JS man charged in sex assault of 4-year-old

LOCK HAVEN – State police at Lamar have arrested an 18-year-old Jersey Shore man in the sexual assault of a 4-year-old in Woodward Township.

Joseph Scott Rankinen, 18, of 130 Middle Road, Jersey Shore, was arrested Aug. 16 and was arraigned before Lock Haven District Judge Joseph L. Sanders III, according to state police Tpr. Kimberly J. Patterson.

The defendant was committed to the Clinton County Correctional Facility in default of $75,000 bail.

Rankinen waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Central District Court on Tuesday. A formal arraignment in Clinton County Court of Common Pleas is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 23.

Police did not provide details of the investigation leading up to Rankinen’s arrest, other than to say sexual acts were performed and the accused fondled the victim on two occasions.

The criminal actions occurred from Dec. 1, 2012, to May 1, 2013, according to Tpr. Patterson.

There are six felony charges, including two counts of rape of a child, two counts of statutory sexual assault and two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Rankinen is also charged with misdemeanor counts of indecent assault.

A request for additional information was made to the Clinton County Clerk of Courts Marie J. Vilello, who forwarded that request to her solicitor for a legal opinion on the release of redacted court documents that have been sealed by the courts. The defendant is being represented by local attorney Randy P. Brungard.

Pennsylvania criminal statutes provide that, in prosecutions involving juvenile victims of sexual or physical abuse, the identity of the child victim is not disclosed. It is also the policy of The Express to extend that protection to the child victim’s family in cases where the family is not directly involved or charged in connection with the alleged crimes.