I have been writing an investigative series on Keith Raniere and his Cult of NXIVM. In previous articles I have written that he keeps a harem. In fact the harem is the heart and soul of his cult.
Recently, a member of Keith Raniere’s harem contacted me. Her name is being withheld for obvious reasons.
She is one of the neglected ones. She was awfully neglected in fact, she says.
I have to be careful about revealing some of what she told me to protect her identity.
She said these things:
That some of the women get a lot of attention. That Keith Raniere goes through fazes where he favors one more than another. Then he may go back to an old one.
He may shower his attention on two or three for a time then neglect one or all of them for months … or years as he attends to another one, or two or three women.
Up and down the fortunes of the women go as they get varying degrees of attention and neglect.
It is not just looks that prompts the Vanguard to love them. Money helps too.
(Clare Bronfman – since she funds Raniere – gets plenty of attention.)
But looks and money are never mentioned by Raniere as important.
All the women consider his attention as a sign that they are making spiritual progress.
His neglect means that they have done something spiritually wrong and must atone to win back his attention – which will mean they are again on the right spiritual path.
The sex is not about sex, says the harem member. It is about unification (Keith’s word for enlightenment).
There are some lonely, un-unified ladies.
When Keith showers attention on a woman it is a sign to the women that she is making good progress in their quest to be – like Keith – unified.
Perhaps it is poor manners to talk to one of his harem now that I am writing an investigative series on him – focused on his alleged financial and other federal crimes. Keeping a harem is not illegal.
But a harem member contacted me. And wanted to talk. So I listened.
It is not that she is planning to leave Raniere. She feels neglected. And lonely.
The women it seems who are in the contented club – the inner circle – sometimes joke among each other as to who is # 2 or #4 wife or #7, whatever.
Mariana Fernandez is number #1. That seems undisputed.
I was also told by another individual – and on a rather sad note – that one of Raniere’s harem, Pam Cafritz is ill. Perhaps seriously ill. If this is true, I hope that she recovers from her illness and regains her health.
My personal experience with Pam was that, while she may be naive, and that she may have enabled Raniere to do a host of personal horrors to people, Cafritz is a kind and gentle woman who simply does not understand that living with Raniere, as #2 (#3?) wife, as she makes Raniere comfortable at home with his #1 wife, Mariana, (the three live together) he is enabled to go out in the world and wreak havoc on people he hates who he makes quite uncomfortable.
Such is the world. Good people can unwittingly assist evil while striving to be good.
But getting back to the women of the harem: it was observed that Raniere is looking always for fresh new faces and has woefully neglected the once young and pretty.
Some of these women still hang on and live with hope – near Raniere – now in their 40’s and 50’s; they no longer get much of the Vanguard’s special attention: they perhaps, coincident with their fading beauty, are not making enough spiritual progress to warrant his attention in the boudoir.
Raniere tells new women that sex is more than just playing the violin or a game of tennis. (His line when a woman finds out he is not monogamous). He tells them that sex with him is a unique opportunity for him to teach in a way that words just won’t do.
The sex therefore is a teaching experience and the women have to come to believe that he is doing them a great spiritual favor when he deigns to bed them.
He is not a violent lover, he is gentle, I was told. He is not particularly good or outstanding in the sense of an artist of pleasure. This is a teaching experience for the woman, she says.
Even if it is not great in the sense of outstanding sensual pleasure, it will be some kind of spiritual balm – which in itself can be romantic to the imaginative.
Raniere however while teaching the good women is also exacting: requiring his women to be slender, vegetarian, obedient and monogamous, while he enjoys a harem and has been seen to be rather pudgy.
As for requiring monogamy, this too is for the women’s own good, as Raniere explains it.
The vibrations from other men might disturb his perfect vibrations; a woman who wished to get a chance for his tender lovemaking grace cannot have another man since that might ruin her chance at spiritual progress. A single sexual encounter with a common man with gross, worldly vibrations can disturb a woman’s chance at unification for a whole lifetime.
On several occasions, I was told about Gina Hutchinson, a woman who he allegedly statutorily raped when she was 15, who stuck around Raniere into her 30’s, a part of his harem, on and off for years.
According to her best friend, at some point Gina confessed to Raniere to having had an affair with a man and Raniere exploded, and told her that her chance at unification in this lifetime was ruined. She could not get unified until the next lifetime.
Sometime afterward she killed herself.
But these are the risks one takes if they want a chance at unification as given to them by Raniere.
A single encounter with the Vanguard might bring unification in a moment, or years from now. No one can be certain – sometimes not even Vanguard.
He is reportedly given to pronouncement such as “you will either achieve great progress right away (from having sex) or it will happen in the 7th year from now. Do you want to wait or do it now?”
Meantime – once in the (sexual) training, one must be obedient and faithful.
Raniere of course is beyond all petty emotions of jealousy. He explains to the women: Their monogamy is for their own good, not his.
According to an ex-harem member: When he learned that she had an affair with a man – he became enraged and then (probably to teach her) raped her aggressively. She considered pressing charges. In fact I was on a conference call with law enforcement in the Albany area when she asked about statute of limitations and what evidence she needed to press charges. She decided not to press charges against Raniere. Why? Because she was deathly afraid of what he might do to her – using the Bronfman millions to punish her. She just wanted a quiet life away from him.
Sometimes there is a fine line between rape from a Vanguard and a lesson a woman needs for her spiritual welfare- at least that is what the women are led to believe.
And speaking of rape, Raniere told his ex #1 harem woman, Toni Natalie, when he raped her, she says, that it hurt him more than it hurt her. So Raniere made rape a sacrifice he made for the woman.
Raniere likes them young too. He statutorily raped 12 year old Rhiannon Rogers 60 times, she said; coming on to her by saying “you hug like a child, adults press their hips together when they hug.” She had to flee and said she still lives with the emotional scars. (She did not get unified).
Still he is grooming a new batch of women, who perhaps would be better off getting a young man their own age instead of waiting around for the middle aged Vanguard.
But it is not up to me or you to say.
There is some ‘pretty’ right now who perhaps has caught his eye – perhaps the daughter of some student – who will be blossoming soon – and soon he will tell one of his harem his desire to help her. “She has great spiritual possibilities” he might say, and Raniere will ask one of the harem to assist in getting the young one prepped for her lucky day.
Naive and sincere, the young one may not have ever thought about anything but self improvement and the teachings of the Vanguard. (She might still hug without pressing the pelvises together.)
It may come as a shock – so the harem women – always keeping their relationship with Raniere a secret from the new ones – gradually work on the young one to open her mind to a chance of a lifetime.
Who is to judge? It may not be what you want for your daughters, but some of his female disciples have offered their own young daughters to him.
Still, sincere and pretty young ladies, waiting for a chance at a spiritual experience with the ultimate guru, the Vanguard, perhaps should look at the middle aged women who once were young and to whom he said the same things then that he says to you now — and see how they are neglected now.
But Vanguard himself is not getting any younger, at 55, how long can this go on?