A US judge compared three children to cult leader Charles Manson and sent them to live in a juvenile home because they refused to have lunch with their father.

In a bizarre court hearing in Michigan, Judge Lisa Gorcyca found the three children - aged nine, 10 and 15 - in contempt of court after they refused to speak to their father.

The oldest child said he could not honour the judge's order to have "a healthy relationship" with his father, Omer Tsimhoni, because he was violent and beat their mother.

Mr Tsimhoni has not been charged with any crime and the judge flew into a rage at the suggestion.

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"You need to do a research programme on Charlie Manson and the cult that he has," Ms Gorcyca told the child, according to a court transcript. She said all three children appeared to be "brainwashed".

"I ordered you to have have a relationship with your father," she said. "I ordered you to talk to your father."

When the 15-year-old insisted that he did not want a relationship with his father he was was sent to live in the Children's Village, a Michigan juvenile home. "You may stay there until you graduate from high school," the judge said, indicating he could be there for three years.

All the three children have been living in the juvenile facility since the June 24 hearing.

Ms Gorcyca reminded him that he would be "going to the bathroom in public". When the child's mother asked if she could speak to him in front of the court, to urge him to be less defiant, the judge refused.

After a brief recess, the two younger children - a 10-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl - were brought before the court.

Both the younger children were initially cooperative and the boy was made to tell his father in front of the court about how he was on the football team.

That seemed to please the judge and she ordered the children to go have lunch in the court cafeteria with their father, adding that she would be watching them on the court security cameras.

"[The cameras] can get you everywhere except in the bathroom," she told the children.

Both the little children balked at being forced to see their father and defiantly told the judge they would rather follow their brother to the juvenile home.

"I've never seen anything like this," the judge said. "One day you can watch this video and realise that you two have been brainwashed."

After telling the boy to stop smiling, the judge called him a "defiant, contemptuous young man" and found both children in contempt of court.

Maya Tsimhoni, the children's mother, described her horror at watching her children face the judge and said her kids were being punished for their parents' divorce.

"I felt like I was watching them be executed," she told Fox Detroit.

- Daily Telegraph