BLOOMINGTON — A Massachusetts father who lost custody of his child after he failed to return to McLean County for hearings in his child custody case should have contact with his son — and sooner rather than later, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Four-year-old Michael Cadena Jr. has neither seen nor spoken to his father, Michael Cadena, since his mother, Amber Buck of Normal, picked him up in October at the Weymouth, Mass., police department where the boy was taken to be reunited with her.
Cadena was sentenced last year to six months in jail and ordered to pay a $25,000 bond if he returns to McLean County on direct criminal contempt charges.
In December, Judge Charles Feeney ordered attorneys for the parents to set up video or telephone visitation between Cadena and the child. Feeney was not pleased to hear Tuesday that those visits have not started.
Cadena's lawyer Adele Saaf said a Bloomington counselor canceled a Jan. 30 phone consultation with Cadena after she learned that information about the call had been posted on social media by Cadena's supporters.
Saaf said Cadena will "instruct his family and friends not to post anything about these matters."
With the appointment canceled, Saaf told the judge, "I'm not really optimistic about the visits starting any time soon."
Buck's attorney Tristan Bullington said the therapist has declined to supervise the visits as ordered by the court. Bullington suggested that Bloomington lawyer Joseph Foley, recently appointed guardian ad litem to represent the child's interests, supervise the visits.
Foley confirmed to the judge that he is willing to supervise the meetings.
The delay in the visits resulting from a dispute over social media postings is unacceptable, said the judge.
"We need this child to have a relationship with his father. This needs to happen," Feeney told lawyers.
Feeney set a Jan. 29 hearing to review progress of the visits and hear arguments on a protective order sought by Buck that would bar Cadena from sharing any information exchanged in the custody case and limit what he may know about the child.
Saaf objected to the terms of the proposed order that keeps Cadena from knowing his son's address or having information that could assist him with his case.
Feeney ordered lawyers to work toward a mutual agreement for a protective order that "probably is a good idea" in the custody case.
Cadena has alleged his son was abused by Buck, a charge she has denied.