The People involved

Rethinking John Tighe: Ailing blogger; a fierce critic of Raniere, imprisoned after child porn ‘found’ on seized computer

John Tighe is arrested on charges of possessing child porn.

What Happened to Saratoga in Decline?

For about three years, John Tighe operated a hard hitting, sometimes vulgar, sometimes malicious, anti-NXIVM blog called Saratoga in Decline. He was a virulent enemy of Keith Raniere.

On October 23, 2013, Mr. Tighe’s blog came to an abrupt end when his computer was seized by New York State Police on suspected computer trespassing charges.

He was charged and, in a November 2103 plea bargain, Mr Tighe admitted he intentionally accessed the computer network of NXIVM, downloading the list of NXIVM participants and clients, including contact information.

Keith Raniere around the time he was mentoring Rhiannon.
No he did not look at her pictures on a computer. Rhiannon was 12 when Keith started raping her.

 

Here is the police report Rhiannon signed. Note that she said she had “sexual intercourse with a man named Keith Raniere. This occurred when I was approximately 12-13 years old and occurred either at Keith’s townhouse at 3 Flintlock Lanes, Clifton NY or his business located at Rome Plaza Clifton Park, NY”

 

Tighe gets hit with child pornography

About four months after his computer was seized, in February, 2014, Mr. Tighe was arrested by New York State Police who alleged they “found” pornographic pictures and videos of children on his seized computer, which was continuously in their possession.

Asked at the time if illegal images could have been planted on Mr. Tighe’s computer, State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations Investigator Rodger Kirsopp said, “We have no indication of that at this time.”

Lee Kindlon, Mr. Tighe’s attorney, said he’d been in contact with state police for months and was never alerted to their intention of pressing charges for child porn against Mr. Tighe.

Mr. Tighe had never been in trouble before, according to Mr. Kindlon.

Why would Tighe plead guilty, if he were innocent?

Mr. Tighe was facing up to 20 years in prison on child porn charges. He had diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and intestinal cancer.

In his plea agreement, Mr. Tighe admitted that, in June 2013, he used Western Digital TV to access websites and file-sharing networks to download child pornography. He admitted to storing 400 videos and 40,000 images depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit poses or conduct.

“What I’ve done is despicable, and I take full responsibility,” Mr. Tighe told the judge.

As part of the plea, prosecutors acknowledged Mr. Tighe did not distribute the files.

In June 2015, Judge Thomas McAvoy sentenced Mr. Tighe to five years and 10 months and recommended he be placed in a federal facility that could accommodate his complex medical needs. After his release, Mr. Tighe must register as a sex offender.

Ironically, NXIVM leader, Keith Raniere, has been accused of being a statutory rapist and actual rapist with victims going on record with the Albany Times Union and in police reports and court filings. No charges were brought because of the statute of limitations or, in the case of one 12 year old, because she refused to wear a wire to entrap him.

In court documents, Mr. Raniere is alleged to have employed people to hack computers. Clare Bronfman was alleged to have planted a bug on her father’s computer to monitor emails. Benjamin X. Meyers and Steve Ose participated in the computer trespass case against Mr. Tighe and were trotted out as independent computer experts before the prosecutor in a clear attempt to mislead her.  They were employees of Mr. Raniere.

The special prosecutor was misled into believing the server that was breached was in Albany County when it was in Saratoga County. That little white lie was what gave the special prosecutor jurisdiction.

And child porn can land on a computer in an attempt to frame the PC’s owner.

So Why didn’t he fight it?

Child porn was found on his computer. In cases of child porn, the presumption of innocence vanishes. Had he gone to trial and been convicted, Mr. Tighe might have been sentenced to 20 years, and possibly not assigned to a prison with a decent medical facility.

Of course, John Tighe may have been guilty.

Child porn is planted regularly on computers

An Associated Press investigation found multiple cases where innocent people were falsely charged after someone found child porn on their PC planted through a virus.

A notable example is Michael Fiola, who was charged after a technician found child porn on his laptop. He liquidated his savings, took a second mortgage on his house and sold his car to defend the case. A computer expert he retained reported that his laptop was hacked and programmed to visit up to 40 child porn sites per minute – more than any human being could possibly access.

Prosecutors confirmed defense findings. The charge was dropped — 11 months later. If Mr. Fiola did not have the $250,000 he spent on defense, he would likely be in prison.

Plea Bargains

Today, our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining. The outcome is largely determined by the prosecutor. Fewer than three percent of cases go to trial.

Records from the Innocence Project and The National Registry of Exonerations show that about 10 percent of exonerated convicts pleaded guilty to a crime for which they were convicted and later exonerated.

They may have pleaded to a crime they did not commit because, even though they were innocent, they faced the likelihood of being convicted of a capital offenses or risked much longer periods of incarceration.

My doubts about the case

I am in no position to say that John Tighe is innocent. He may have been a collector of pictures of girls as young as the ones Keith Raniere raped or even younger.

Still, Keith Raniere had it in his power to have someone plant child porn on is computer – possibly after it was out of Mr. Tighe’s possession. Keith would have no compunction in planting such evidence.

His IT assistants had the ability to plant evidence on computers.

But he confessed to the crime

Mr. Tighe admission of guilt was required as part of his plea. He had to admit to the elements of the crime to satisfy the charge on the record for the judge and prosecutor. In his case, quite possibly to get needed medical treatment.

I have observed a corrupt US justice system, influenced by money, politics, and prosecutors’ desire for easy targets for conviction stats.

In this case, I observed the strange conversion of State Bureau of Criminal Investigator Rodger Kirsopp from investigating Mr. Raniere and his group for crimes, to literally hunting down Raniere’s enemies,  mostly for trifling offenses; working hand-in-hand with Mr. Raniere’s high-priced and politically-connected attorneys – in what resulted in a travesty of justice by charging Toni Natalie, Barbara Bouchey and Joseph O’Hara.

At the same time, ironically, he reportedly ignored reports of actual child molesting by the son of one of the High Rank of NXIVM.

Apropos of the inequity of the US [in]justice system, neither of two journalists, backed by billion dollar corporations, were charged for criminal computer trespassing despite the fact they were alleged, in a civil suit, to have done precisely what the poorer defendants did.

The criminal cases were dismissed against defendants Natalie, Bouchey and O’Hara because it turned out that Raniere-Bronfman utilized their computer experts, Mr. Ose and Mr. Meyers, to mislead the prosecution about the location of the servers.

The civil case was dismissed when it was discovered Clare Bronfman lied to mislead the judge that the statute of limitations had not expired. She got caught because her statements in the civil case directly contradicted her statements in the criminal case as to the date of discovery of the computer breach.

If none of those reasons are good enough to prompt some doubt, lastly there is the criminally-minded Keith Raniere. Anyone who knows him knows this is the kind of thing he enjoys and as he often said, ‘He who has the most joy wins.’

Mr. Raniere teaches “He who has the most joy wins.” So far he keeps winning. But one day that all may change and someone else will win.

 

 




About the author

Julia Brown

4 Comments

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  • Skeptical
    Ive been dealing with an harassment situation that began on a private FB group . I have no connection to NXIVM at all. I had no idea there was a connection to them and this harrassment until very recently. Though I still don’t know what that connection is and I see no motive, so it’s very confusing. The one connection I can see is that the woman who started the harrassment is connected to lawfirm used by the Bronfman sisters.
    The other person I mention is a freelance journalist from Baltimore. She is investigating Cults. That’s all I can say and I cant verify any if her experiences

  • Yes, Keith definitely has the ability to have the child porn planted on his computer, and he probably did plant it there.

    I know of another person who is also dealing with harassment, presumably by NXIVM, who has claimed they are planting child porn on her computer as well.

    • If that’s the case there are forensic computer specialists you can hire to examine the source of the hack…if you can trace it back to someone in NXIVM that would be very very useful indeed. If so I’d recommend quarantining that computer immediately and pursuing that option.

      Now to play devils advocate….Another possibility is that you’re using a trojan horse tactic and fear mongering on here to make people nervous about how powerful Raniere is in an attempt to keep them from speaking up or to have them back down. However, if you’ve genuinely received death threats for your stance and your friend actually had illegal material placed on their computer I apologize, but as I said I’m just playing devil’s advocate. It’s important to explore things from multiple angles.

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