Judge stays order giving rapist joint custody

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Sandusky — A Sanilac County judge Tuesday set aside his controversial ruling granting a convicted rapist joint custody rights to a child born of his sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl and ordered a hearing next week.


Probate Judge Gregory S. Ross issued the stay of his Sept. 22 order that Christopher Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City be granted parental rights to the 8-year-old boy, who lives with his mother, now 21.

According to the victim and her attorney, Rebecca 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.

The woman identified Mirasolo as the child’s birth father, and the prosecutor’s office filed in court on his behalf after a DNA test confirmed his paternity.

The victim, who was assaulted in September 2008, said she was never consulted regarding joint custody.

County Prosecutor James V. Young said in a statement Tuesday that his office will conduct an internal review of its policies and procedures as to “how these matters are handled and will be making changes as deemed appropriate.”

Mirasolo did not initiate the custody action, which Young said stemmed from a questionnaire the victim answered in July.

“While the mother did request that the father not receive visitation the (court) order stated: ‘Parenting time shall be as the parties agree. If they are unable to agree, either party may file a motion,’ ” the prosecutor said in his statement.

“The order is clear that, if the mother does not want the father to have visitation, she does not have to provide it,” he said.

Young also said Mirasolo has agreed to pay child support but is “waiving all other rights to the child, which if true, the Prosecutor’s Office fully supports.”

Young’s office declined further comment Tuesday.

The Sanilac County Courthouse.

Kiessling said Tuesday that the prosecutor’s office should never have intervened in the case.

“It is against the law for the prosecutor to get involved in parental rights and custody matters,” she said. “That’s not their job. Their job is to prosecute and protect people, not further victimize them.”

Ross scheduled a hearing for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday on objections being raised by Kiessling. The judge has not returned calls from The Detroit News.

Mirasolo has declined to be interviewed by The News. His attorney, Barbara Yockey, said Tuesday she has been working with Kiessling to resolve the case and “we are very close.”

“Chris never sought custody or visitation,” Yockey said. “It’s possible we will all sign off on something before next Tuesday’s hearing.”

Ross had originally scheduled a hearing for Oct. 25.

His Sept. 22 consent judgment said: “This court has not held a best interest hearing. This order is based solely on consent.”

But Kiessling said assistant prosecutor Eric Scott never obtained consent from her client before seeking the order providing Mirasolo with joint custody and parenting time.

In a complaint filed Friday with Ross, Kiessling asked the court to find “clear and convincing evidence that the minor child was conceived as a result of nonconsensual sexual penetration.” She also asked Ross to award sole parenting time and custody to her client.

Mirasolo 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 a 2010 case.

In her filing, Kiessling argued that Mirasolo should have been imprisoned “for life or any term of years but not less than 25 years” in the first case, rather than serving less than seven months.

She also cited his conviction for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the second case and said Mirasolo is violating his probation by living with his mother across from a school.

A story published in The News led the second woman assaulted by Mirasolo to come forward.

“When I read the 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 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.

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.

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