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Sadistic sommelier Ian Ranney was in a three-way relationship with a married couple and would openly ‘torment’ the man’s traumatized wife | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


  • Ian Justin Ranney, 35, pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping in February and was sentenced to 14 years behind bars last week 
  • He traveled to Texas with the plan to bind and waterboard a 21-year-old human trafficking victim for four days 
  • ‘He was into making people feel bad, hurting women,’ a family member of the couple he was living with told DailyMail.com 



The California sommelier found guilty of flying to Texas to ‘break’ a young woman for sex work was living with a married couple and engaged in a three-way relationship where he’d openly sleep with and torment the man’s wife, sources tell DailyMail.com.

The 37-year-old married mother Ian Justin Ranney, 35, had been living with was too traumatized to discuss her own relationship with the now-convicted felon.

‘I have a family and I’m not interested in dredging anything more up,’ she told DailyMail.com.

DailyMail.com can also reveal that Ranney, a resident of San Mateo, had just gotten his ‘dream job’ at a nearby luxury resort Rosewood Sand Hill, sources told DailyMail.com, but put off his start date so he could take the trip to Texas last November.

He was never able to return to California after getting arrested outside a North Texas warehouse when he showed up with tools of torture including restraints, rope and batons.

Ian Ranney, 35, responded to an ad posted by a federal agent posing as a human trafficker asking for an ‘experienced sadist’ who would be paid $6,000 to ‘break’ a young woman

DailyMail.com can reveal that Ranney was living with a married couple and ‘tormented’ the man’s wife
DailyMail.com can reveal that Ranney was living with a married couple and ‘tormented’ the man’s wife

The sex predator had been responding to an ad seeking an ‘experienced sadist’ who would be paid $6,000 to torture a human trafficking victim to get her to engage in sex work. But it turned out to be a federal sting and the ad was posted by an agent posing as a human trafficker. 

In February, Ranney pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 14 years in jail last week in Dallas. 

The news sent shockwaves to California, where Ranney was pursuing his sadistic double life while working as a high-end sommelier.

Restaurant regulars would call Ranney  ‘Sheldon’ because he strongly resembled a Jim Parsons’ nerdy character by the same name on the TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory

A relative of the ‘traumatized’ woman told DailyMail.com that Ranney had been living with the young woman and her husband for years in a condo complex in San Mateo and they’d known each other since high school.

‘She fancied herself in love with Ian,’ the family member said. ‘He’d treat her very badly. I’m not surprised at what happened. I knew he was into that kind of stuff, making people feel bad, hurting women.’

Ranney had worked for years at Taurus Steakhouse, an upscale restaurant in San Carlos, California, that recently closed. 

He started out there as a waiter after the restaurant opened in 2019. A wine enthusiast, he worked his way to become a sommelier and briefly served as general manager.

A coworker at Taurus described Ranney as an ‘odd dude’ who seemed harmless.

A tall, handsome man with a cheesy little mustache, he’d drive into work in his Tesla, wearing a suit. Some regulars would call him ‘Sheldon’ because he strongly resembled a character by the same name on the TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Ranney was also ‘kind of creepy,’ particularly in the way he’d linger around tables with older female customers.

‘He liked cougars,’ the coworker said. ‘You couldn’t get him away from those tables because he was flirting with them.

‘He had some weird social issues but otherwise seemed normal,’ the coworker continued. ‘He always thought he was the smartest guy in the room but that wasn’t the case.

‘He even told me at one point he was a little bit on the spectrum,’ the source said. ‘He didn’t pick up social cues. He would continue to talk and didn’t get it when it was time to shut up and leave.’

‘He had this odd way we just got used to,’ he said. ‘He didn’t seem dangerous at all, just weird. It was more like, that’s Ian.’

Ranney’s social media shows a luxuries lifestyle filled with travel and elegant dinners. He advised upscale restaurants on their wine selections and last worked for Taurus Steakhouse in San Carlos
Ranney and the FBI agent agreed he would work to ‘break’ the woman in an isolated warehouse for four days at $1,500 per day
Ranney found another prized gig, accepting a position as sommelier for a fancy hotel and restaurant Rosewood Sand Hill in nearby Menlo Park before he was arrested

Ranney made no secret of the fact he was pursuing a three-way relationship with a married couple.

‘He lived with another guy and a girl, and the girl had a kid,’ the colleague told DailyMail.com. ‘It was a weird triangle thing. According to Ian, she took turns where she slept at night. He was pretty open about it. But I didn’t get into it with him. I didn’t pry into his private life.’

Ranney, however, did get into some trouble at work. After becoming manager, he would allegedly horde tips for himself, taking over tables with the highest-paying customers. It got so egregious that some of the servers were organizing to sue him for wage fraud, the source said.

He was about to get fired last year when he quit. ‘He left in lieu of termination,’ the source said.

Ranney found another prized gig, accepting a position as sommelier for a fancy hotel and restaurant Rosewood Sand Hill in nearby Menlo Par

‘Ian had plenty of money,’ the former coworker said. ‘He had taken tips that he shouldn’t have and made a ton of money before leaving the restaurant. And he was about to start a good, well-paying job that he really wanted to do.

‘That was his dream job,’ the colleague said. ‘But he never actually started. He put off his start date so he could take this trip to Texas. And then he never came back from Texas.’

Ranney planned to bind and waterboard a 21-year-old woman for four days, dousing her genitals with a chemical irritant and subjecting her to complete sensory deprivation.

A criminal complaint seen by DailyMail.com says Ranney told agents he specialized in ‘objectification and degradation,’ having ‘psychologically destroyed a few girls.’ He added he could ‘break any bi***.’

He described himself as a ’35M, 6’4 Sadistic Dom’ who would ‘use you mercilessly, showing you a world of pain you never imagined.’

Ranney’s social media shows a luxurious lifestyle filled with travel and elegant dinners.

He posted images proudly showing off his Tesla, vaccine card and voting records on Facebook.

‘Wine is my passion. Great service is my specialty,’ he wrote on Instagram.

Ranney described himself as a ’35M, 6’4 Sadistic Dom’ who would ‘use you mercilessly, showing you a world of pain you never imagined’. His coworkers said Ranney revealed he was on the spectrum and ‘didn’t pick up on social cues’
Ranney posted images proudly showing off his Tesla, vaccine card and voting records on Facebook

The FBI agent who posted the ad claimed they needed someone to ‘train one of his girls that was no longer wanting to work for him.’

They stated they ran a human trafficking organization for ‘high-end clientele’ and had bought the woman from another trafficker.

When the agent said they needed the victim to independently conduct sex work and bring them the profits, Ranney said this would be ‘trickier,’ but that he ‘loved a challenge.’

‘That sounds fun,’ he wrote.

Ranney and the agent agreed he would work to ‘break’ the woman in an isolated warehouse for four days at $1,500 per day.

He wrote he would try to leave the woman ‘undamaged,’ adding: ‘The worst she might get is like a broken bone or two.

‘I specially use chemicals during a lot of my torture scene,’ he said. ‘One of my favorites is capsaicin.’

Ranney suggested someone record the victim being tortured with the chemical as ‘having someone else watch her in that torture is a good way to put them in their place.’

He planned to bring ‘blackout contacts’ for sensory deprivation.

While Ranney engaged in consensual BDSM acts, prosecutors noted he was repeatedly told the ad was not about roleplaying or fantasy, and was reality.

Police also found a 14-year-old girl’s explicit photos on his phone that he admitted he received through Snapchat.

During last week’s sentencing, Ranney’s lawyer claimed he had a hard time ‘connecting’ to people, as reported by The Dallas Morning News.

Judge Terry Means ruled that because of Ranney’s IQ, he would recommend a prison with ‘mental challenges’ so the sadist isn’t ‘warehoused.’

The coworker at Taurus Steakhouse told DailyMail.com that he doesn’t doubt the crime in Texas but found it hard to believe Ranney had previously ‘broken’ several other women, at least not during his time at Taurus.

‘He was at work all the time,’ the source said. ‘I personally believe he may have made up some things he was saying to get to where he was going. A couple of us who worked with him believe he made up his experience.’



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