Salisbury man sentenced to 18-26 years for raping child

Published 5:51 pm Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Salisbury man was convicted this week of raping a child and sentenced to at least 18 years in prison

Joseph Nathaniel Cranford was convicted of two counts of felony first-degree rape, five counts of felony first-degree statutory sex offenses, one count of felony disseminating obscenity and one count of felony indecent exposure.

Rowan Superior Court Judge Anna Mills Wagoner sentenced Cranford to a minimum of 18 years to a maximum of 26 years and eight months in prison. Cranford must also submit to lifetime satellite-based monitoring and will be required to register as a sex offender.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office arrested Cranford in March after an elementary school teacher reported a student being sexually assaulted.

The 10-year-old girl gave a note to a teacher in January saying she’d been repeatedly molested. The girl said the abuse occurred when she was 7 and 8 years old. The child spent time at Cranford’s home, and that is where the abuse occurred, investigators said.

The child was interviewed at the Terrie Hess House Children’s Advocacy Center in Salisbury where she disclosed the sexual offenses that occurred over a period of time, Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said in a news release.

According to the news release, detectives spoke to Cranford about the allegations, and he stated that he “knew this would happen” and he had made a mistake. Cranford stated that he had a problem with pornography when he was younger. He admitted to molesting the child over a period of two years when she would spend the night at his home.

Cook praised Sheriff’s Office investigators and Assistant District Attorney Tim Gould, who prosecuted the case.

Cook called the Terrie Hess House Children’s Advocacy Center “an important partnership in our joint mission to advocate for the protection of the children in Rowan County.”

For more information about the center, visit .