A Michigan repeat rapist was awarded joint custody of the child he impregnated one of his victims with 8 years ago.
Via Patch Michigan:
A Michigan man accused of raping a 12-year-old nine years ago has been awarded joint custody of the child he fathered in the attack, according to media reports. The victim's attorney is fighting the decision by Sanilac County Circuit Judge Gregory S. Ross under the federal Rape Survivor Custody Act. The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Michigan and perhaps the nation.
In a new development Tuesday, Ross stayed the controversial order in the case against Christopher Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City, after widespread outrage, The Detroit News reported. A hearing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 17.
The case has been poorly handled from the beginning, Rebecca Kiessling, the attorney for the now 21-year-old woman has said. Mirasolo was arrested about a month after the incident when the girl found out she was pregnant, but he took a plea deal for a lesser charge: third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
A rape conviction would have put Mirasolo behind bars for anywhere from 25 years to life. Instead, Mirasolo served only six-and-a-half months in the county jail. The girl and her family were told the plea deal was offered and that first-time sex offenders don't get prison time "because people come out worse after they go there," Kiessling told The Detroit News.
After Mirasolo was released from jail, he raped again and served four years in prison, according to "The Steve Gruber Show," a Lansing-area radio program that initially reported the judge's decision.
"This is insane," Kiessling told The Detroit News of the decision to give Mirasola joint custody of the child fathered in the alleged assault. "Nothing has been right about this since it was originally investigated. 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."
The woman raped by Mirasolo in the second incident told The Detroit News Monday that she was "disgusted" when she read the newspaper account of the judge's order, and said there is "no way he should have custody."
"And I don't think he should even be allowed around any children without supervision," the woman said.
The judge granted Mirasolo joint legal custody and visitation after a DNA test established he had fathered the child. The DNA test was ordered after county officials in Florida, where the woman now lives with her eight-year-old son, surveyed family assistance recipients about what kind of child support they receive. The woman told The Detroit News she has been receiving about $260 a month in food stamps, as well as health insurance for her son.
Mirasolo initiated no actions to establish parentage, his attorney told The Detroit News, and it's unclear if he will have any involvement with the child, the attorney said.
The judge ordered the woman and her son to return to Michigan so Mirasolo can develop a relationship with the boy. According to the order, she is "not allowed to move 100 miles from where she had been living when the case was filed, without court consent," Kiessling told the Detroit newspaper.