On January 11, I received a phone call from ‘Madelyn’ who said she was from Texas and was looking for Kristin Keeffe.
Keeffe is the mother of Gaelyn, the son of Keith Raniere.
Raniere lives in suburban Albany, and is the leader of a group of mostly female devotees who gather around him and serve him. Keeffe was one of his devotees from the 1990’s until early 2014 when she fled from him with their son.
Raniere says, “He who has the most joy wins.”
Madelyn called me to say that Keeffe applied for a loan which she was handling but didn’t have her phone number and asked if I had her number. It was known to her that I once knew her. She said also that Keeffe told her she wanted the proceeds of the loan to be wired to me since Keeffe had no bank account.
I was interested in learning what Madelyn really wanted.
When Keeffe fled from Raniere in 2014, she claimed in an email, filed in federal court, and published in part in the Albany Times Union, that she turned over to ‘authorities’ “evidence of massive criminal conduct” by Raniere, as well Clare Bronfman, who funds much of Raniere’s initiatives.
Shortly after she fled, Raniere filed for custody for his son. He alleged that Keeffe was in hiding to prevent him from serving her notice of his custody claims.
Keeffe stated in an email that “Me and my son would have been lost forever” had she not fled and that Raniere and Bronfman “are involved in continuing ongoing criminal conduct including but not limited to psychological and sexual abuse and imprisonment of multiple illegal aliens for the last decade.”
“Keith was experimenting on him. I had to get Gaelyn away,” Keeffe said explaining her sudden departure.
New York State Police Investigator Rodger Kirsopp confirmed that he assisted Keeffe in leaving the Albany area and arranged a series of safe houses for her and Galeyn to stay in New York and elsewhere.
During our conversation, Madelyn admitted she was not really a loan officer, but was trying to protect Keeffe from Raniere [She pronounced it ‘Ran-ear’. It is usually pronounced ‘Rain-eerie.’] When I asked her why, she implied she was a private detective but would not divulge her client. After further discussion, Madelyn grew petulant and said if I didn’t tell her Keeffe’s phone number there could be legal trouble. She wanted to spare me from being served with a lawsuit.
She said she had been seeking Keeffe for more than a year and once she had come within 50 feet of Keeffe in another state. When she made contact with Keeffe, she ran and Madelyn lost sight of her. Now she was on the trail again and offered to fly up to meet me in Florida or Niagara Falls for a personal discussion about cooperating with her in finding Keeffe.
Madelyn said she talked to Keeffe’s mother and one or more siblings and thought they knew her whereabouts but were covering up for her.
I thought Madelyn might be a detective hired by Raniere or more likely one of his devotees.
Under his general guidance, Raniere’s devotees organize classes to attract followers.
Raniere often loses followers. Some run from him in terror, some escape quietly and hope he does not come after them. Two purportedly committed suicide.
Raniere often instructs Bronfman to fund lawsuits against former students, girlfriends and business associates as he has done with Barbara Bouchey, Susan Dones, Kim Woolhouse, Toni Natalie and several others. If they can turn this criminal it is especially desired.
They’ll go to the ends of the earth to destroy you,” said Dones.
Woolhouse said, Raniere’s organization “is a litigation machine that is quick to file legal action against anyone who expresses an opinion about their ‘leader’ Keith Raniere’s behaviors.”
Natalie said Raniere “teaches through intimidation. He takes good people looking for a better way of doing things and uses their vulnerabilities to control them.”
Bouchey said what Raniere did to her “should be considered criminal …Their abuse of the legal system and the vendetta sought on individuals such as myself needs to stop.”
Raniere is accused by several now adult women of having sex with them when they were under the age of 16 with at least one being as young as 12.
Still many students remain with him for decades. These organize classes and advertise for students who want to learn life-changing skills through a technique called Rational Inquiry. Students are required to sign an agreement that they will not share with others or publish what they learn.
Students learn they are being taught from Raniere’s secret vault of life-changing knowledge. The classes are called ‘intensives ‘ and start in the early morning and end late at night. Some who have taken classes say sleep deprivation and scanty vegetarian meals support a course of subliminal messaging to alter normal thinking patterns and learn to love and follow Raniere.
If a student is attractive, she may be invited to enter his harem who is then required to adopt a vegetarian diet, maintain a weight suitable to Raniere whose harem is slim and never sleep with another man for the rest of her life.
If a student is wealthy, she may be given special teaching from Raniere on the proper use of wealth. Bronfman got such instruction.
Students who are not attractive or wealthy see Raniere less often, as do some longtime harem members for Raniere seems to prefer to instruct younger women.
Members of his group are expected to pay for continuing classes in order to achieve the high status exemplified by Raniere. Colored sashes indicate the students rank.
Some students work fulltime for the organization recruiting new students and are paid a commission for every student brought in. There are those who work for the organization with some or much of their earnings going to pay for classes. There are those who work outside jobs and pay for classes.
The classes have been advertised as being conducted by NXIVM, Executive Success Programs, Knife of Aristotle, the Source, Exo/eso, JNESS, and the Society of Protectors.
Just three days ago, Madelyn texted me: “Frank plenty of time has passed since Jan. 13. What’s Kristin’s number?”
She may be one of Raniere’s students for who else would fail to disclose the need for such information about a woman who is clearly in hiding from the father of her child.
But it is only recently that Raniere acknowledged the fact that he was Gaelyn’s father.
When Keeffe first learned she was pregnant, about 10 years ago, Raniere told her to hide it from the group since most students then believed Raniere was a celibate monk-like guru.
Keeffe went away (it was given out she had cancer) and gave birth to their child.
A story was concocted to explain the baby: Barbara Jeske, one of Raniere’s longtime devotees, was contacted by an old boyfriend, a widow whose daughter died giving birth to a son. The father was unknown. The grandfather couldn’t care for the newborn and asked Jeske to adopt his grandchild. Jeske agreed and went west to get the orphan. Keeffe went with her.
Jeske realized she couldn’t care for a baby and Keeffe volunteered to care for the orphan. When Keeffe came home with her baby it was believed to be an orphan.
And Keeffe was miraculously cured of cancer (credit was given to Raniere for her cure.)
This fiction was kept up for years and it was praised among the group that Raniere agreed to teach the child as if he were his own son.
The boy lived with his mother, two doors from his father for seven years. At one point Keeffe told her son that Raniere was his father. But the boy did not call Raniere “father” who was not known to take his child anywhere – just dad and his boy, not for play, not for sport, not to dine, or walk, or talk alone.
Raniere put his child (whom his followers believed to be an orphan although many gradually learned he was the father of the boy) into an experimental program he devised where the boy would be in contact with no other children and under the tutelage of five different nannies, where he would be taught different languages – Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, French, Russian. [None of which, the lad reportedly can speak today].
At some point, Keeffe had enough and three years ago, Keeffe with her child fled.
Today Madelyn is looking for Keeffe and wanted me to tell her how to contact her, possibly, to inform Raniere where she is so he could sue her.
“He who has the most joy wins,” he has said.
In substitution of joy, mother and child run.
“When we smile, the world smiles with us: each experience of joy is an experience of joy for all people and a victory for human kind,” Raniere says.