Susan Dones wrote in a declaration that NXIVM’s “Rational Inquiry trainings are used as a venue to stalk their students to who might fit into Raniere’s profile of sexual conquests and who might be willing to give Raniere money.”
She was questioned in a deposition by NXIVM attorney Robert Crockett in November 2010 about how she formed this conclusion.
Here are some excerpts from her deposition which have been slightly edited for clarity and to take out redundancies.
Crockett Q: Is it correct to say that your understanding of the repulsive aspects of Keith’s sexual behavior comes from a former girlfriend?
Dones A: …from Barbara Bouchey … Kathy Ethier, who Keith had made advances on … Angela Ucci, who Keith had made advances on. … and … Toni Natalie….
Q: So you’ve named four women that Keith’s had relationships with or that he’s attempted to have relationships with as the basis for your exploding to the press Keith’s sexual history; is that correct? …
A: ……Keith was never open about who he was dating….. Esther Chiappone… told me personally that she had a sexual relationship with Keith.
Q: So is there something wrong with members of NXIVM having sexual relations with people?
A: …. my issue is with the founder of the company having …. ‘Setups’… to manipulating women into having relationships. ….he had told Barbara Bouchey that he was her boyfriend without telling Barbara Bouchey that he was having multiple sexual relationships. Same thing with Toni…. that’s deviant … and lying and manipulation.
Q: (Besides Bouchey) did any other woman tell you that they were unhappy that Keith Raniere was having sex with other women while having sex with them?
A: ….Toni Natalie told me the same thing.
Q: …. Any other woman…?
A: Kathy Ethier told me that she was upset by Keith’s behavior towards her, and Angela Ucci …. believed that she was set up by Pam Cafritz … to [lure her into having sex with] Keith.
Q: So another big whopper you said you heard was that Keith lied about his sexual relations….. Have you ever heard a course taught to the effect that the founder of NXIVM is monogamous?
A: They don’t teach that….
Q: So when you say that Keith Raniere lied about his sexual relationships with women, where did he say he was monogamous or celibate…?
A: … he told people that he was involved with that he was monogamous.
Q: … based upon information you got from ex-girlfriends –
A: … there was a situation with Keith and Kathy Ethier that … was inappropriate. … And then there was a situation with Angela Ucci that ….was inappropriate.
Q: Where he made moves on them?
Q: …. basically, it’s your position because Keith had sexual relations with these two different women and made moves on two others that your life’s in danger?
A: … I think that there’s a cycle of abuse. ….the way that he works women to not talk about it and then when they do find out … he’s having sexual relationships with other women… a group of other women come in — Nancy Salzman, Pam Cafritz, Lauren Salzman — … to work that person’s issues and attachments around ownership of Keith. “Do you own Keith’s penis?” “What’s the difference between Keith sleeping with somebody versus playing the violin?” Those ….are all manipulative.
Q: Has Keith ever come on to you?
A: He knows I’m a lesbian, so he wouldn’t do that.
Q: Has he ever slept with you?
Q: Has he ever tried to manipulate you sexually?
A: No. ….(Raniere) was sleeping with all of the women on the board – which I believed was a conflict of interest.….
Q: …. Do you think that NXIVM should tell each potential customer everything about Keith Raniere’s personal life before the customer comes in as a client?
A: ….Keith ….and his company and Nancy Salzman are in people’s emotional lives, and I think that people have a right to know the moral fiber of somebody that they put that trust into.
Q: … you believe that you’ve been abused and mistreated because you found out that Keith Raniere was not the celibate saint that you thought that he had been portrayed as?
A: It’s not just the celibacy thing….it’s ….the manipulation …. he does with women, and … his members to extract money out of them to gamble in the commodities market. ….
Q: ….Is it correct to say NXIVM takes no position one way or the other as to whether you should be straight or gay or celibate or monogamous…?
A: But they seem to take the position that it’s okay to manipulate people….
Q: …. If NXIVM takes no position on one’s sexuality or orientation…. how (has) Mr. Raniere … engaged in manipulation contrary to the ethics of NXIVM(?)
A: … (He) has taken advantage of women through …. people divulging their emotional issues within the curriculum …
Q: … what other women were …. manipulated by Keith Raniere?
A: Esther Chiappone…. was led to believe that Keith was attracted to her and that she…. was attracted to him. Esther divorced her husband and moved her four kids from Sterling, Alaska, to Albany, New York, to be with Keith. …. Esther found out that Keith was nonmonogamous, had a reaction to that, and …. Nancy Salzman was sent in to deal with her.
Q: ….Explain to me what you saw Nancy do to Esther….
A: …. Nancy was very abusive to Esther. …. Yelling, screaming… Esther and I had a conversation the night before…. the next day I was in the bathroom with Nancy, and Nancy came in in a fury asking me about my conversation with Esther. “What did you talk about? I need to know what you talked about.”
Q: ….What did you see Nancy do to Esther that constituted manipulation?
A: I saw Nancy being angry at Esther.
Q: So she was mad at her? …Over what…?
A: … she was afraid Esther was going to spill the beans (about the sexual conduct of Raniere).