Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

A local man faces the possibility of a life sentence after a judge ruled there was enough evidence provided by the District Attorney's Office to move forward in a sex abuse case.

Bryan Ranger, 63, of Crescent City, will be held to answer on 21 counts of sexual allegations against minors that include continuing sexual abuse upon a child under 14, lewd and lascivious acts, aggravated sexual assault and oral copulation on a person under 14.

All of the alleged victims were known to Ranger.

He had a preliminary hearing Tuesday in the Del Norte County Superior Court House, where visiting Judge Philip Schafer started proceedings by having Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla give background information for the case.

"Anything you can do to help me understand would be appreciated," said Schafer.

He needed clarity to a charging list that included six victims ranging in age from 5 to 17.

Ranger was in court wearing a jail-issuedjumpsuit and black eyeglasses. He had a gray beard and gray hair minus the balding area on the top of his head.

His wife was in the courtroom in support of him. She visibly disagreed several times during the hearing as Detective Ed Fleshman gave accounts of interviews with the victims.

Fleshman recounted a 17-year-old victim who accused Ranger of having sex with her several times since she was 4.

Other allegations included Ranger forcing two children who were under the age of 14 to have sex with each other, Fleshman testified. Part of that allegation included pointing a pellet gun or real gun at the head of one child, he said. It was not established whether the gun was real, so a special allegation related to that charge did not stick.

Defense attorney Dale Trigg took a line of questioning that targeted the credibility of the children, as they had provided inconsistent statements during interviews that were at least a year apart.

He also pointed toward interviews by other children that came to the defense of Ranger.

Ranger's arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 17.

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