2nd victim: No way rapist should have custody
Sandusky — A second victim of a man who was given joint custody of a child he conceived in rape says he should not be around children.
“When I read the (Detroit News) article, I was disgusted,” said the second woman, who lives in Port Huron. “I guess there is no way they can do anything to him, because he has already served sentences in both cases.
“But there is no way he should have custody,” she said. “And I don’t think he should even be allowed around any children without supervision.”
The woman who recently was ordered to share custody was assaulted by Christopher Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City when she was 12 in 2008. Mirasolo was awarded custodial rights and parenting time with the 8-year-old boy.
She said Friday she never was consulted about custody and never consented to the arrangement ordered by Sanilac County Judge Gregory S. Ross. Her attorney plans to contest the action in court later this month.
Tuesday morning, the woman, who identified herself as Tiffany on The Steve Gruber Show, which streams online at stevegruber.com. She said she was living in Florida and when she went to change her address was told there was a court order for her to return to Michigan.
“Part of me didn’t want to come back home because I was scared,” she said on the radio show. “I would’ve got contempt of court if I hadn’t shown. I would’ve been thrown in jail.”
Tiffany said she felt “so alone, by myself” over the last nine years since her assault.
“I didn’t talk about it, I tried to put it behind me, but that’s never possible. You never forget what happens.”
Tiffany said a judge decided to put the rapist’s name on her son’s birth certificate.
“(I’d been told), he’d have to fight for any kind of rights,” Tiffany said. “Then this judge just hands him these rights, like he deserves them.”
Her son, she said, wants nothing to do with the man.
The second victim said that in March 2010, she was taken to the same vacant Brown City house where the man had allegedly assaulted the other teen two years earlier, then finally taken to a Deckerville apartment where he threatened her with brass knuckles during a sexual assault.
Mirasolo, who could have been facing up to life for sexually assaulting a minor, pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct in the 2008 case and pleaded no contest to two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the 2010 case.
According to a Michigan Department of Corrections database, Mirasolo was sentenced in December 2010 to 5 to 15 years in prison and paroled in July 2016.
The revelations come as outrage is growing over the judge’s decision. Critics include a former Michigan legislator who said Ross’s action violates a state law she sponsored last year.
“You can bet that I will keep an eye on this situation and if the court further denies this victim justice, I will work with the attorney general to ensure Michigan’s law is enforced and rape victims are protected,” ex-Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons said in a statement Monday.
Neither Ross nor the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office have returned calls from The News.
Mirasolo has declined interview requests from The News. Barbara Yockey, his attorney, said Monday there have been “things happening” out of public view.
“We expect to resolve this in a couple days, likely by the end of this week,” Yockey said. “This is all something that should have happened privately and never been made public.”
Yockey, who declined to elaborate or discuss Mirasolo’s past sexual assault convictions, said “he denies many things that have been reported about him,” but would not provide specifics.
The News’ policy is not to identify sexual assault victims. The second victim said she was 14 when she met Mirasolo through a friend in Deckerville and he invited her and a younger friend to go for a ride in his truck in March 2010.
“He said we were going to a McDonald’s, but next thing I knew we were going miles away to a house he wanted to show us,” she recalled.
She said Mirasolo took them to a house on the outskirts of Brown City, believed to be owned by his parents.
Once inside, she said Mirasolo showed her a bathroom and tried to lock the door with the two of them inside.
“I shouted to my friend that we had to go,” she said. “Things didn’t feel right and I wanted out of there.”
Mirasolo dropped the woman’s friend off, the second victim said.
“I didn’t want him to see where I lived, so I asked him to take me to an apartment nearby where I had left some belongings,” she said. “I went inside and didn’t know he had followed right behind.”
She said Mirasolo, who was armed with brass knuckles, raped her in the apartment. Afterward, she began crying and said she needed to go home.
Mirasolo left the apartment, and the girl said she waited a while before leaving, afraid he might follow her. She called her friend, who called police.
“I was taken to a hospital and did a rape kit and then was interviewed by state police,” she said.
“I knew his name and that he lived in Brown City, and he was picked up the next day.”
There was sexual penetration, but she did not get pregnant. She agreed to a plea deal, she said, because “I was told if I went into court it would just be my word against his, no guarantees.”
“I was never called into court, and that was OK,” she said. “I was very uncomfortable about going in front of a roomful of people telling them what had happened. I was young. I was afraid. And I was afraid of him. I just wanted some punishment.”
The first victim’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, is seeking protection under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
Kiessling said the second victim contacted her after reading The News’ article on the custody case and offered her support.
“Before I was able to give her a description of the house, she gave me a complete description, and the two victims met and confirmed the description together,” Kiessling said. “Both confirmed it had a sliding glass door in the back, and the second victim described the hot tub in the bathroom where he locked her in.”
According to the first victim and Kiessling, the judge’s action in the custody case was prompted after the county surveyed the victim seeking reimbursement regarding child support — about $260 a month in food stamps — she had received for three years.
She identified Mirasolo as the child’s birth father and the prosecutor’s office filed in court on his behalf after a paternity test confirmed him as the boy’s father.
Kiessling said her client never consented to joint custody and was never consulted about the issue.
“When she learned of it she was living in Florida with her son and was told she needed to return to Michigan or face potential contempt of court charges,” the attorney said.
The mother was receiving food stamps and limited health insurance for her child for the past three years, Kiessling said.
Mirasolo was sentenced to one year in the county jail in the 2008 case but only served six and a half months before being granted early release so he could care of his sick mother, Kiessling said.
“This is insane,” the attorney said.
“ ... if it had been handled properly, he would never have been out to rape this second victim.”
Lyons said the law she sponsored last year was intended to prevent sex offenders such as Mirasolo from victimizing women a second time.
“This is exactly why I introduced and fought for PA 96 of 201, to protect victims like her from having to relive the worst moments of their lives and to prevent scumbags like him from using innocent children as a leverage to continued intimidation of or involvement with their victims,” said Lyons, who’s now the Kent County clerk.
“What I didn’t anticipate is a judge who at best is unaware of Michigan law, or at worst, places (a) rapist above victims,” she said.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley also blasted the judge’s ruling in a social media post.
“This is outrageous and unacceptable,” Calley wrote on Facebook. “I will begin work immediately on remedies. This article says this case is the first of its kind in Michigan and perhaps in the nation. We need to make sure that it is also the last of its kind — and that the decision is overturned.”
Bob Wheaton, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Human Services, which does not make decisions about child custody or parenting time, stressed it is a “matter for local courts to determine working with the local prosecutor’s office.” He said Monday the agency planned to look at the court action.
When asked if the agency would do anything to protect the child, Wheaton replied: “The department is reviewing if interventions are available under current law.”
Under federal law, the department is required to establish paternity and pursue a child support order from the court, unless there is a determination of good cause not to pursue child support, Wheaton said.
“The department would need to be notified by the custodial parent of any reason to determine good cause not to pursue a child support order,” he said. “However, efforts to collect child support do not require the court to approve custody or parenting time.”