Michigan judge rescinds order in custody case - WNEM TV 5

Michigan judge rescinds order in custody case

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Source: (Michigan Department of Corrections) Source: (Michigan Department of Corrections)
Protesters gathered outside of the courthouse on Oct. 17. (Source: WNEM) Protesters gathered outside of the courthouse on Oct. 17. (Source: WNEM)
Protesters gathered outside of the courthouse on Oct. 17. (Source: WNEM) Protesters gathered outside of the courthouse on Oct. 17. (Source: WNEM)
SANDUSKY, MI (WNEM/AP) -

A Michigan judge has rescinded his order that gave a convicted sex offender joint legal custody of a child born to a woman who said the man raped her when she was 12.

Sanilac County Judge Gregory Ross ruled Tuesday that 27-year-old Christopher Mirasolo won't have any parental rights in connection to the 8-year-old boy.

The case started when the 21-year-old mother sought state assistance for her son. As a condition of receiving assistance, the state required she cooperate in pursuing paternity verification and financial support from the child's father.

A DNA test confirmed paternity. Mirasolo never sought parental rights, but Ross granted him joint legal custody and ordered him to pay child support last month.

"Horrible. I was scared not knowing if I would ever be forced to let him see him," said Tiffany, the victim.

Ross quickly put the order on hold after learning Mirasolo had two previous criminal sexual conduct convictions, including one concerning the boy's mother.

"Everybody's asking, 'how could a judge do such a thing?' Answer is that this judge was not aware. I did not have knowledge of the fact that the baby was conceived by rape," Ross said.

Tiffany is thankful she will not be forced to share parenting rights with the man who raped her.

She marched with other protesters outside of the Sanilac County Courthouse on Tuesday.

"This is all that baby knows and this would tear my daughter to shreds," said Jennifer, the woman's mother.

Jennifer said Mirasolo should still be in prison.

"There was a second victim in this case and if he would've been charged in the first place and went to prison this would've never happened again," Jennifer said.

Sanilac County Prosecutor James Young said it was a mistake for the judge to grant Mirasolo joint custody in the first place.

"Obviously we're going to require DHS to provide us with more information relative to the case in front of us. Usually we just get a piece of paper in front of us saying what's going on, but we're going to get some issues resolved here," Young said.

Ross said he is working with the prosecutor to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

"I believe the way this consent order was presented, I should've been advised the defendant raped the plaintiff. Mr. Young is reviewing his procedures. We are doing what we can to fix the mistake and make sure it never happens again," Ross said.

Tiffany's family is saying it's not about money, it's making sure the attacker never gets to see their son.

However, Tiffany's attorney said she does deserve financial help.

"My client has the right to child support. That's because it would be a lot more than what she was receiving from state aid," said Rebecca Kiessling, Tiffany's attorney.

Kiessling believes the judge failed to address all of the issues involved with the case.

"Not to grant parenting time and custody, that's what we asked. She still needs the child support. He did not address that issue in the court. All he said was the order was going to be vacated. So we might have to come back here," Kiessling said.

Jennifer still wonders how her daughter's attacker is allowed to live only eight miles from their house.

"I just hope there's no more plea deals for these kinds of people. Whether if you're a mother, a father, you need to be charged to the full extent of the law," Jennifer said.

In response to the case, State Rep. Pam Faris (D-Clio) introduced House Bill 5132.

The bill would prohibit courts from granting custody or parenting time of a child to a parent who is convicted of criminal sexual conduct which led to the conception of that child, Faris' office said.

“Sadly, this woman’s experiences show exactly what our state needs to change to better serve and protect victims. From making it clear on DHHS applications that concern for safety is an acceptable reason not to provide certain information, to eliminating loopholes in state law, there can be no doubt that our courts shall not grant a rapist custody or parenting time with a child who was conceived as the result of their attack," Faris said.

The current law in Michigan, Child Custody Act of 1970, says in part "if a child custody dispute involves a child who is conceived as the result of acts for which 1 of the child's biological parents is convicted of criminal sexual conduct ... or a substantially similar statute of another state or the federal government, or is found by clear and convincing evidence in a fact-finding hearing to have committed acts of nonconsensual sexual penetration, the court shall not award custody to that biological parent." 

Faris' bill is hoping to amend the law to make a few changes that can be found here.

>>Read more: Victim speaks out about custody battle with convicted rapist<<

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