SANILAC COUNTY, Michigan – In what can only be described as gross injustice, a convicted rapist is getting joint custody of a child conceived during his crime. Moreover, the victim was a child when the unthinkable offense occurred.
A man who raped a girl when she was 12-years-old has now been awarded joint custody of her 8-year-old boy, despite being convicted of rape and sexual assault of another child.
Christopher Mirasalo, 27, (pictured) from Brown City, Michigan, sexually assaulted the victim nine years ago, getting her pregnant in the process. A Sanilac County Circuit judge awarded Mirasalo parenting time and joint legal custody after a paternity test concluded that he was the father of the child, reported WYFF4.
The rationale of Judge Gregory S. Ross was not included in the report.
Moreover, since being convicted in 2008, the predator-Mirasalo has been convicted of another sexual assault of a child, and served four years in prison for it.
The victim is now 21-years-old. Understandably, she is seeking protection under the federal Rape Survival Child Custody Act to try and halt Mirasalo’s access, according to The Detroit News. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
According to the victim’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, Mirasalo forcibly raped and threatened to kill her client in September 2008. Incredibly, his sentence was only one year in prison for that offense, but he only served six and a half months.
The case, initially reported on “The Steve Gruber Show,” a Lansing-based radio program, is believed the first of its kind in Michigan and possibly the nation. According to the victim and Kiessling, it was prompted after the county surveyed the victim regarding child support she had received this past year.
“This is insane,” said Kiessling, who filed objections Friday with Ross. “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.”
Ross disclosed the rape victim’s address to Mirasolo and ordered Mirasolo’s name to be added to the child’s birth certificate — all without the victim’s consent or a hearing, according to Kiessling.
Mirasolo was 18 when the crime occurred, reported Detroit News.
“An assistant prosecutor on this, Eric Scott, told me she had granted her consent, which was a lie — she has never been asked to do this and certainly never signed anything,” Kiessling said.
The news organization said Ross could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Kiessling said her client was notified she was “not allowed to move 100 miles from where she had been living when the case was filed, without court consent.”
“So the prosecutor told her she had to come home immediately or she would be held in contempt of court,” Kiessling said.
The attorney provided brief background:
“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,” said Kiessling. “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. He threatened to kill them if they told anyone what happened.”
Mirasolo was arrested a month later, she said, when her client was pregnant.
While the assault potentially carried a penalty of life or any term of years but not less than 25 years, Mirasolo was given a plea deal by the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
“She (client) and her family was told first-time sex offenders weren’t sent to prison because people come out worse after they go there,” said Kiessling.
Barbara Yockey, Mirasolo’s attorney, said it’s unclear what her client’s future involvement — if any — will be with the child. Furthermore, she declined to discuss any of his past criminal cases.
“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,” she 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 said. “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.”
Reportedly the rape victim’s family suggested abortion or giving the child up for adoption. However, she did neither.
“To her credit, she said she didn’t want the baby to be a victim, too,” said Kiessling. “She dropped out of school, went to live with relatives out of state and worked jobs to try and support herself.”
The unnamed woman spoke briefly Friday about her situation.
“I think this is all crazy,” she told The News. “They (officials) never explained anything to me. 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.”
(Photo: Michigan Department of Corrections)