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UNCLE GETS CUSTODY OF TEEN SEEKING TO `DIVORCE' PARENTS

A juvenile court judge granted a man temporary custody of his 13-year-old niece Wednesday while the girl seeks a legal separation from her mother and stepfather, who is awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused her.

Inspired by a recent Florida case in which a 12-year-old boy won a court battle to legally separate from his parents, the girl hopes a "divorce" from her mother will open the way for her uncle and aunt to adopt her.Juvenile Court Judge James Lacey granted the couple custody pending the outcome of criminal sexual conduct charges against the stepfather, who is due to go on trial Nov. 19.

Neither the Department of Social Services nor the attorney appointed to represent the girl and her 15-year-old sister has asked the court to terminate the parental rights of the girls' mother, who is long divorced from the girls' father.

The sister also alleges she was sexually molested by the stepfather.

The stepfather, who was arrested after the 13-year-old went to the police in May, faces two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct against the 15-year-old girl and four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against the 13-year-old.

Court records show the stepfather has admitted having sexual contact with the girls, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.