A Sanilac County Circuit judge has granted parenting time and joint legal custody of an 8-year-old boy to a convicted sex offender who allegedly raped the child’s mother nine years ago.
Breaking News: Michigan Rapist Gets Joint Custody
Christopher Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City was awarded joint legal custody by Judge Gregory S. Ross after DNA testing established paternity of the child, according to the victim’s attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, who is seeking protection under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
The case, initially reported on “The Steve Gruber Show,” a Lansing-based radio program, is believed the first of its kind in Michigan and possibly the nation. According to the victim and Kiessling, it was prompted after the county surveyed the victim regarding child support she had received this past year.
“This is insane,” said Kiessling, who filed objections Friday with Ross. “Nothing has been right about this since it was originally investigated. 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.”
Ross disclosed the rape victim’s address to Mirasolo and ordered Mirasolo’s name to be added to the child’s birth certificate — all without the victim’s consent or a hearing, according to Kiessling.
“An assistant prosecutor on this, Eric Scott, told me she had granted her consent, which was a lie — she has never been asked to do this and certainly never signed anything,” Kiessling said.
Ross could not be reached Friday afternoon.
Scott did not return telephone calls Friday, and Sanilac County’s elected prosecutor, James V. Young, was out of the office for the day and unavailable, a receptionist said.
Kiessling said her client was notified she was “not allowed to move 100 miles from where she had been living when the case was filed, without court consent.”
“So the prosecutor told her she had to come home immediately or she would be held in contempt of court,” Kiessling said.
That instruction, along with other matters ordered by the court, will be taken up at the hearing later this month.
According to Kiessling, Mirasolo forcibly raped and threatened to kill her client, now 21, nine years ago when the woman was 12. Mirasolo was 18 when the incident occurred in September 2008.
“She, 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,” said Kiessling. “They thought they were going to McDonald’s or somewhere.
“Instead, he tossed their cellphones away, drove to Detroit where he stole gas from a station and then drove back to Sanilac County, 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 was arrested a month later, she said, when her client was pregnant.
While the assault potentially carried a penalty of life or any term of years but not less than 25 years, Mirasolo was given a plea deal by the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Mirasolo was sentenced to one year in the county jail but only served six and a half months before early release so he could care for his sick mother, Kiessling said.
“She (client) and her family was told first-time sex offenders weren’t sent to prison because people come out worse after they go there,” said Kiessling.
In March 2010, Mirasolo committed a sex assault on a victim between the ages of 13 and 15 years old. He served only four years for that second offense, Kiessling said.
Barbara Yockey, Mirasolo’s attorney, said it’s unclear what her client’s future involvement — if any — will be with the child. She declined to discuss any of his past criminal cases.
“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,” she said. “He never initiated this. It was something routinely done by the prosecutor’s office when a party makes application for state assistance.
“I don’t know what his plans or intentions might be regarding any future relationship with the child,” Yockey said. “This might be something we will have a conversation about, but he has not been served with any other court papers and is not scheduled to be in court.”
Meanwhile, the rape victim’s family suggested abortion or giving the child up for adoption. She did neither.
“To her credit, she said she didn’t want the baby to be a victim, too,” said Kiessling. “She dropped out of school, went to live with relatives out of state and worked jobs to try and support herself.”
The Detroit News’ policy is not to identify sexual assault victims.
The woman spoke briefly Friday about her situation.
“I think this is all crazy,” she told The News. “They (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.”
The FBI is assisting in the investigations of three women whose remains were found within the last year in the same North Carolina town where a fourth woman is now missing.
ALERT: Fourth Woman Disappears From North Carolina Town Where 3 Others Found Dead
Abby Patterson, 20, told her mother she’d return in an hour when she left the family’s Lumberton, N.C., home on the morning of Sept. 5 and stepped into an old brown Buick parked outside.
Authorities are searching for the young woman — who has not been seen or heard from since — as they also probe the deaths of three other women whose bodies were found weeks apart from each other in a three-block area of Lumberton.
Abby Patterson, above, disappeared from Lumberton, N.C., on Sept. 5. (Family photo )
“At this point we don’t know if there’s a connection,” Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill said of the women.
“We’re soliciting help from the community,” McNeill told Fox News. “Someone out there has information we need.”
Investigators discovered the body of Christina Bennett, 32, on April 18 inside an abandoned home in Lumberton — a city of close to 22,000 people in Robeson County. That same day, the remains of Rhonda Jones were found in a nearby trash container.
Neighborhood resident 28-year-old Megan Oxendine was interviewed by a local news station at the time Jones’ body was discovered. Weeks later, on June 3, Oxendine’s remains were found about 500 feet away from the other women’s remains.
There were no obvious signs of trauma to the victims, and police are still waiting for official autopsy reports from the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh, McNeill said.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed to Fox News on Thursday that the bureau is assisting local police with the investigations.
In the case of Patterson, police said they have identified the man last seen with the young woman, who was living in Florida and visiting her mother in Lumberton for two days when she disappeared.
“We’re still talking to him,” Lumberton Police Department Captain Terry Parker said to Fox News.
“We think it’s someone she knew, but we’re not sure,” said Parker, who did not name the man or say whether he’s considered a person of interest in the case.
Patterson is pictured in an undated family photo.
“Abby is still listed as a missing person. We’ve had reported sightings of her, but none of them have been confirmed,” he said.
The woman’s mother, meanwhile, told Fox News it was unlike her daughter to voluntarily cut all contact with her family.
“We talk or text every day,” said Samantha Lovette, Patterson’s mother. “When she didn’t come home after an hour, I called her cell phone and it went straight to voicemail.”
“We just want her home,” said Lovette, who described her daughter, the youngest of her three children, as “bubbly and free-spirited.”
“Everybody she meets, she just loves and they love her,” said Lovette.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the location of Patterson. Anyone with information on her whereabouts or on the deaths of Bennett, Jones and Oxendine is urged to call the Lumberton Police Department at (910) 671-3845.
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