For years, students of Keith Raniere have been required to sign confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements in order to obtain instruction in any of Mr. Raniere’s teaching organizations. Usually the students are not given a copy of the agreements they sign.
The adding of collateral, [material which could be used to blackmail a student] is meant to further ensure there is no revealing of the teachings.
Mr. Raniere and his organizations are supported by fees charged to students [and by contributions of his students]. If the teachings were revealed, it would disrupt the income stream received from new students which would prevent Mr. Raniere from continuing to create new teachings and making new discoveries.
In addition, the teachings may only be taught in authorized settings where Mr. Raniere or his top students can monitor classes to insure that full and correct teachings are taught.
Collateral is meant to prevent women who get the secrets teachings from destroying the chances of other women receiving the secret truths of living Mr. Raniere claims to offer.
Mr. Raniere requires female students to be vegetarian and advanced students are placed on gradually restricted 800 to 500 calorie diets. One student, Ivvy Navarres is said to have advanced to a 400 calorie diet for a time.
Fat disturbs transmission of Mr. Raniere’s energies to them. Mr. Raniere is a vegetarian but eats meat on occasion.
Mr. Raniere also teaches that sex should be regarded like playing tennis or violin. It can be done freely, as one wishes. He has said mothers in developing nations perform oral sex on their children to soothe them. Sex with children is not necessarily immoral as long as there is no pain involved. And sex with infants can be satisfactory provided there is no social stigmatism.
A woman named Rhiannon told the Albany Times Union that Mr. Raniere had sex with her when she was 12. Mr. Raniere was 30. She filed a police report within the statutory period but refused to return to Mr. Raniere’s embraces while wearing a wire and the case was never prosecuted, she claims.
Rhiannon claimed that Mr. Raniere had sex with her in his townhouse, in empty offices, in an elevator, and a broom closet. After about 60 encounters, she ran away from home.
“He took my innocence,” she told the Times Union. ‘I can never get that back.” She claimed she spent 20 years in counseling.
Daniela Fernandez, the sister of top harem member Mariana Fernandez, declined to accept Mr. Raniere’s teachings on 100 percent sexual fidelity to him and informed Mr. Raniere she wished to have a boyfriend. Mr. Raniere prescribed as her penance that she remain in a bedroom in a home operated as a boarding house by Mr. Raniere’s students until she recognized her ‘breach’ – having physical relations with another man would be injurious to him.
She entered the room and attempted to be healed of wrong thinking. Her only human contact was wellness checks performed by Lauren Salzman.
Food was placed by her door three times daily. A bathroom adjoined the bedroom so that she need not be in contact with others in the house. It was expected that Daniela would be able to heal her “breach” quickly and leave the room. She remained in the room for 18 months.
Other than wellness checks and an emergency trip to the dentist, she saw no one. Finally, during V-Week – the annual celebration of Mr. Raniere’s birth held at Lake George – when the house was empty, Daniela left the room and with the aid of Kristen Keeffe and her father returned to Mexico.
Her two sisters, Mariana and Camila remain with Mr. Raniere.
Mr. Raniere has told female students that his physical body is a manifestation of universal cause and effect and that women of his inner circle are the physical embodiment of his own body. If they betray him, he might die.
One of his former students, former top harem member, Barbara Bouchey said Mr. Raniere taught her that “if she took drugs or alcohol, ate meat or fish, or had a “negative reaction to him” that could have a “negative effect” on him, take his “life force” and “rob him of years of his life.”
It might kill him.
But despite his serious teachings, Mr. Raniere is known for his lighthearted hijinks.
According to a court filing, a prominent Albany pharmacist and NXIVM student, attended a Halloween party at Nancy Salzman’s house along with his teenage daughter.
Mr. Raniere appeared costumed in a bathrobe with an artificial penis hanging out of it. The man, not being sufficiently advanced in the teachings of Mr. Raniere became disturbed when he witnessed Mr. Raniere “flirting and making intimate gestures towards” his teenage daughter dressed in the bathrobe and penis costume and consequently decided to discontinue taking lessons from Mr. Raniere’s organizations.
According to court documents, Miss Svetlana Kotlin owned and operated a physical therapy business near NXIVM headquarters. Ms. Kotlin entered into an intimate relationship with Mr. Raniere and claimed he misled her into the belief that she and he were having a monogamous relationship. When she discovered he had numerous other female relationships of an intimate nature, she was disturbed and left the organization.
Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, and the late Pamela Cafritz attempted to persuade Miss Kotlin to remain with Mr. Raniere explaining that monogamy was “an attachment,” and that “if she were to leave that she might kill him because he was now intimately connected with her,” according to court documents.
Mr. Raniere “tried to make her jealous,” by “start(ing) to do things with women in front of her,” Miss Bouchey recalled in court filings.
Miss Kotlin chose to leave Mr. Raniere who was able to survive her departure.
Mr. Raniere instructs his female students that to be “evolved” or “empowered” means to let go of attachments. One female student told FrankReport that when Mr. Raniere found out that she had slept with another man, he raped her. She reported the incident to the New York State Police. No charges were leveled against Mr. Raniere.
Former NXIVM coaches, Susan Dones and Kim Woolhouse quit after they found out Mr. Raniere was sleeping with members of the NXIVM executive board.
Ms. Dones alleged students are “prey” for Mr. Raniere and training sessions are “used as a venue to stalk their students … who might fit into Raniere’s profile of sexual conquest.”
Ms. Dones claimed that Mr. Raniere kept the nature of his relationships with some of his female students a secret because Mr. Raniere felt many of his students were not “evolved enough” to understand the nature of his teachings.
Gina Melita claimed she was 15 when Mr. Raniere worked with her personally to end her virginity. Heidi Hitchinson said Mr. Raniere had regular sexual encounters with her sister Gina Hutchinson when she was 15. Gina committed suicide when she was in her 30’s.
According to Barbara Bouchey, she was told that Mr. Raniere had chosen her to bear his child. He also told Miss Bouchey that in a previous life she was the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust. Miss Bouchey defected from Mr. Raniere in 2009. She never bore Mr. Raniere’s child.
Kristin Keeffe, the mother of Mr. Raniere’s child, fled from Mr. Raniere after having spent more than two decades as his student.
She wrote, that Mr. Raniere employed “psychological and sexual abuse and imprisonment of multiple illegal aliens.”
Former girlfriend, Toni Natalie claims she was repeatedly raped by Mr. Raniere. When she tried to leave, she claims, Mr. Raniere sent her threatening letters, hired a private investigator to investigate her; sued her and some of his female students broke into her house to recover letters Mr. Raniere had written to Miss Natalie as well as tapes, documents, records, and nude photographs of Mr. Raniere and Miss Cafritz.
Miss Natalie called Mr. Raniere “a sex addict with bizarre desires and needs.”