Verdict reached in Rankin Trial, sentencing date set

CRYSTAL FALLS, Mich. (WLUC) - A jury returned with a verdict tonight in the case against Joseph Rankin.

Rankin is the former massage therapist from Iron River who faced multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.

The verdict came just before 6pm after jury deliberations for over two hours.

Rankin was found guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree and assault and battery, both misdemeanors.

Rankin was not found guilty of unlawful practice of healthcare.

There was no ruling for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, as it was ruled inapplicable to the case.

Closing statements focused on the emotional aspect of the case and the prosecution's need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"'What happens if I do tell? Can I get through it without telling?'" said Iron County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell. "'I can, I'm a strong person, I can do this...I'm not going to let it get to me.' But she had to tell."

"This means you start with the presumption the defendant is innocent," said Defense Attorney Roy Polich. "This presumption continues throughout the trial and entitles the defendant to a verdict of not guilty unless you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt."

Rankin was released on bond and will not be allowed to continue his practice or to leave the state.

He is set to be sentenced on January 22.

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