Family Law

Judge was unaware he gave joint custody to father accused of raping the then-12-year-old mother

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Christopher Mirasolo/Michigan Department of Corrections

A Michigan judge says he was not aware he had awarded joint legal custody of a boy to a father accused of raping the boy’s mother when she was 12.

Judge Gregory Ross of Sanilac County thought he was ruling in a routine paternity case when he awarded joint legal custody to 27-year-old Christopher Mirasolo,, the Associated Press and the Detroit News report. A DNA test had shown Mirasolo was the boy’s father.

Ross was merely told that “this person is the father, this person is the child and the father agrees to pay child support,” said Michigan Supreme Court spokesman John Nevin in an interview with The prosecutor’s office had presented the case without any mention of Mirasolo’s sex offender status or the accusations against him, Nevin said. Mirasolo had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the case.

Mirasolo’s lawyer, Barbara Yockey, has said he was not seeking custody of the child. The child-support case was brought by the prosecutor’s office after the mother—now 21, according to—sought state assistance.

Ross has stayed his ruling and ordered a special hearing to consider objections by the mother’s lawyer, Rebecca Kiessling. In a court filing, Kiessling alleges Mirasolo had “forcibly raped and threatened to kill the child’s mother.”

That allegation was never proven in court. Instead, Mirasolo pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree criminal sexual assault in the 2008 case, according to Yockey. Third-degree criminal sexual assault is a statutory rape charge, Yockey says.

Mirasolo also pleaded no contest to third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in another case involving accusations by another underage girl in 2010, USA Today previously reported. Press coverage has differed on her age; one report said she was 15 and another said she was 14.

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