Rape Victim Loses State Benefits Over GoFundMe Account

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A woman who received national media attention for losing a child custody case involving her rapist now says that she has lost food stamps and health care benefits over a GoFundMe account that has raised more than $100,000 on her behalf.

Asked only to be identified by her first name, Tiffany, she said that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services called her Nov. 8 to tell her that she will no longer receive state aid, according to The Detroit News.

Tiffany's caseworker told her that she and her 8-year-old son would lose benefits for three years because of a GoFundMe account, as well as a now-suspended custody order that gave her rapist joint custody of her child.

“She said I would be receiving something in the mail but wanted to call me first and let me know," said Tiffany, who receives less than $300 a month in food stamps and health care benefits. "She said it was because of pending matters involving child support from the father and because of my GoFundMe account."

Tiffany applied for state benefits earlier in 2017 and was told by the department that she would have to cooperate in pursuing paternity verification and financial support from the boy's father, according to WWJ. 

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Now 21, Tiffany was raped in 2008 at age 12 by Christopher Mirasolo, now 27. Mirasolo served less than seven months in a county jail after pleading guilty to a lesser offense.

In September, a judge granted Mirasolo joint custody of the boy, ordering him to pay monthly child support. He later rescinded the order after learning the circumstances around Tiffany's pregnancy.

The case received national attention and a GoFundMe account was created on Tiffany's behalf that raised more than $100,000.

"We were hoping to use the GoFundMe account to buy a house but looks like now that isn’t going to happen,” she told The Detroit News. "We are going to have to live on the money and rent."

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Tiffany says that she has yet to tap into the money from the account. Her lawyer, Rebecca Kiessling, condemned the state agency for seeking "to benefit off the generosity of others."

"There is no agreement or order for child support at this time," said Kiessling. "[Mirasolo] has never paid a dime to her or for child support in nine years. Now his attorney claims he has no income, so I guess that means she cannot not expect any future help as well.

"It’s like she is getting raped again."

Mirasolo's attorney, Barbara Yockey, said that her client will be expected to pay child support from the time of the initial paternity complaint in July until Oct. 10, his last day of employment.

Yockey also said that Mirasolo is not asking for custody of the child.

"There are no custody issues -- my client isn’t seeking custody or parenting or visitation rights," Yockey said. "He was paying child support before he lost his job due to publicity in this case."

The Department of Health and Human Services has refused to comment on the case, saying that the agency is legally not allowed to confirm who receives state aid.

Sources: The Detroit NewsWWJ / Featured Image: WEBN-TV/Flickr/ Embedded Images: PixabayMichigan Department of Corrections via The Independent

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