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Former faculty member arraigned on four counts of child sexual abuse


Former Central Michigan University faculty member Mark Ranzenberger was charged Friday in Isabella County Trial Court with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor. 

His arraignment comes after a plea hearing for separate charges on Sept. 27 in U.S. District Court when Ranzenberger admitted to sexually abusing a minor under the age of 12 several times between 1995 and 2002. He appeared Friday before Magistrate Judge Sandra Straus via teleconference from the Clare County Jail, where he is being held on a $100,000 bond. 

More information on first-degree criminal sexual conduct can be found in the Michigan Penal Code.

According to the Michigan penal code, first degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony that carries a sentence of up to life in prison.

Ranzenberger pleaded guilty Sept. 27 to one count of possession of child pornography, following a separate investigation by CMU Police and the U.S. Secret Service. More than 1,000 images depicting child pornography were found in his possession, along with a document describing how to groom a child from birth to age 11 to be receptive to sexual acts.

During CMUPD’s investigation, Ranzenberger said the document was “purely fantasy,” and denied ever sexually abusing children. 

Straus read Ranzenberger the charges and asked if he would like to hire his own lawyer or a court-appointed counsel.

When asked about his financial state, Ranzenberger said he had no income, and had lost much of his assets in a recent divorce.

“I don’t believe I have anything left,” he said.

The Michigan State Police confirmed on Sept. 27 they investigated Ranzenberger for sexual abuse on behalf of the Secret Service.

Ranzenberger taught journalism and broadcast and cinematic arts classes at CMU since 1999. He will appear again in Isabella County Court on Oct. 20 for a probable cause hearing.