It’s a nightmare scenario for a 21-year-old mother – a court has granted joint custody to a man accused of raping her when she was 12.
The rape allegedly occurred in September 2008, according to a press release by the woman’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling. Christopher Mirasolo was charged with raping the woman when he was 18 and she was 12, which is a first-degree felony in Michigan.
“The sentence ‘for a violation that is committed by an individual 17 years of age or older against an individual less than 13 years of age’ should have been a mandatory ‘imprisonment for life or any term of years, but not less than 25 years,’” Kiessling said in the release.
Instead, Mirasolo was granted a plea deal for attempted rape, a third-degree felony. The maximum sentence for that offense was five years in prison, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections, but Kiessling said he was sentenced to six-and-a-half months in jail before he was released. He then was charged with criminal sexual conduct again – against a victim between 13 and 15 years old – in March 2010 and pleaded no contest, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
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He was released in March 2012, but is a registered sex offender and his supervision conditions include having a “responsible adult” present if he is with a child under the age of 18. Supervision conditions listed on the Michigan Department of Corrections website do not include staying away from his victims.
A DNA test established Mirasolo’s paternity of the child on Sept. 22. Judge Gregory S. Ross of Sanilac County Circuit Court awarded parenting time and joint legal custody to Mirasolo based on that test. He also provided the accused rapist with the victim’s home address. The woman, who had taken up residence in Florida, was informed that she needed to move back to Michigan.
Mirasolo did not initiate the case and has not indicated plans to be involved with the child, his attorney, Barbara Yockey, told the Detroit Free Press.
“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.
“I don’t know what his plans or intentions might be regarding any future relationship with the child,” Yockey continued. “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.”
Kiessling said the issue is in direct violation of a Michigan law passed in 2016 concerning parental rights of rapists. The law states that “if a child custody dispute involves a child who is conceived as the result of acts for which one of the child’s biological parents is convicted of criminal sexual conduct ... or is found by clear and convincing evidence in a fact-finding hearing to have committed acts of nonconsensual sexual penetration, the court shall not award custody to that biological parent.”
Kiessling told the Detroit Free Press that Mirasolo kidnapped the victim, her sister and a friend in September 2008, threw away their cell phones and kept them in a vacant house for two days. She said he forcibly raped the victim at that time and “threatened to kill them if they told anyone what happened.”
Speaking about the joint custody case on “The Steve Gruber Show,” Kiessling called it “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 victimising my client, who was a child herself when this all happened.”
Kiessling, who is working the case pro-bono and says she is a child conceived of rape herself, filed an objection Friday on behalf of the young mother. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.