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Rape Victim Must Share Custody of Son With Her Attacker

Photograph by Twenty20

Many assume that the courts will strip away certain rights from a person after they have sexually abused a child, but sometimes it doesn't work that way.

A Michigan judge recently awarded a convicted sex offender joint legal custody of an 8-year-old boy he fathered after raping the boy's mother nine years ago, according to The Detroit News.

Rebecca Kiessling, the victim's attorney, who is currently seeking protection under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, told the news outlet that Judge Gregory S. Ross ruled in favor of joint custody after DNA testing established paternity of the child. Ross made this ruling despite knowing that Christopher Mirasolo, 27, forcibly raped and threatened to kill Kiessling's client when she was only 12 years old.

“[The client, whom The Detroit News chose not to identify], 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. They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere," Kiessling told The Detroit News, recalling the crime that happened in September 2008.

“Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit where he stole gas from a station and then drove back to Sanilac County (Mich.), 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, then 18, was arrested a month later (when Kiessling's client was pregnant) and given a plea deal for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct. His sentence: one year in a county jail for a crime that typically carries a sentence of no less than 25 years.

“[The client] and her family were told first-time sex offenders weren’t sent to prison because people come out worse after they go there,” said Kiessling.

He was released, after serving only 6 1/2 months, to tend to his ailing mother. But Mirasolo was jailed again in March 2010 for sexual assault on a victim between the ages of 13 and 15 years old. That time, he served four years.

That's right. He raped a 12-year-old girl, got her pregnant, received a light sentence, raped another girl and now, by a court of law, is allowed to spend parenting time with an 8-year-old boy.

“This is insane,” said Kiessling, who filed objections last Friday with Ross. The case, which might be the first of its kind, according to The Detroit News, was allegedly prompted after "the county surveyed the victim regarding child support she had received this past year." Another hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.

“Nothing has been right about this since it was originally investigated," Kiessling told the news outlet. "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.”

Barbara Yockey, Mirasolo’s attorney, says she is unaware of what the future holds (if any) between the father and son.

“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."

What does the child's mother think?

“I think this is all crazy,” she told reporters. “[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.”

It is also the way our legal system works or, in her case, didn't.

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