"You are not a monster, but you are a pitiful man," the victim's mother said in court

By Harriet Sokmensuer
May 01, 2019 12:46 PM
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Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department

Michael Ren Wysolovski, a 33-year-old Atlanta man who held a teen girl captive for more than a year, will not be serving time in prison. He will have to register as a sex offender for life.

On Thursday, Wysolovski was sentenced to 10 years with eight months to serve as part of a plea deal that saw charges of rape, aggravated sodomy and false imprisonment dropped, Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Michael DeTardo tells PEOPLE.

Wysolovski pleaded guilty to first-degree cruelty to children and interstate interference and had the eight months he spent in Gwinnett County Detention Center before bonding out count towards his sentence. As a result, he will not serve any prison time but he will serve the remaining nine years and four months on probation.

Wysolovoski was arrested in June 2017 after FBI special agents located then-missing Hailey Burns at his Duluth, Georgia, home. The teenager had been missing from her North Carolina home for 13 months.

Hailey was 16 years old when she walked out of her Ballantyne home in May 2016. From the beginning, her family knew there was an older man involved in her disappearance.

Her family told authorities that Hailey, who had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, had left a diary behind that allegedly detailed her plan to run away with a 32-year-old man she met online.

She was safely rescued by authorities after asking for help, reportedly in an online anorexia chat room.

On Thursday, Hailey, now 17, faced her captor in court, WSB-TV reports.

“The second I left my home, my life was ruined,” the teenager said in front of a Gwinnett County judge, according to the station.

Hailey described how, once she got to Wysolovoski’s home, he tortured her, mentally and physically abused her, and forced her to do sexual favors in return for food.

“He lowered my self-esteem greatly and left me to believe I would never be loved or have a proper life if I gained weight,” Hailey, who suffered from anorexia, said, according to WSB-TV. “I severely mutilated myself hoping I would become unlovable so no one would hurt me like he did. I am deformed.”

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DeTardo says he understands public backlash for the sentencing, but says that during a federal investigation into Hailey’s case, information and evidence collected made it hard to prosecute the sexual charges.

While she was missing, federal investigators searching for Hailey interviewed multiple people who’d had online contact with her.

“Based on those interviews, they discovered that she had been planning to run away for some time,” DeTardo says. “She was searching the age of consent in Georgia, which is 16, and she left her home about three weeks after her 16th birthday.”

After speaking with Hailey’s family, he decided to offer a plea.

“There were a number of things he made her do that she didn’t want to do, but when you compare that with all the other information we have … the likelihood a jury would [convict him] was low,” he says.

As part of the plea agreement, for 10 years Wysolovski will have to abide by more than a dozen conditions, including a lack of contact with anyone under the age of 18, random searches of his electronics and no possession of pornography.

Wysolovski had a history of going on anorexia forums to target young, vulnerable women, DeTardo says. When coming up with the agreement, he took the women’s experiences into consideration and hopes the probation will protect others in the future.

The night before she was found, Hailey’s family received a message from a woman in Romania claiming she had been in contact with their daughter.

Hailey and the woman were chatting online when the teen revealed she was reported missing, the station reports. The unidentified woman researched her case and reached out to her family.

When an unidentified tipster contacted Hailey and asked where she was, the teen said she didn’t know, so she sent a picture from the Duluth home’s window. Hours later, she was found.

On Thursday, Hailey’s parents addressed Wysolovski directly.

“You are not a monster, but you are a pitiful man who will now learn that actions have consequences,” Shaunna Burns said.