Christopher Ranney, an actor who appeared in an episode of Breaking Bad and was active in the New Mexico film community, was arrested for alleged child sexual assault on Oct. 22 in Santa Fe County. The 49-year-old was the co-owner of Sol Acting Studios and was a producer on God is a Bullet, The Commando, The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre, and other projects filmed in New Mexico. The allegations against Ranney date back to 2016.
A warrant was issued for Ranney's arrest on Oct. 7, and he was taken into custody on Oct. 22, reports the Albuquerque Journal. He was charged with criminal sexual penetration in the first degree, criminal sexual contact/minor second degree, and bribery of a witness. A pretrial detention hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, a young family member told her mother Ranney started inappropriately touching her when she was 8 years old, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican. Ranney admitted wrongdoing and apologized when confronted, according to the affidavit.
Sol Acting Studios confirmed Ranney is no longer involved, as of Oct. 18. Owner Ron Weisberg told the Journal Ranney withdrew from the studios before the arrest due to unrelated family matters. The new situation forced Ranney to leave earlier than planned, Weisberg said. Sol Acting Studios offers acting and production classes to adults and youths.
"The allegations against Ranney involve abhorrent behavior which Sol unambiguously condemns," Weisberg said in a statement Thursday. "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."
Ranney never ran a youth program at the studios, Weisberg added, noting that there are cameras in the building to make sure nothing like this would happen on their premises. "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," he said. "We have put our hearts and souls into this endeavor, and will continue to do so."
Ranney was also a member of the New Mexico Film Foundation board but has resigned. He has over 70 acting credits, according to his IMDb profile. He appeared as a detective in the 2010 Breaking Bad episode "One Minute." His other credits include Fright Night, Running with the Devil, The Dead of Night, Justice, and Spare Parts.