Recently, one of the most disturbing child custody cases in American legal history took place. A rapist was awarded joint custody of the child he fathered when he raped a 12 year old girl. This is exactly the kind of nightmare scenario that Zitomer Law works hard to help its clients avoid.
The bizarre case took place nine years ago in 2008. A 12 year old girl snuck out of her home to meet with friends, and was kidnapped by a then 18 year old man named Mirasolo. The girl was held for two days in an abandoned home and was repeatedly sexually assaulted. Upon release, she was found pregnant, but decided to keep the child. Mirasolo was later arrested, but only served six and a half months in jail by plea bargaining to a less severe charge to avoid a lengthy jail sentence. After he was out, however, he raped another woman, only to serve a four year sentence in jail for that crime.
Now, despite the fact that the mother and her child now live in Florida, a Michigan judge has determined through a DNA test that not only is Mirasolo the rightful legal parent of the child, he is granted full access to the victim's address, joint custody of the child, and the woman and her child are now required to move back to Michigan and stay within at least 100 miles radius of the father.
Perhaps the most bizarre part of this legal nightmare is just how many victim's rights this Michigan judge has ignored. The mother had no consent in having Mirasolo's name ordered to be put on the child's birth certificate as father. Nor did she have any consent about Mirasolo being given her address, nor is her consent required for being forced to relocate back to Michigan.
The judge did all this without any agency from the mother. Even the father, Mirasolo, apparently did not take any actions to determine parentage or ask for joint custody, all of these actions have been taken at the sole discretion of the Michigan judge.
Perhaps the most upsetting question in this child custody case is, "Is this even legal?" The answer is complicated, but even in the state of Pennsylvania, the answer is "yes," but only under certain circumstances. As to be expected, the ruling of the judge in this case is being challenged, and we can only hope that reversal occurs.