Ranzenberger waives right to preliminary exam
Former Central Michigan University faculty member Mark Ranzenberger waived a preliminary examination hearing on Oct. 28, on charges of sexually abusing a minor.
Ranzenberger waived the hearing to determine if there was probable cause to bring a trial. The case will proceed to trial. A date has not been set for Ranzenberger's next court appearance.
Ranzenberger is facing four charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor. Michigan State Police investigated the charges on behalf of the U.S. Secret Service. The U.S. Secret Service was investigating Ranzenberger for charges of possession of child pornography at the time.
Ranzenberger pleaded guilty to the possession charges on Sept. 27. During his plea in federal court he also admitted to sexually abusing a minor several times between 1995 and 2002.
Representing Ranzenberger is court-appointed lawyer William Shirley. His case is being overseen by Trial Judge Eric Janes.
The accusations first came to light when a CMU student reported Ranzenberger had inadvertently shown pornographic images on a projector to a class. CMU Police conducted a search warrant on his office and found his work computer and other digital media held several images of child pornography.
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 a CMU Police investigation, Ranzenberger said the document was “purely fantasy,” and denied ever sexually abusing children. He told police he thought he had "gotten rid of all that stuff."
Ranzenberger was a professor at CMU since 1999 and a member of the Mount Pleasant City Planning Commission. He resigned from both positions when the accusations became public.