being jailed in child dispute is waste of taxpayer money."

My Voice Nation Help
19 comments
Stacy_slaton@msn.com
Stacy_slaton@msn.com

Chris Vosinet is a mom hater a family wrecker violates statue and rules VERY inconsistant..... As long as its in the make of ruining kids lives he's in... He has ruined my kids allowed for intrapment by the fathers..... Oh and by the way is a Judge on some of my orders?? Really so this would mean he should be on a ballot to be elected or is there some very un ethical things happening in Good old División Q at Jefferson county........ Since when did biasm and violation of laws become the duty of the courts?........thanks for holding my kids for profit C.V. the false restrictions you allowed were to be refunded to me you denied me that on two occassions then issues contempts for my c.s. arrears really...... And deny my kids their mom for money....... People are watching what you are doing and its not about the kids......

Stacy_slaton@msn.com
Stacy_slaton@msn.com

Chris Vosinet is a mom hater a family wrecker and violates statue and rules VERY inconsistant..... As long as its in the bañé of ruining kids lives he's in... He has ruined my kids allowed for intrapment by the fathers..... Oh and by the way is a Judge on some of my peseta?? Really so this would mean he should be on a ballot to be elected or is there so very un ethical things happening in Good old División Q at Jefferson county........ Since when did biasm and violation of laws become the duty of the courts?........thanks for holding my kids for profit C.V. the false restrictions you allowed were to be refunded to me you denied me that on two occassions then issues contempts for my c.s. arrears really...... And deny my kids their mom for money....... People are watching what you are doing and its not about the kids......

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

Hope she's enjoying the food.

Too smart for her own good.

Ryan S
Ryan S

Ego, hurting kids since the dawn of time.

Joe
Joe

This is what happens when the techno-troglodytes in our court systems try to act like they know what they're doing rather than bring in knowledgeable people.

Observer
Observer

Well, I guess all that's left is for Keske to ride through Golden naked on a horse while she flogs herself with a chain.  Sounds like her kids are on to something.  She made one mentally ill, and the other is smart enough to stay away from her.  The only clarity in this situation is that the best interests of these children are to be as far away from these parents as possible.

Nicole
Nicole

Why is Catherine STILL in jail?  Are we are much safer that she is in there?  What the heck is wrong with Jeffco and Voisinet?  When he said "I have to think this through," what is there to think about???  Catherine has a son who is 10 and is special needs.  If Jeffco can finally think about the children's best interests for a change, then it's obvious to anyone who can think.  Special needs child or not, Catherine did not need to go to jail.  A simple warning would have worked since she is not only intelligent but she is very reasonable.

Voisinet is the one who is criminal and needs to be in jail for abusing his power.  Jeffco has gotten away with such disgusting behavior in punishing decent, caring parents that they are arrogant in the crimes the judges and magistrate commit.  

Thanks Alan for following this and getting family court drama much needed attention!

AlanPrendergast
AlanPrendergast

I have corrected one line in the original post that refers to "experts' reports that suggested Handley had disparaged Keske," which mixed up the names of Handley and Voisinet. My thanks to the reader who pointed out the error.

nlcatter
nlcatter

I heard that Chris Voisinet was an oppressive date rapist in collegeno wonder he put women in jail!

Court Watcher
Court Watcher

By the way, many thanks to Alan Pendergast for taking time out of his busy day to get the truth straight from the horses mouth.  It is much appreciated from the select few who know the truth about Voisinet.

Court Watcher
Court Watcher

The last sentence says it all.  Voisinet has a double standard when it comes to sanctions.   He is harsh and sentences Catherine to 90 days in jail for not providing an email account to the same ex husband who has refused to enforce parenting time with her older son for the LAST TWO YEARS. 

What exactly does it mean to be in the BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD???

By the way, Catherine has filed and WON several appeals in the Colorado Court of Appeals against Magstrate Voisinet.  In fact she has an appeal pending currently against one of his rulings.  She was jailed at the same point in time that the Reply to Response was due (COINCIDENCE???) I think not.  The Magistrate has full access to all of the state court system database and can clearly look up what the status of a case is.  Especially,say, on pending AGAINST his order.

Smells a little suspicious to me. Perhaps even REEKS. 

Of note, Magistrate Ryan Stuart, has the best interest of the child at heart, in my opinion.This cannot possilby be said about Judge Christie Phillips.  Nor EX Magistrate Joseph Martinez.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Hard to argue with that logic. Thanks for the post, Jane.

Nicole
Nicole

Observer,

You are probably too clueless for me to waste my time, but you really should know what you are talking about before you post your comments.  It's obvious that you have never been to family court or even know of anyone who's been there.  And more to the point you do not even know Catherine or you would never make such stupid statements about her.  If you had 1/8 of her strength and character...well I would not even be addressing your moronic post.

Observer
Observer

Ah, if only we all had enough strength and character to fight so hard with our ex-spouses it destroys the kids, then get thrown in jail for contempt of court.  You're right, I don't know her.  But from these news stories, it's not hard to see that she and he ex are so bitter and self-absorbed, that they'll figuratively burn the house down with the kids in it.  And she's snowed her friends into believing she's a modern-day Rosa Parks.  It would be laughable if it didn't involve destroying two little kids.

Circe
Circe

Sarah, you aren't very bright if you buy into the theory that a "special needs child" is the result of a mother's poor parenting. I declare you the loser.

sarah
sarah

As an unbiased party to this argument, I declare "Observer" the winner.

Observer
Observer

Typical.  Everyone else is ignorant or at fault.  Classic victimization.  That the children pay for.  I hope you and Keske get the help you desperately need, rather than the attention you desperately crave.

Nicole
Nicole

You are right, you don't know her or it appears much else to comment intelligently. For the record, ALL is takes it one unreasonable ex and you are in court. I am really sorry you are so ignorant.  Enough said...

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