A reader recently asked
Q: A tool that Keith would have to control people is his harem. With so many women under his total control, did he tell one or more of them to come on to you? If he could get you into a relationship with one of his women, he could use her to get you to do things, and to spy on you. If you were married but he could get you to stray, he would have blackmail material.
A: I was not married so any blackmail that might have crossed his mind regarding adultery would not have been available to him.
As for the women, frankly, several of them told me many things about Keith that, I suspect, he did not want told.
This is always a problem with a man who keeps a harem. Women talk. One day they feel wonderfully well about their man and the next day they feel slighted and jealous.
It is unavoidable when one man has 20 women.
When they feel slighted you cannot stop their tongues no matter how you try.
What I observed was that the women in his harem, like harems everywhere, were not getting enough individual attention.
I noticed that his, figuratively speaking, eunuchs – the males in his group – were generally not fulfilling the work that eunuchs generally are obliged to do. Most of them were not actually intelligent enough to entertain the women of Raniere’s harem.
Raniere did not, however, as far as I know, send any women of his harem to provide me with opportunities to be vulnerable.
I’d like to think that this was not his style.
He laughed when he heard I became friends with a woman who most in NXIVM considered a low level member (someone Raniere would never consider for his harem).
And he quipped laughing, joyfully, “ Oh, I hear Frank is dating —-.” And at least one woman in his harem burst out laughing.
Little did he know at the time, that that women of his harem was telling many, not so funny stories about him to others.
She told some of these stories to me and I asked her to try to address them directly to Raniere. This she was afraid to do.
Frankly, there were so many women – many of them seemingly love-starved – and so few men – that it was not difficult to meet and spend quality time with any number of intelligent, attractive women that were not official members of Raniere’s harem.
Because Raniere liked his women young and slender, I observed that some of the women who had seen his ardor when they were younger, were getting less or no opportunity to enjoy his amorous propensities.
They were his castaways.
Some of these remained faithful to the work, knowing that they would be bedded less and less, if at all. But he had a hold on some of them.
Others left, or ignored him. Some had secret affairs.
One exception to the castaway syndrome seemed to be Pam Cafritz, the daughter of wealthy socialites, William and Buffy Cafritz.
She was on a generous allowance from her parents and did no discernible work.
She lived in the same townhouse with Raniere and Mariana Fernandez, a young Mexican beauty who at the time was living there illegally.
Although Pam was still attractive- she had evidently never been a number #1 wife for Raniere – she was getting older and her main way of staying close – it seemed to me – was providing Raniere with a handsome allowance – I estimate she spent about $4,000 a week keeping this man who pretended to be a penniless monk – comfortable.
More importantly she was the most eager to procure young nubile women for him. And did so.
I imagine she knew perfectly well when she encouraged young Rhiannon, a 12 year old, to walk her dog and hang around Raniere that he was planning to bed her.
And she acted as a perfect angel to facilitate the romance between Keith and Mariana acting as an older wife does in securing the romantic and happy interludes for her husband with younger, more attractive wives, their only reward being able to watch – his happiness.
Mariana Fernandez lived with Raniere.
Her sister Camilia, a teenager, was infatuated with Raniere and he seemed to be clearly grooming her have sex with him.
While bedding one sister, and grooming another, Raniere imprisoned a third Fernandez sister, Daniela, in a room down the street.
The inner circle who knew about this felt that her imprisonment was necessary because Daniela was defiant about thew work of computer hacking that Raniere wanted her to do.
While I did not know about the imprisonment at the time, I suspect the defiance may have had more to do with her not being willing to bed Raniere than an unwillingness to illegally hack other people’s computers.
My premise is that her sister, Marianna, was his favorite wife and for all Daniela knew, Mariana might have told her she was in a monogamous relationship with Raniere.
Daniela might have thought bedding Raniere would be betraying her sister.
So while Raniere needed to punish Daniela for defiance issues (she was an illegal immigrant and penniless so she could hardly leave) Raniere enjoyed his sister and numerous others.
At least one of which was the daughter of one of his students.
No wonder he slept all day.
Anyone would, who was so busy at night.
Another thing I noticed: Many of the women of his inner circle seemed to be haunted by the dread that Keith would not live long.
He would either be assassinated or perhaps die from taking on the karma of so many women.
I wasn’t certain whether this was something Raniere himself believed or whether it was an act he promoted to control the women.
But the women seemed sincerely concerned and would sometimes burst into tears thinking about Raniere being too pure for the world to live in it long.
At the end of the day, if this seems strange, warped or incongruous with the teachings of the Vanguard, I can only admit that that may be true.
For those who did not know he kept a harem and joined NXIVM thinking that the compassionate Raniere lived penniless and akin to a monk – and his only reward was to guide people upwards – it may seem shocking indeed.
But for anyone who has ever kept a harem or was a member of a harem or knew about how harems operate everywhere, the details I revealed are commonplace indeed and barely elicit surprise let alone censure.
The only issue that rises at all to the level of interest, is not that Raniere deceived members of his harem, but rather that he operated a company run by his harem that pretended to their clients that Raniere was beyond such earthly pleasures.