A Michigan judge has granted parental rights to a convicted sex offender, providing the man with access to a child born from the nearly decade-old alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl, the victim’s lawyer said.
Sanilac County Circuit Judge Gregory Ross made the decision after a DNA test last month confirmed that 27-year-old Christopher Mirasolo is the biological father of the boy, who is now 8, said the lawyer, Rebecca Kiessling, on Sunday.
Mirasolo pleaded guilty in 2008 to attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct and served six months in jail for the crime. In 2010, he went to prison for four years in a separate sex crime case.
Kiessling said her client, who is now 21, had not requested joint custody — “I hope [Mirasolo] never has any rights to him at all,” the mother told NBC affiliate WDIV — even though the judge’s order, on September 25, said the decision was “based solely on consent.”
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That “consent, however, was never obtained,” Kiessling said in court documents. “No one ever even conferred with the Plaintiff regarding the ‘consent judgment,’ she did not sign the ‘consent judgment,’ nor was the Plaintiff afforded legal representation in the matter.”
In the process, Kiessling added, the mother’s address was revealed to Mirasolo and the judge ordered that his name be added to the child’s birth certificate.
Kiessling said the arrangement was set in motion after the mother applied for food stamps.
“There was no warning this would open the door to give him parental aid,” Kiessling said.
Federal law required the mother to name the child’s father so the state could seek child support reimbursement, she said. Because Mirasolo wasn’t included on the child’s birth certificate, Kiessling said, the local prosecutor’s office filed a case to identify him.
After a DNA test, Ross gave Mirasolo joint custody and ordered him to pay $316 in monthly child support, according to court documents.
But Mirasolo’s lawyer, Barbara Yockey, said he had not initiated the request. “My client will not be seeing the child,” she said.
Yockey added that it was part of a routine process at the local prosecutor’s office.
Messages left at the Sanilac County’s Prosecuting Attorney’s Office were not returned.
But Kiessling, a lawyer and advocate who specializes in cases involving children and survivors of rape, said she was shocked at how quickly the case moved through the court, and this was apparently a standard practice for the prosecutor.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said.
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.