Ranzenberger gets 14-year sentence

January 26, 2017

Mark Ranzenberger

Mark Ranzenberger

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Former Central Michigan University professor Mark Thomas Ranzenberger, 61, of Clare, was sentenced last Thursday to 14 years in prison for possession of child pornography.

Ranzenberger pled guilty to one count of possession of child pornography September 27 in connection with an investigation that began at CMU last spring.
In March, CMU Personnel Services alerted law enforcement of their administrative investigation which began after a student reported seeing “thumbnails” that looked like pornography while in his class.

He was arrested on the charge May 20. In the court documents of the plea agreement under U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris in Bay City, Ranzenberger admitted to downloading sexual images of children under 12 “for his own gratification.”

CMU and home computer equipment and disks seized by investigators revealed over 1,000 instances of child pornography including prepubescent girls engaged in sexual acts, and sexual acts involving infants, the court documents said.

Investigators also found a “grooming document” developed by Ranzenberger outlining how to groom a child from birth to 11 years old to participate in sexual acts and a power point presentation he said was for his own sexual gratification.

They also found pictures of fully clothed children, apparently taken by Ranzenberger in Mt. Pleasant.  In the court documents Ranzenberger also admitted to sexually abusing a minor under 12 years old up to three times weekly for seven years from 1995 to 2002. As part of his plea agreement Ranzenberger cannot be charged for the sexual assault in Federal court, but he is facing four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Isabella County Court for sexually assaulting a minor.

In a statement at his sentencing, Ranzenberger apologized to CMU and his family. Ranzenberger was a journalism, broadcast and cinematic arts teacher at CMU until last spring when he resigned from that position and from the Mt. Pleasant Planning Commission. He was also a writer and on-line editor and the Morning Sun until 2013 and also worked at the Midland Daily News and the Huron Daily Tribune.

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