A court in Michigan announced their decision to grant custody of a eight-year-old child to the man that raped the child’s mother. Sanilac County Judge, Gregory Ross, granted parenting rights of a child to 27-year-old sex offender Christopher Mirasolo.
Rebecca Kiessling, the victim’s attorney called the decision “insane” and indicated that her client looking to seek for protection under the the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act.
“Nothing has been right about this since it was originally investigated,” Kiessling 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,” she added.
Taking about the rapist that her client was a target of, Kiessling stated, “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.” And that, “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.”
The victim got pregnant as a result of the rape, she noted. “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.”
Kieslling also highlighted that the judge had disclosed her client’s address to the rapist and had ordered for his name to be added to the child’s birth certificate without a hearing. “She has never been asked to do this and certainly never signed anything,” Kiessling said highlighting that the victim’s consent wasn’t taken under account.
Kiessling also noted that the victim was also told that she is “not allowed to move 100 miles from where she had been living when the case was filed.”
Barbara Yockey, Mirasolo’s attorney, on the other hand argued that her client didn’t seek to have joint legal 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.
The child’s mother expressed that the initiation of joint custody could have been a step by the government to cut down having to provide her with the 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.”