A Michigan judge granted joint legal custody of a child to the man who reportedly raped the child's mother nine years ago, according to the Detroit News.
Why was he granted joint legal custody?
Sanilac County Judge Gregory Ross granted parenting time and joint legal custody of the child, a boy now 8 years old, to Christopher Mirasolo, 27, a registered sex offender in Michigan, according to WWJ-TV. Mirasolo is reportedly the boy's biological father.
The victim’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, told the Detroit News that she is seeking protection for her client under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. Kiessling filed objections Friday with Ross and a hearing is scheduled for later this month.
Kiessling, who is a pro-life activist, told the Detroit News “this is insane.”
“Nothing has been right about this since it was originally investigated,” she said. “He was never properly charged and should still be sitting behind bars somewhere, but the system is victimizing my client, who was a child herself when this all happened.”
Kiessling said Ross disclosed the rape victim’s address to Mirasolo and ordered his name be added to the boy's birth certificate without either a hearing or the victim’s consent. She said an assistant prosecutor who told her otherwise was lying.
“She has never been asked to do this and certainly never signed anything,” Kiessling said.
Kiessling also said her client was informed that she was “not allowed to move 100 miles from where she had been living when the case was filed" without seeking consent from the court or she would be held in contempt.
What happened during the attack?
Kiessling said that Mirasolo raped and threatened to kill her client, who is now 21, in September 2008. The victim was 12 and Mirasolo was 18.
“She, her 13-year-old sister and a friend all slipped out of their house one night to meet a boy and the boy’s older friend, Mirasolo, showed up and asked if they wanted to go for a ride,” Kiessling said. “They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere."
“Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit where he stole gas from a station and then drove back to Sanilac County, where he kept them captive for two days in a vacant house near a relative, finally releasing the older sister in a park," she said. "He threatened to kill them if they told anyone what happened.”
Why did the victim reject abortion?
The victim became pregnant as a result of the attack, Kiessling said. Her family wanted her to have an abortion or give the child up for adoption but she refused.
“To her credit, she said she didn’t want the baby to be a victim, too,” Kiessling continued. “She dropped out of school, went to live with relatives out of state and worked jobs to try and support herself.”
Who is the rapist?
Mirasolo was arrested a month after the attack, according to the Detroit News. He was given a plea deal for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to one year in prison but only served 6 1/2 months. He reportedly committed another sexual assault on a minor in March 2010. He spent four years in jail for that assault.
Barbara Yockey, Mirasolo’s attorney, told the Detroit News that her client did not seek custody of the child.
“Chris was notified of the paternity matter and an order of filiation was issued last month by the court saying he had joint legal custody and reasonable visitation privileges,” Yockey said. “He never initiated this. It was something routinely done by the prosecutor’s office when a party makes application for state assistance.”
She said she doesn’t know “what his plans or intentions might be regarding any future relationship with the child.”
“This might be something we will have a conversation about, but he has not been served with any other court papers and is not scheduled to be in court,” Yockey said.
What does the victim say?
The victim, who was not named in the report, told the Detroit News “I think this is all crazy.”
She said that she thinks the ordeal was prompted by questions about state aid that she received for her child.
“They (officials) never explained anything to me,” she said. “I was receiving about $260 a month in food stamps for me and my son and health insurance for him. I guess they were trying to see how to get some of the money back.”