JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man police described as a prominent tattoo artist has been arrested in connection with multiple sexual battery investigations in Jacksonville, the Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.
James Ranieri, 36, was arrested by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office on three sexual battery charges out of Duval County. His bond was listed at $375,000.
Ranieri had a shop on Park Street in Riverside for several years but moved out several months ago.
One of Ranieri’s three accusers spoke to News4Jax, saying she thought her case was too old because she was attacked about four years ago. Florida law provides an eight-year limitation on prosecuting a first- or second-degree felony sexual battery in some cases.
“I thought my case was too old honestly, so when I made my statement, it was more to just back up a lot of the women who had made statements, who had been denied,” said the woman.
A musician named Anthony Raneri posted on social media in April, saying he had heard that a tattoo artist in Jacksonville was claiming to be his cousin to impress women, but that the two are not related.
A day after making the post, the musician, a member of the band Bayside, contacted the Mayor’s Office, and they got in touch with the State Attorney and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to alert them to the allegations that he had stumbled across.
The victim who spoke to News4Jax said it was that tip that eventually led to Ranieri’s arrest.
“It was really kind of ironic how him saying he was related to this guy from Bayside turned into me speaking with the (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office), which has now turned into this situation where he is finally being dealt with,” she said.
As a matter of policy, News4Jax does not identify victims of sex crimes.
Tattoo artist Selina Medina, who is not one of the three victims, said she worked alongside Ranieri at conventions but never in a tattoo shop. She is pushing for reform in the body art business.
“In the state of Florida, there is no law that protects the client from abusers that have a body art license,” Medina said. “There are no grounds for the state to revoke a license. Abusers can have a license for body art and close a client behind closed doors, have access to somebody and potentially victimize countless people.”
According to JSO, Ranieri’s job as a tattoo artist gave him “frequent contact with the community.”
“Therefore, the possibility exists there may be more victims,” JSO said in a news release.
Police asked anyone with information about the case or any other possible victims to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or through email at JSOCrimeTips@Jaxsheriff.org.