A Michigan judge recently gave an alleged rapist joint legal custody over the child of the rape. The anonymous victim, who was twelve years old at the time of the assault, is baffled and furious.
In July, the victim made a routine application for state aid; $260 worth of food stamps for her and her son that she had been receiving for the past three years. During a survey about child support received, she named Christopher Mirasolo, who had raped her nine years previously, as the father of her child. Judge Gregory Ross gave the father joint custody in what the victim believes was the state “trying to see how to get some of the money back.”
The court revealed the victim’s current address to Mirasolo and ordered her to move back to Michigan to facilitate joint custody of the child. The prosecutor’s office also put Mirasolo’s name on the birth certificate, and the victim’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, says that they lied about her consent being given. Judge Ross also required Mirasolo to pay $346 a month in child support and provide the boy with healthcare coverage. Mirasolo’s lawyer, Barbara Yockey, says that Mirasolo is not interested in parental rights, although he will pay the required child support.
America’s laws around child support and custody are an uneven patchwork. Seven states will not refuse custody to a parent convicted of rape, and half of the states will only refuse custody if the rapist is convicted. Although Michigan is one of the states that requires a conviction to refuse custody, Mirasolo was convicted for his assault.
In 2008, he kidnapped the victim, held her captive in an abandoned building, and sexually assaulted her. When the victim was found to be pregnant a month later, Mirasolo was arrested. Although his charge of third-degree sexual assault could have netted him 25 years in prison, a plea deal based on his juvenile status bought him a year-long sentence.
On October 10th, Judge Ross ordered a stay on his earlier ruling, pending a hearing on October 25th. The County Prosecutor also said that they were reviewing their process for paternity complaints because of the case and that they would “make changes if necessary.”
Kiessling says this isn’t the first case of this kind that she’s dealt with. “I’ve had rape victims who were cut off from state aid because they couldn’t name the rapist,” she told reporters. But the victim, who remains anonymous, is still baffled by the court’s decision. “I don’t understand why they thought they needed to give him joint legal custody,” she told CBS News. “He was my rapist.”
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