Michael Wysolovski is a Georgia man who was spared prison despite pleading guilty to keeping a teenage girl in sexual captivity for more than a year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Wysolovski, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree cruelty to children and interstate interference with custody Thursday. He was sentenced to 10 years with eight months of jail time. He received credit for the eight months he spent in detention before his trial and will serve the remaining sentence on probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender.
Wysolovski was arrested in June 2017 after FBI agents and local investigators found 17-year-old Hailey Burns, who had been missing for over a year. The girl was malnourished, suffered from ringworm, and had back problems because she was repeatedly forced into a dog cage, her father said in court documents.
Wysolovski was initially charged with rape, aggravated sodomy, cruelty to children, false imprisonment and interstate interference with custody before accepting a plea deal.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Michael Wysolovski Met Hailey Burns, 15, on a Forum For People With Anorexia
Wysolovski first met Hailey Burns on a forum for people with anorexia when she was 15, The Journal-Constitution reports.
The girl confided in him and told him she was unhappy at home so he convinced her to run away to live with him.
After turning 16, Burns walked three miles from her home to meet Wysolovski on the side of a highway.
Burns lived with Wysolovski in his Decatur home before they moved to Duluth.
At the time of her disappearance, her parents told WCNC that they tried to limit Burns’ use of the computer after discovering she was talking to strangers.
2. Burns Ran Away to Wysolovski’s Home, Where He Tortured Her, Police Say
Burns and Wysolovski agreed to a “consensual non-consensual” sexual relationship, according to prosecutor Michael DeTardo. The relationship was a form of BDSM in which both parties agree to simulate non-consensual sexual acts, he said at a plea hearing.
DeTardo said that over time, Wysolovski violated their agreement by refusing to use “safe words” and using “excessive force.” The prosecutor said Wysolovski bit the victim and inflicted physical punishment.
DeTardo said Wysolovski used food to punish Burns, who was anorexic, and to force her into sexual acts.
DeTardo said that Wysolovski could not be charged with child molestation because the age of consent in the state is 16. He was charged with child cruelty, which applied to crimes against people up to the age of 17.
3. Burns Tried to Escape But Wysolovski Would Not Let Her
Police found Burns in June 2017 after she tried to escape.
Wysolovski prevented her from leaving so Burns reached out to a Romanian student she met on the anorexia forum and that student contacted the FBI.
Police arrested Wysolovski after finding Burns suffering from malnutrition, ringworm, and back problems. Her father said in a victim impact statement provided to the court that his daughter had been repeatedly kept in a dog cage at Wysolovski’s home.
4. Prosecutors Agreed to Wysolovski Plea Deal to Spare Burns More Trauma
Wysolovski agreed to plead guilty to one charge of child cruelty, which specified that the cruelty was caused by “excessive physical pain during sexual intercourse.”
DeTardo told The Journal-Constitution that Burns’ relationship with Wysolovski was in the “gray area” of consent and prosecutors were unsure a jury would convict him.
As part of the plea deal, Wysolovski will have to register as a sex offender and avoid contact with minors. He also has restrictions on pornography, drugs, and alcohol, The Daily Mail reports.
Wysolovski’s attorney refused to accept a plea deal that included prison time, which would have forced the case to go to trial. DeTardo said that the victim and her family did not want to go through a “potentially re-traumatizing process of a trial,” according to the Journal-Constitution.
“She would be attacked again by you and your attorney,” Burns’ father said in the victim impact statement.
5. Burns Says The ‘Psychological Damage Michael Wysolovski Inflicted is Beyond Imagination
Burns told a judge that she has been diagnosed with multiple severe mental health issues since she was freed from Wysolovski’s home.
Her family told WCNC at the time of her disappearance that Burns suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome and left home without her medication.
“The second I left my home my life was ruined,” she said. “He did unimaginable things to me and irreparably broke my spirit and sense of self.”
“He manipulated me heavily, taking advantage of my mental illness to push me closer to his desires, she said, according to WSOC.
“He lowered my self-esteem greatly and led me to believe that I will never be loved, or have a proper life if I gained any weight,” she said. “I severely mutilated myself hoping I would become unlovable so no one would hurt me again as Wysolovski did. I am permanently disfigured.”
“The psychological damage Michael Wysolovski inflicted is beyond imagination,” she said.
In court, Wysolovski told Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil that he believed he was “helping” Burns escape a bad situation at home.
“I can’t see even the most twisted definition of what you did as help … I don’t see any emotion from you. I don’t see any remorse from you,” Hamil told him. “I am not moved to give you first offender status … In my time on the bench I can count on both hands the time I’ve refused to give someone first offender status – but there’s something inside me that says this is one of those times.”