Heather Hironimus, Anticircumcision Mom, Won't Face Jail Time After Agreeing to Terms
Heather Hironimus, the mother embroiled in the recent circumcision case, agreed to a pre-trial intervention program that will have her third-degree felony charges dropped within a year. Hironimus, who was charged with interference of custody in May after she ignored a court order to appear before a judge in Palm Beach with her son, agreed to the new terms Thursday morning.
Hironimus, 31, and her son had vanished following an ongoing dispute with her husband Dennis Nebus, whom she had separated from, over whether their child should be circumcised. Prior to their separation, the couple had agreed that Nebus would pay for and schedule the child's circumcision. But over time, Hironimus changed her mind and has been arguing that there is no medical reason for her son, who is now 4 years old, to be circumcised.
In March, Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen of the 15th judicial district in Palm Beach County had ordered Hironimus to appear in court and to bring the child with her or face contempt-of-court charges. When Hironimus and her child remained in hiding, Gillen ordered a warrant for her arrest.
Hironimus and the child went missing since their last scheduled doctor's visit in February. Nebus testified at a hearing in March that he visited the home of the mother to take the boy for his prearranged visiting time and found no one home. The car was also gone, and when he tried calling Hironimus, he said the phone was turned off.
On May 14, Hironimus was found and arrested. She was then ordered to sign a consent form to allow her child to be circumcised or remain incarcerated. Hironimus reluctantly signed the form, and was released after spending a week in Palm Beach Jail.
The case, which has been covered by New Times extensively, caught the attention of anticircumcision activists who have rallied for Hironimus and picketed outside the Palm Beach County Courthouse whenever there's been a hearing. An internet campaign was launched in support of Hironimus' quest to keep the boy from being circumcised, and a fundraiser created by the Children's Health Advocates for Surgical Ethics was launched to help with her legal fees.
After Hironimus signed the consent form, anticircumcision activists discovered that the child had been scheduled to be examined for a possible procedure at Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital.
The hospital's social media sites were inundated by the activists, who threatened to protest outside the facility. An attorney working for Hironimus pro bono also sent the hospital a cease and desist letter to keep any procedures on the child from happening.
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As part of her intervention program, Hironimus is allowed to visit the child, who has been with his father ever since Heather's arrest. Hironimus was ordered to follow specific child visitation terms per family court. She is also to complete a four-hour parenting course, as well as undergo a mental health evaluation, submit random drug testing, and check in with a probation officer on a monthly basis.
If she violates the terms, she will be subject of custody charges again, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison after conviction.
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