Ash Street man charged with raping woman

Herman Rankin Jr. is accused of attacking the woman at his apartment last week.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man has been formally charged with raping a woman at his apartment on Ash Street last week.

Herman Rankin Jr., 50, of 305 Ash, Apt. 313, is accused of first-degree rape. The charge was filed Friday in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Police said Rankin met the woman at another person's home on Wednesday and offered to let her stay at his apartment. After walking there sometime after 10 p.m., Rankin allegedly raped the woman twice at knifepoint. She told police she once tried to escape out the kitchen door, but Rankin kept her from leaving.

Thursday morning, he reportedly took her to pick up her backpack at a relative's home, but he didn't go inside. At the home, the woman phoned her mother, who picked her up and took her to Walla Walla General Hospital where police were notified about 7 a.m., officials said.

Rankin was arrested Thursday afternoon at an apartment building on Catherine Street. His bail was set at $70,000.

Rankin has previous felony convictions in Mississippi for burglary and theft, and a rape conviction in Louisiana, according to officials. He was released in March of this year after serving 28 years in prison.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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