During this time of year more than a billion celebrate the birth of a child, born of immaculate conception 2015 years ago – whose true father was said to be God, and whose earthly father was an Israeli named Joseph.
It is fitting therefore that we speak about another child, named Gaelen, born nine years ago, and the story told about him.
His father is Keith Raniere, the Vanguard, leader of NXIVM.
There have long been indications that Raniere wanted to have a child, to be the heir to his empire.
Maclean’s Magazine quotes former Raniere partner Toni Natalie: “I was the chosen one,” she says. “I was brought in to bear the child that would change the world.”
In a deposition in the case of NXIVM vs Sutton et al, former partner Barbara Bouchey stated “Keith himself told me that he had dreams and visions that I actually would be in a relationship with him and have a child with him.”
This of course is weird since both women were reportedly told by doctors that they unable to bear a child.
(Neither women is known to have given birth to a child. Natalie did however have an adopted son.)
One suspects the reason the “chosen one” story line was told to these women was that Raniere wanted to control them at a primal level – the desire for motherhood.
One also suspects he wanted it bandied about that he could make the barren fertile and miraculously give birth to a child of destiny. A sort of watered down version of the immaculate conception of Mary.
But Raniere did indeed father a child.
And unlike Joseph who raised Jesus as his son, Raniere denied he was the father of Gaelen and had him raised by nannies never spending time with the boy as father and son.
I know some readers will find it repulsive to read on – but read on you must if you wish to understand what kind of man Raniere is.
Some of his simple female followers believe Raniere is Christ-like – a veritable Buddha – come to atone the sins of struggling humankind through his truthful teachings and pure life.
For those, be advised: There is a spoiler ahead:
First here is the story – which, of course, his followers know – that Raniere told people about how a boy named Gaelen came to live among them.
The story was widely told in NXIVM village (and elsewhere) that Barbara Jeske, (an inner circle NXIVM member) had an old boyfriend – of decades past – who had married, became a widower, and who was (ca. 2006) a bereaved father in Michigan.
His daughter had died giving birth to a male child – so the story went.
The father was unknown.
Remembering Jeske as a kind and compassionate woman and having no wife or female relative who could care for the newborn, the widower grandfather called his old flame, Jeske, to give the child to her.
As the fiction went– Jeske and another NXIVM inner circle member, Kristin Keeffe, traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., to get the boy just days after his birth and brought him back to live with Jeske in Albany.
Soon Jeske found she could not care for the infant and Keeffe took over as surrogate mother; moving out of a townhouse she shared with Raniere (and two other women) and into a separate townhouse of the same street with the ‘adopted’ infant Gaelen.
And the infinitely compassionate Raniere decided to personally oversee and supervise the child’s education; he would be a teacher, almost “like a father” to this child – the first to be raised utilizing Raniere’s unique methodology; the child would be exposed to certain kinds of music, certain kinds of physical exercises and language, a certain diet and his interaction with other children would be limited. He was to have no common, ordinary friends.
This was the story told to all in NXIVM village and beyond.
I was there and I witnessed it.
And the story is a lie.
And while it has vicious implications, it is nonetheless a wondrous sample of Raniere’s creative lying.
Gaelen is the child of Keith Raniere and Kristin Keeffe.
The elaborate lie about his adoption was told because Raniere did not want NXIVM students to know he fathered a child.
Many students, from Mexico to Tacoma and all points in between, believed he was a “celibate monk”.
Some of his inner circle (who from firsthand experience knew he wasn’t celibate) wanted to believe he would, when the time was ripe, have a special child with a chosen woman who he had preordained would be mother of a child who would carry on Raniere’s work to save the world.
Keeffe, on the other hand, was his legal liaison – a smart, tough-talking, but eager follower of Raniere. Raniere never showered on Keeffe the special attention that he did with others like Bouchey, Natalie, or, more recently, Mariana Fernandez; not for Keeffe was such an honor of bearing the golden divine child; nothing in their relationship would suggest the deep bond of closeness.
But it was Keeffe who got pregnant.
Raniere required – and anyone who lived inside NXIVM knows his control over his women – that Keeffe lie about her maternity.
He helped her hide her pregnancy; being thin she hardly showed for months and he told others she was ill and could not be readily seen.
Over time, some in the NXIVM inner circle came to know Gaelen was Keeffe’s child. A few came to learn Raniere was the father.
Keeffe told them. Nancy Salzman knew, as did Jeske of course. But these women could be trusted to lie for Raniere.
The rest of the community – and NXIVM students far and wide – were led to believe the boy was adopted. He would have the privilege of being raised according to Raniere’s revolutionary theories.
If this is true; if Raniere is indeed the father, then let us consider the implications of what he has done.
What kind of a man not only denies his own son, and tells the community he leads a lie about his child’s parentage, but also forces/cajoles/brainwashes the mother into publicly stating her own child is not hers, but adopted?
Consider the awful, psychologically destructive impact to the child this could have: the boy grows up – with all the people around him – and himself – believing he is adopted and that his mother died while giving him birth.
While his true mother is not dead but raising him, and his true father lives nearby who is allegedly his teacher and leader of the community in which he lives.
What good man denies his son? What good man orders the mother to deny she is mother to her own child?
I was there. I witnessed it. I saw the child many times. I spoke with his father and mother many times. I heard this lie told many times.
And I saw the child – who looks like his parents – and although I initially believed the lie, later irrefutable evidence came into my possession that demonstrated the adoption story was a lie and that Raniere and Keeffe are the parents.
In time Keeffe, to her credit, bravely told the boy the truth about his parentage. Despite Raniere’s plan, she would not let the boy grow up with a lie.
Give her credit – motherhood is stronger than cult-hood.
In February 2014, Keeffe heroically fled the cult. She had to enlist the help of New York State Police investigator, Rodger Kirsopp, who I interviewed, and who confirmed he helped Keeffe escape from Raniere with her son, and helped arrange for her to live in safe houses for battered women for a time.
Now, consider: Raniere told barren women he would father a child with them.
When he actually had a child he lied and made the mother lie.
Raniere never allowed the child to call him “dad ” or share a father’s tender love or permit the pride a boy has in saying to all, “see – there- this is my father.”
I defy any reader to contradict me on any of this.
Raniere knows it’s true. He is the man who denied his own son. He is the man who the mother of his child had to flee from – with law enforcement’s help.
She had to escape for the welfare of her son she said and is in hiding from Raniere, the father of her son.
Defenders of Raniere contradict me: Show me this is a lie and I will cease writing about Raniere and his cult.
On this Christmas day that celebrates the birth of Christ – contradict me.
If you cannot, then tell me how long you will defend or be blind to Raniere’s monstrosities?
Our society chastise fathers who do not take financial care of their children. Raniere did financially support his son (using money from Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman).
But is there not a worse evil than not financially supporting your child?
Would it be lying to him (and others) saying he is not your child? making up a mind-bending story for your child to imbibe that his mother died as she gave him life?
It is well known that children whose mothers die at childbirth often feel heavy guilt.
And in this case it wasn’t even true!
Show me another instance of a man who lies to his own child (and the world) that his child took birth as his mother died.
What good man would want his child to believe this?
Keith Raniere – among liars and fathers – is unique.
Clare Bronfman, Sara Bronfman, as you continue to fund this conniver of a cowardly man, ask yourself what your life would be like if your own father had thus dealt with you?
Had told you that when you were born your mother died giving you birth and that he was not your father.
And that your mother was not your mother but adopted you.
Sara, you have a child now. Ask your husband, ask yourself: Would you lie to your child the way Raniere did?
Maybe this comes as a surprise to you: Perhaps you did not know Raniere is the father of Gaelen.
If he denies it, and you want to know the truth, contact me – and I will provide irrefutable evidence.
But of course you already know that he is Gaelen’s father and you know the lies he told to you before about the child being adopted.
You were lied to yet you continue to support him.
There are not many things lower than a man who lies about his child and denies him.
But lower still are women who know this and continue to fund him and follow him.
The enablers are worse – for without them the horrors would cease at once.