Franklin church youth worker charged with sex crime with teen

| November 24, 2010

FRANKLIN — A woman working with a church youth group turned herself over to authorities Monday morning after a grand jury indicted her on several counts of sexual abuse against a minor.

Monica Rankin, 30, is facing nine felony charges for allegedly abusing a 16-year-old who was part of the church group.

According to the indictment unsealed Monday, Rankin had several encounters with the teen during June and August of 2009 that involved sexual touching. Prosecutors also contend Rankin sent the boy electronic images of sexually explicit material.

Rankin was a congregant at The People’s Church in Franklin, according to police, and took on the role of facilitating a youth group. Sgt. Charles Warner of the Franklin Police Department said he believed Rankin served as a volunteer.

“Our detectives don’t seem to believe that we’re looking at other victims,” Warner said.

Calls to The People’s Church for comment were not returned. The ministry has a second campus in Spring Hill, but that location did not exist at the time of the alleged abuse.

Rankin, who is also known as Monica Rex, is a resident of Franklin. She lived in Spring Hill at the time of the alleged abuse.

Rankin made bail and was released from custody shortly after being booked Monday.

Investigators are saying little about the case beyond what is contained in court records, but Warner said his department began its inquiry when a third party came forward. That person is not related to either the alleged victim or the suspect, he said. Warner would not comment on whether the informant is a member of The People’s Church.

At the same time Rankin was allegedly abusing the teen, her husband filed for divorce in Williamson County Circuit Court. Records from that case show her husband accused her of “criminal acts involving minor children,” and he sought the court’s help in removing their own children from her custody. He also accused Rankin of drinking and possibly using illegal drugs.

The couple married in 2003 and had two children together, now aged 3 and 5. Rankin has one child from a previous marriage, according to the court records.

In response to a motion from her husband seeking immediate temporary custody of their children, Rankin denied engaging in any criminal behavior. However, she “admits she has made very poor choices and she is diligent in her counseling and treatment for those issues.”

An attorney representing Rankin in her divorce did not return a phone call seeking comment.

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Category: Church Security

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