SANDUSKY - Judge Gregory Ross has ordered a rapist will not have custody or parental rights to the boy he fathered with a 12-year-old girl nine years ago.
In a statement, Sanilac County Prosecutor James Young says he wants to "express our apologies for the manner in which this case was handled."
Ross had signed a paternity order on Sept. 22 naming Christopher Mirasolo as the father of the boy. Mirasolo was ordered to pay child support and was granted joint custody and parenting time.
When it became public the boy was conceived through rape, public outcry was widespread. About 100 people gathered on the courthouse lawn in protest Tuesday.
Rebecca Kiessling, the victim's lawyer, said she was disappointed with the ruling.
"There is still a problem," she said. "Her signature wasn't on the (original) consent order.
"They are not allowed to issue a consent order without her consent."
She also said Ross's decision did not address the issue of child support.
"The judge just completely vacated the order," Kiessling said. "She did not get child support. She is entitled to child support."
In his decision, which he read in court, Ross wrote: "The question that everyone is asking is 'How could a judge do such a thing?'
"The answer is that this judge was not aware, did not have knowledge of the fact that the defendant raped the plaintiff and the child was born as a result."
He said he was presented with a paternity petition which he reviewed and there was nothing unusual in the order.
"It has been suggested that I 'rubber stamped' this order," he wrote. "I do not rubber stamp orders. I felt it was routine. I did not 'rubber stamp' it."
Both Ross and Young said procedures will be reviewed.
"The Family Division of the Circuit Court will be reviewing its procedures also," Ross wrote. "This should not happen to anyone."
Sandra Potter, of Peck, is founder of Dreamcatchers for Abused Children and one of the organizers of Tuesday's rally at the Sanilac County Courthouse.
"We're here to help support Rebecca and the victims," she said. "And obviously to protect the child."
She said the original consent agreement "never should have happened."
"Giving a twice-convicted sex-offender any type of custody and parental rights is unprecedented," she said.
Mirasolo pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct in the Sept. 6, 2008, assault of the child's mother, who was 12 at the time.
He was discharged from the department of corrections on Dec. 20, 2010.
Mirasolo pleaded no contest to third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in a March 29, 2010, incident involving a 15-year-old girl.
Both victims spoke during Tuesday's rally.
"I was kidnapped and raped by Christopher Mirasolo," said the woman who was 12 at the time of the assault. "He told me he would kill me if I told anybody he had raped me."
The Times Herald does not identify the victims of sexual assault.
The woman said she soon learned she was pregnant and that she decided to keep her baby.
"If it was not for this tiny baby, I would not be able to go on with life," she said. "I made a lot of sacrifices for my child.
"I'm fighting because my baby is worth fighting for and so are you," she told cheering supporters.
Danielle Audet, of Sandusky, said she was at the rally to protest the actions of Ross and Young.
"Just basically to show support for this victim," she said.
She said she had two signs posted on her car.
"One side is,'When I commit a crime, I get punished. Why don't our elected officials get punished?'" she said
"Sanilac County is so much better than this. We should be famous for something else."
In a response to objections of his being awarded custody of his son, Mirasolo said his relationship with the boy's mother when she was 12 was romantic.
"The Defendant absolutely denies that he forcibly raped or threatened to kill the minor child's mother. In further response, the Defendant states that the Plaintiff became pregnant while the parties were in a romantic relationship that lasted several months. The relationship occurred when the Defendant was 18 years old and the Plaintiff was approximately five years younger than the Defendant," reads the response filed by Mirasolo's lawyer.
The court filing continues that Mirasolo did not request custody or parenting time.
It reiterated in his response that the child was not conceived through rape.
"In further response, the Defendant states that the parties were in a romantic relationship for approximately three months and that the Defendant absolutely denies that he used any physical force to penetrate Plaintiff or that he threatened to kill her. In police reports prepared at that time, the Plaintiff told the police that the Defendant was her boyfriend and that she agreed to have sex with him," it reads.
The response ends with a request that the judge set aside the order of filiation, or award the child's mother sole legal and physical custody of the child, with no parenting time for Mirasolo.
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