March 3 trial slated in sexual assault case

Shore man, 23, accused in abuse of 12 year-old

Joseph Rankinen

LOCK HAVEN — A 23-year-old Jersey Shore man faces trial in early March on charges he sexually assaulted a 12 year-old girl in May of 2011 at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.

Joseph Scott Rankinen is already serving a state prison sentence of 10 to 20 years behind bars accompanying his arrest in August 2013 for the sexual assault of a 4-year-old in Woodward Township.

Police did not provide details of the investigation leading up to Rankinen’s arrest on either set of charges.

No testimony was provided in open court as Rankinen waived his right to a preliminary hearing and entered a guilty plea on Sept. 12, 2014 to one count of rape of a child, a felony in the first degree.

The criminal actions accompanying the prison sentence occurred from Dec. 1, 2012 to May 1, 2013, according to Tpr. Kimberly Patterson.

Due to laws governing court records and child victims, there is little or no information available in connection with this new trial.

The criminal counts include rape, rape of child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, terroristic threats and indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age.

Clinton County President Judge Craig P. Miller, who presided over the earlier sentencing hearing, noted at the time that the defendant had been designated a sexually violent predator after a state board assessment.

A sexually violent predator is a sexual offender who has been determined by the court, after evaluation by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, to have a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.

Because of that designation, and because of the requirements outlined by Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law, Rankinen is already required to register for life, and his address and work record will be monitored by state police after his release from prison.