A prominent member of New Mexico’s film community has been arrested on child sexual assault charges.
A warrant was issued for Christopher Ranney on Oct. 7 and he was taken into custody on Oct. 22 in Santa Fe County. He is charged with criminal sexual penetration in the first degree (child under 13), criminal sexual contact/minor second degree (child under 13) (unclothed), and bribery of a witness.
The 49-year-old Ranney has been part of the film community for more than a decade. He is the former co-owner of Sol Acting Studios and is a local producer. He’s been involved in such projects as “God is a Bullet,” “The Commando” and “The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre.”
According to a statement from Sol Acting Studios, “as of October 18, 2021, Chris Ranney is no longer with Sol. We don’t have all the info and our prayers are with his family.”
According to a report, a child detailed sexual assault allegations that began in 2016.
Ron Wiesberg, Sol Acting Studios owner, said that, although the decision had been made recently for Ranney to withdraw his partnership for unrelated family matters, this new situation has confirmed and accelerated that decision.
“The allegations against Ranney involve abhorrent behavior which Sol unambiguously condemns,” Wiesberg said in a statement. “We have prided ourselves for years on providing a safe, nurturing environment for all ages, and will continue to do so. Should the allegations against Ranney prove true, he will have betrayed not just his family, but all of us here at Sol, faculty and students alike. Like the rest of the community, we are horrified and bewildered.”
Sol Acting Studios provides acting and production classes to youths and adults. The studio says it will ensure that they continue with a commitment to the students and the community.
“Mr. Ranney never once ran a youth program at Sol, and we are equipped with cameras in our building so that nothing like this can happen within our walls,” Wiesberg said. “We can only continue to reassure our clients and associates, again, that we saw no evidence of these activities, nor would we have sat idly by had we known. We have put our hearts and souls into this endeavor, and will continue to do so.”
Ranney also served on the board for the New Mexico Film Foundation, from which he has since resigned.