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JS man’s rape conviction affirmed by Supreme Court

Rankinen convicted of rape of child

HARRISBURG – The state Supreme Court recently affirmed the conviction of a former Jersey Shore resident sentenced in Clinton County Court in 2017 to 15 to 30 years in state prison following his conviction on a child rape charge.

Joseph Scott Rankinen, 26, had appealed his conviction in June of 2017 in the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl at the Clinton County Fairgrounds in May of 2011. Judge Michael Salisbury imposed the 15 to 30 year sentence after the defendant was found guilty on charges of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and related offenses.

Rankinen had claimed several errors on appeal; among them he claimed that the prosecutor, Clinton County District Attorney Dave Strouse, had violated his constitutional rights at trial and also that he withheld prior statements made by the victim that the defendant was entitled to have before trial.

The Supreme Court affirmed Judge Salisbury’s decisions on all issues and agreed that Rankinen’s claims were all without merit and affirmed his 15-30 year state prison sentence. Strouse commented, “I am happy to see the Superior Court recognized that the issues raised by the defendant were baseless. I am hopeful that this decision brings some measure of peace to the victim and her family and allows them all to continue to live their lives knowing that Joseph Rankinen will be in prison for a very long time.”

The 2017 sentence was imposed on top of a 10 to 20 year sentence imposed in 2015 by President Judge Craig Miller for Rankinen’s rape of a 4-year-old boy in Woodward Township in 2012. Rankinen continues to serve that sentence in state prison.

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