Assistant prosecutor in custody, rape case fired
Sandusky – An assistant Sanilac County prosecutor at the center of a controversial child custody case involving a sexual assault victim and her convicted rapist has been fired, the prosecutor's office said Friday.
“Sanilac County Prosecuting Attorney James V. Young has terminated assistant prosecutor Eric G. Scott as of October 18, 2017," said a statement released by Young's office. “This action is the result of the prosecutor’s review of the office policy, procedures and legal review of Mr. Scott’s handling of the paternity case involving Christopher Mirasolo.”
Scott, who had been employed by the office since 2003, could not be reached for comment.
The statement was issued a day after the state court administrator’s office said Scott "no longer has a relationship with the prosecutor's office."
“The song ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ comes to mind,” the rape victim’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, said Thursday.
“… I met with Eric Scott almost two weeks ago, and he saw nothing wrong with submitting this (consent) form without my client’s consent or signature,” she said. “He saw nothing wrong with awarding joint legal custody and parenting time to a two-time convicted child molester.”
Last month, Judge Gregory Ross granted Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City partial custody of a child conceived during his sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in 2008.
The ruling sparked a firestorm of criticism and brought international attention to this rural county of just over 40,000 people along Lake Huron in Michigan’s Thumb region. On Tuesday, Ross rescinded his decision.
He and Young both pledged to review procedures to prevent a similar situation from occurring again.
Young said Tuesday his office “takes responsibility for this error …”
When asked if anyone in his office had been disciplined or reprimanded over the handling of the case he replied, “not at this time” then added his review was “continuing.”
A filiation form – which ordered support, parenting time and joint legal custody of the 8-year-old boy – was signed by Ross, Young, the Friend of the Court and twice by Mirasolo. But all overlooked it had never been signed by his victim in the September 2008 assault, the child’s mother, now 21.
“I am not surprised the people are outraged, considering the way this case has been presented to the public. I am also,” Ross said from the bench Tuesday, saying he had not been made aware of the circumstances.
Ross said Tuesday he was never advised the boy’s mother had been raped or that Mirasolo had been convicted in connection with her of sexual assault.
“I believe, given the way this consent order was presented, I should have been advised the defendant raped the plaintiff,” the judge said. “Mr. Young advised he is reviewing his procedures. He is doing what he can to correct the mistake and see that it doesn’t happen again.”
Young has said the state Department of Health and Human Services did not pass along information about the victim’s pregnancy or Mirasolo’s conviction. Ross said he relies on the prosecutor’s office for such information before ruling on custody matters.
A DHHS spokesman said last week that matters involving parental rights are made by local officials, not the state.
“Procedures need to be reviewed,” Ross said Tuesday. “The Family Division of the Circuit Court will be reviewing its procedures also. This should not happen to anyone.”
Mirasolo could have been sentenced to 25 years to life for the 2008 sexual assault but was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
He was released from jail in July 2009. In March 2010, he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old Deckerville girl and later pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Mirasolo was paroled in July 2016, according to a state corrections database.