PORT HURON, Mich. — A rape victim's lawyer said the Sanilac County Prosecutor's Office needs to be investigated after a 27-year-old Brown City man was granted custody of a child who was conceived in the rape of a 12-year-old girl nine years ago.
"There needs to be a full investigation into this office," said Rochester Hills attorney Rebecca Kiessling.
Kiessling, who was also conceived through rape, is co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception and president of Save The 1 and is working the case pro bono.
No one could be reached for comment at the Sanilac County Prosecutor's Office Monday.
Kiessling said Sanilac County Judge Gregory S. Ross signed an order awarding parenting time and joint legal custody of the 8-year-old child to Christopher Mirasolo Sept. 22.
Mirasolo's lawyer, Barbara Yockey, said the issue is being resolved privately.
"He's not going to attempt to see the child, no," Yockey said, adding she anticipates an Oct. 25 hearing in the case to be canceled.
Kiessling said late Monday the settlement remained in the works and will have to be signed off on by the prosecutor before becoming final.
Mirasolo pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct in the Sept. 6, 2008, assault of Kiessling's client. The Times Herald and USA TODAY do not name the victims of sexual assault.
Kiessling said the case started wrong and questioned why prosecutors would have charged Mirasolo with an attempted rape when the girl was pregnant — blatant evidence the act had been committed.
"The plea deal was atrocious as well," she said.
He was discharged from the department of corrections on Dec. 20, 2010. Kiessling said the crime deserved a minimum of 25 years in prison and he only spent 6½ months incarcerated.
Mirasolo pleaded no contest to third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in a March 29, 2010, incident involving a 15-year-old girl.
Kiessling said that victim also reached out to her.
"He should have been in prison when she was raped ... It is the prosecutor's fault that she was raped," Kiessling said.
She said the prosecutor's office is failing her client.
Mirasolo didn't file any motions for custody. Kiessling said the prosecutor's office "inexplicably," did it.
Kiessling said the order was forwarded to the judge without her client's consent.
"So this is the prosecutor's office doing this, and the prosecutor knew this was a rape victim," she said.
The process started when the rape victim filed for state aid, requiring her to submit information about her child's biological father.
Vockey said Mirasolo complied with DNA testing and the paternity order was sent out.
Kiessling said this case is a clear example of why laws need to be changed to terminate the parental rights of rapists.
"First of all, a rape victim should not have to be tethered to her rapists for 18 years," Kiessling said. "She deserves to be fully protected from her rapists, as well as the child. Secondly, we've had several women in our organization conceived in rape, and their biological rapist fathers used visits to molest them as well.
"Someone who raped is unfit to be a parent, they don't respect basic boundaries, so they shouldn't be a parent. You also shouldn't be able to benefit from your crime."
A motion objecting the order has been issued with a hearing scheduled for Oct. 25. Kiessling said this is the first time a rape victim will seek protection under the new Rape Survivor Child Custody Act.
A rally is being planned for the day of the hearing on the courthouse lawn, according to a Facebook event page.
Yockey said the case never should have made the press and could have been handled privately.
"I'm very frustrated this hit the press because there is a child involved; this is not something that should have ever ended up in the press because of the child," she said.
Several officials have spoken out about the case.
"This is exactly why I introduced and fought for PA 96 of 2016, to protect victims like her from having to relive the worst moments of their lives, and to prevent scumbags like him from using innocent children as leverage to continue intimidation of or involvement with their victims," Lisa Posthumous Lyons, Kent County Clerk and former state representative, said in a statement. "What I didn’t anticipate is a judge who at best is unaware of Michigan law, or at worst places rapist above victims.
"You can bet that I will keep an eye on this situation, and if the court further denies this victim justice, I will work with the Attorney General to ensure Michigan’s law is enforced and rape victims are protected."
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley posted on Facebook:
"This is outrageous and unacceptable. I will begin work immediately on remedies. This article says that this case is the first of its kind in Michigan and perhaps in the nation. We need to make sure that it is also the last of its kind — and that the decision is overturned."
Follow Liz Shepard on Twitter: @lvshepard