Are There Any Parental Rights For Rapists?

Gavel depicting parental rights rapists

It all started with a petition email with the subject, “a rapist granted child custody?”

The petitioners wanted a Michigan judge’s decision to be overturned. In addition, they want the judge himself to be impeached and removed from his bench in response to what happened in Sanilac County Michigan recently.

And yes, the story will make you cringe. But it’s not exactly how it sounds.

A convicted rapist received, on paper, custody rights to the son he fathered through rape.

The Background

Back in 2008, Christopher Mirasolo held his victim – then a 12-year-old girl – for two days in a house near Brown City and sexually assaulted her. She became pregnant and kept her child, born in June of 2009.

Mirasolo spent only 6.5 months in the county jail as a result of a plea deal. He was allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges of attempted criminal sexual assault in the 3rd degree. He was sentenced to one year in the county jail and released early in order to care for his sick mother. His profile can be viewed on the Michigan Offender Tracking system.  

Fast forward to 2014. Mirasolo raped again in 2014 and this time he was sentenced to 5-15 years in prison. He was paroled in July of 2016 after serving 4 years of the 5-year minimum.

The Court’s Involvement

Everything was relatively okay until the courts got involved again. Much of the trouble seems to be coming from the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office. The Office used an order they use for all paternity cases for the victim’s case.

The victim was required to name the father of her child in order to keep receiving welfare. It seems she did sign a paternity action initiated by the Michigan Department of Human Services to request financial assistance for her child. She also provided the name and address of Mirasolo and he submitted to a paternity test.

Judge Gregory Ross then received a Consent Judgment on September 22, 2017, that the father agreed to pay child support. Language in this document stipulated parenting time would be as both parties agreed since there was no marriage.

To be clear, Mirasolo had not requested to visit his child.

In addition, the mother’s signature was not on that document. According to her attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, the victim felt she was under duress to provide this information in order to keep receiving financial assistance.

Additionally, Judge Ross was not informed that the child had been conceived in rape. This was all information it was the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office’s responsibility to make clear to the judge.

Michigan Law on Granting Parental Rights to Rapists

Judge Ross then signed an order to stop proceedings until another hearing can be scheduled. Granting parental rights to rapists is actually against Michigan law.

Here is what the law states:

Some of the rapist’s parental rights over children they fathered through rape can be terminated. If child custody is contested, it will not be awarded to men who fathered through rape. However, custody must first be in dispute.

The only exception to this law is when the rapist and the victim later cohabitate or the rapist was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the 3rd degree. See Mich. Comp. Laws Serv §§ 722.25 and 722.27a.

Because of Mirasolo’s actual charge -3rd degree sexual assault – this case could be tricky if he were trying to gain custody of his child, but he’s not. Both attorneys are working together to come up with a deal that may make another hearing on the matter unnecessary.

Over to You

What do you think? Was this just a policy snafu with the prosecutor’s office, and an oversight? Does Judge Ross really deserve to be impeached?