A Michigan woman who was just 12 years old when she says an 18-year-old held her captive for days and raped her now faces the prospect of sharing joint custody with her attacker, according to the victim’s lawyer.
The decision by a Michigan judge last week comes nine years after the boy’s mother was impregnated by Christopher Mirasolo, now 27, the Detroit News reported.
It wasn’t until recently that Sanilac County Circuit Judge Gregory S. Ross ordered a paternity test for the now-21-year-old woman’s child after she applied for state aid, lawyer Rebecca Kiessling, who is representing the woman, said in a press release on Saturday.
After Mirasolo was identified as the father, the judge ordered that his name be added to the birth certificate and the woman’s address be disclosed to the father, who was also awarded parenting time, Kiessling said.
Kiessling, whose client is not being identified because she is the victim of a sex crime, called the judge’s decision “insane.”
“Nothing has been right about this [case] since it was originally investigated,” she told the Detroit News. “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 her client is seeking protection from Mirasolo under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. The law provides grants to states that offer women who conceive a child through rape the option to terminate the rapist’s parental rights if there is “clear and convincing evidence” of the crime.
“This case is believed to be the first case of its kind in Michigan, and perhaps in the U.S., in which a rape victim will seek protection under the new Rape Survivor Child Custody Act and proves why a rape conviction should not be required,” Kiessling said in her press release.
“He was never properly charged and should still be sitting behind bars somewhere, but the system is victimizing my client."”
The child’s mother, who spoke out against the judge’s ruling to the NBC television affiliate Click on Detroit, said she hopes her son has nothing to do with Mirasolo.
The boy “was conceived out of rape, but I don’t look at that. He’s my child. He’s a part of me. Not a part of him,” she told the station. “I hope [Mirasolo] never has any rights to him at all.”
Attorney Barbara Yockey, who represents Mirasolo, told HuffPost on Monday that he was only following court orders to take a DNA test and also provide income information to pay child support to the mother, which she said he is doing.
“He did not in any way pursue this,” she said by email. “This matter is in the process of being resolved by private agreement.”
Yockey, who confirmed to HuffPost that her client had pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct in the case ― which she referred to as statutory rape ― previously told the Detroit News that it’s unclear what kind of relationship her client will have with the woman’s child, if any.
Kiessling said that in September 2008, her client slipped out of her house with her 13-year-old sister and a friend to meet up with a boy and his older friend, identified as Mirasolo.
During that visit, Mirasolo allegedly suggested they “go for a ride.” He ended up holding the girls captive for two days in a vacant house. When they were finally released, under a threat that if they told anyone what happened he’d kill them, the youngest sister was pregnant. A month after that discovery was made, Mirasolo was arrested, Kiessling said.
He took a plea deal for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and was sentenced to one year in a county jail. He ended up serving just six-and-a-half months.
Kiessling said that because Mirasolo’s crime involved a victim under the age of 13, he should have been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and faced between 25 years to life behind bars.
According to online records for Michigan’s Department of Corrections, just four months after Mirasolo’s early discharge, he committed a second offense ― again for criminal sexual conduct, this time involving someone between the ages of 13 to 15.
He was sentenced to a minimum of five years for that crime, but was released after four years, Kiessling said.
He’s been on parole since July of 2016, records show. According to the conditions of his release, he is a registered sex offender who’s not permitted to have contact with a child 17 years old or younger without the presence of a responsible adult. He also cannot come within 1,000-feet of a school or child care center without approval, or own a computer or device that’s capable of connecting to the Internet.
The next court hearing on the matter is scheduled for Oct. 25.
A “victims rights rally” to protest the judge’s decision is being planned outside the courthouse at that time, according to a Facebook event page.
Requests for comment from the judge, state prosecutors and Kiessling were not immediately returned.
This story has been updated to include comment from Mirasolo’s attorney.