A Newcastle artist whose work is displayed in galleries across the country was charged this week with possession of thousands of images of child pornography.

Robert Ransley, 58, was arrested at his home at 324 Mill Road on Wednesday by Special Agent Justin Kittredge, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Ransley was charged with possessing sexually explicit material of someone under the age of 12, a Class D misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. He was taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, posted $1,000 bail and was released Wednesday.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the public safety department, said thousands of images were found on Ransley’s computer, which was seized and searched last month by the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit after police received a tip. None of the images is believed to be from Maine.

Ransley’s paintings are listed for sale in at least a half-dozen galleries nationwide and priced for as much as $6,000. His website shows oversized paintings that use vibrant hues to depict animals.

Owners and managers of several galleries that display Ransley’s work declined to comment on the artist or his arrest. Bob Coffee, who was listed on Ransley’s website as a contact for information about buying his work, did not respond to a request for comment.

A short biography on Ransley’s website said that he moves every couple of years and has lived in Arizona, Missouri, Florida and Georgia. He is a native of Troy, New York, and graduated with a degree in art education from the University of Massachusetts.

The online biography said: “Every couple of years he feels the urge to move somewhere different in order to expose himself to new scenery, meet new people, and gain a fresh perspective.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian

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