A 27-year-old Michigan man has been granted permission by a judge to joint custody of a boy who was conceived after the man allegedly raped the mother.
Sanilac County Circuit Judge Gregory Ross awarded Christopher Mirasolo, 27, parental rights to an eight-year-old boy after a DNA test showed he was the father of the child, according to The Detroit News.
This custody battle began after Sanilac County looked into the child support that the victim, 21, had received this past year.
In a statement released by the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office, a condition for someone to receive financial assistance from the state requires the individual to “co-operate with pursuing paternity [i.e. DNA test] and support [i.e. child support] for her minor child.”
“This young woman came to the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office and completed and signed a paternity questionnaire in which she disclosed the alleged father’s name and address,” the statement read. “She further signed an agreement to co-operate with pursuing paternity and signed a statement authorizing the disclosure of her address.”
The statement also outlined that even though Mirasolo has been given legal joint custody of the child, he never requested that right.
On Aug. 16, 2017, when Mirasolo was given a copy of the complaint for paternity, he asked for a DNA test that determined he was the father of the eight-year-old boy.
The BBC reported that Mirasolo’s attorney said she “didn’t know what his plans or intentions might be regarding any future relationship with the child.”
In a video posted to Facebook, the victim’s lawyer, Rebecca Kiessling, called the judge’s ruling “troubling,” and explained how an alleged rapist could gain joint custody of a child.
“By federal law, the prosecutor is supposed to file these kinds of cases so the state can be reimbursed and so child support can be established for the mother,” said Kiessling in the nine-minute video.
According to Kiessling, an assistant prosecutor prepared the judgment of filiation, which is a paternity order such as DNA testing, but did so without her client’s signature and submitted the order to the court anyway.
Kiessling said that if the assistant prosecutor had simply asked for her client’s signature, then her client would have the chance to say “no,” and go before the courts to be heard.
“In Michigan, you are not allowed to have parenting time and custody provisions in an order of filiation prepared by the prosecutor’s office unless both parents agree, which means you’d have to have both of their signatures on it,” said Kiessling.
In the same statement by the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office, it claimed the order that the victim signed stated “parenting time shall be as the parties agree. If they are unable to agree, either part may file a motion.” By the time Kiessling filed a motion for the court to modify its order, the order had already been given to the court by the assistant prosecutor.
The BBC also wrote that the victim, who now lives in Florida, has to now move back to Michigan.
In September 2008, the female victim, who was 12 at the time, was held captive with two other people for 48 hours by an 18-year-old man. It was during that time that he had allegedly raped her.
Kiessling said her client’s alleged rapist was never properly charged.
“In fact, the day she was raped, they didn’t make an arrest. There had been an Amber Alert, she was missing for two days, she had told the police she was raped. And it wasn’t until she was pregnant a month later that there was finally an arrest,” Kiessling said in the video.
The Detroit News stated the then-18-year-old man was given a plea deal on an attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
The alleged rapist was to serve one-year in jail but was released after six-and-a-half months so he could take care of his sick mother.
Kiessling is seeking protection for her client under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, which was put in place by the Obama administration in 2015 to provide more funding to sexual assault victims “if they allowed courts to terminate the parental rights of an individual found to have committed rape against another person that resulted in the conception of a child,” wrote the BBC.
A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.