Rankin trial to start in CF

CRYSTAL FALLS — A jury of nine men and five women will hear the case of a former Iron River massage therapist accused of inappropriately touching a woman during a massage when he didn’t have a license.

The trial for 26-year-old Joseph E. Rankin was set to start this morning in Iron County Trial Court with opening statements. Up to 15 witnesses may testify during the scheduled week-long trial.

Rankin faces criminal sexual conduct-second degree, a 15-year felony; health profession-unauthorized practice, a four-year felony; criminal sexual conduct-fourth degree, a two-year high court misdemeanor; and assault and battery, a 93-day misdemeanor.

Rankin reportedly touched the woman inappropriately Aug. 22, 2016, during a massage at his Full Circle Fitness & Massage business in Iron River. He was not a licensed massage therapist at the time, prosecutors claim, as he permanently gave up his license in March 2016 as part of a settlement on criminal sexual conduct charges from 2015.