Ozark Man Accused of Statutory Rape

An Ozark man who made a plea bargain to avoid child sex crimes in Christian County is in the Greene County Jail facing statutory rape charges.

James Wessley Rankin, 43, is facing one count of first degree statutory rape after being indicted by a grand jury, which could bring a life sentence if convicted on the count.

Wessley is accused of sexually abusing a girl for a year between September 2015 and 2016 at his place of business. The girl was younger than 14 years old at the time.

Rankin had been on trial in Christian County on child sex trafficking charges but made a plea deal that cleared the way for him to be charged in Greene County. Christian County Judge Jennifer Growcock accepted guilty pleas to endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree and 3rd degree domestic assault, with credit for time served, shock time (covered by time served), and probation.

Rankin’s case has been assigned to Judge Calvin Holden.

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