Rhiannon first went on the record in 2012 – in James Odato’s expose, In Raniere’s Shadow, published in the Albany Times Union in February 2012.
The government argues that, according to Federal Rule of Evidence 414, they should be allowed to admit evidence of Raniere’s sexual abuse of Rhiannon, “including his repeated sexual intercourse with her when she was twelve or thirteen years old.”
Rhiannon is being identified as “Jane Doe X” by the prosecution and Raniere “has been provided with copies of all of Jane Doe X’s prior statements regarding Raniere’s abuse of her that are in the government’s possession,” according to the motion.
Will the judge allow Rhiannon to testify to what she said happened to her 28 years ago?
The crime is beyond the statute of limitations and you can bet the defense team will make a motion to block her testimony and any other evidence concerning the alleged rapes. They will also argue, you can bet, that it never happened.
However, the argument of the prosecution is simple: Even though Raniere will not be charged with raping Rhiannon, “Rule 414 states that ‘in a criminal case in which a defendant is accused of child molestation,’ a court ‘may admit evidence that the defendant committed any other child molestation.’”
Child molestation is defined in Rule 414 to include “contact between a defendant’s genitals and a child’s body or between a child’s genitals and a defendant’s body, where the child is under fourteen years old.”
Child exploitation and possession of child pornography form the basis for Racketeering Acts Two, Three and Four in the second superseding indictment against Raniere.
The prosecution argues that this is a “criminal case in which the defendant is accused of child molestation.”
They argue, “The defendant’s sexual intercourse with Jane Doe X [Rhiannon] when she was twelve or thirteen years old is ‘any other child molestation'” and is “admissible”.
The purpose for Rhiannon’s testimony is, the prosecution writes, to “demonstrate that the defendant ‘has a sexual interest in [teenage girls] and had the intent and desire to commit’ the racketeering acts with which he is accused related to Jane Doe 2.”
Jane Doe 2 – as readers know – is the 15-year-old Mexican girl whose sexually graphic pictures were found on Raniere’s hard drive which was seized by the FBI during a raid at of his sex lair, at 8 Hale Drive, one day after his arrest in Mexico in late March 2018.
The pictures were allegedly taken by Raniere in 2005.
Jane Doe 2 is the younger sister of Jane Doe 4, the woman Raniere is accused of holding imprisoned for 22-months in a room at 12 Wilton Court – a home owned by Nancy Salzman that was purchased with Clare Bronfman’s money.
Jane Doe 2 is now 29 years old and living in Guadalajara, still a member of Nxivm, and under the command of NXIVM Mexico leader [redacted], who controls her daily activities in Nxivm fashion. She is not expected to testify against Raniere.
In seeking to get the judge to allow Rhiannon’s testimony, the prosecution argues that “the evidence the government seeks to admit—the testimony of Jane Doe X—is no more prejudicial than the evidence of the crimes with which [Raniere] is accused. That evidence will include graphic nude photographs of Jane Doe 2 taken by the defendant when Jane Doe 2 was fifteen years old and documents indicating that the defendant began having sex with Jane Doe 2 when she was fifteen. Additionally, the probative value of Jane Doe X’s testimony is heightened because the defendant’s abuse of Jane Doe X and Jane Doe 2 occurred when both victims were around the same age, and Jane Doe X and Jane Doe 2 both had parents who trusted the defendant and left them unsupervised to be tutored or mentored by the defendant and cared for by women in the defendant’s ‘inner circle.’”
As readers know, Raniere told Rhiannon’s mother – who worked for him at Consumer’s Buyline – that he – known to be the world’s smartest man – would tutor Rhiannon in algebra and Latin.
His top inner circle pimp woman, the late Pam Cafrtiz – in order to lure the child to the home she and Karen Unterreiner shared with Raniere – hired 12-year-old Rhiannon to walk her dog twice per day.
In Jane Doe 2’s case, her Mexican parents had such trust in Raniere and Cafritz that they left their children in their care to raise as if they were their own.
Not only was Jane Doe 2 left in their care but also a brother and two sisters. Raniere wound up having sex with all three sisters.
Today, Jane Doe 2 and her older sister, as well as their father, are still devoted to Raniere. Her mother and her sister, Jane Doe 4 [who is expected to testify against Raniere about her imprisonment] and her brother have gotten off the Kool-Aid and now denounce the monster.
Many readers know the story of Rhiannon from reading the Frank Report but it bears retelling.
In 2012, the Albany Times Union published an extraordinary series on Raniere called “The Secrets of NXIVM”.
In one of the articles in the series, entitled In Raniere’s Shadow, a 33-year-old woman [Rhiannon] said Raniere had sexual encounters with her when she was 12. He was 30 at the time. The legal age for consent in New York is 17.
The Times Union reported Rhiannon was:
a 12-year-old with feathered bangs and long blond hair … Her mother was a saleswoman for Raniere’s members-only buying club, Consumers’ Buyline Inc.
The Times Union continues:
When Raniere offered free tutoring, the girl’s mother jumped at the opportunity. At the same time…one of Raniere’s longtime girlfriends, Pamela Cafritz, hired her to walk a dog twice a day.
Cafritz encouraged the girl’s visits to the townhouse she and Raniere shared with other women. And Raniere showered the girl with attention. She said he urged her to talk about her life. He gave her a necklace — a heart with a stone in it….
[Raniere] told her she hugged like a child, her arms wrapped around him but her hips pushed away. He taught her to hug the way adults do, pelvis-to-pelvis.
He took her virginity.
The girl liked being able to hang out with Raniere and the women around him. She thought sex was just part of fitting in.
“They told me I was smart and took an interest in me; they let me spend every afternoon at their house,” she said. “… I was perfect picking…To have someone that mature and that well thought of to be interested in me, it was flattering. I was young, inexperienced, overwhelmed, out of my league.”…
The Times Union continued:
Raniere [had] sex with her not only in his townhouse but in empty offices, in an elevator and in a broom closet at the plaza that housed Consumers’ Buyline, she said.
But after several months and about 60 sexual encounters with Raniere, she said, her emotions had changed. She started skipping school and running away from home. He lived nearby, and as her uncertainty about the relationship grew, she didn’t feel safe at home.
Defenders of Raniere say Rhiannon was paid by the Times Union to make up her story prior to it being published in 2012.
According to a deposition Rhiannon signed in 1993, she told New York State police she had “sexual intercourse with a man named Keith Raniere”. This was 19 years before the Times Union story was published.
Rhiannon [then 15] told police the sexual intercourse “occurred when I was approximately 12-13 years old and occurred either at Keith’s townhouse at 3 Flintlock Lane, Clifton NY or his business located at Rome Plaza, Clifton Park, NY.”
The Times Union published a copy of the police report.
Here it is:
The Times Union continued:
[Rhiannon] refused to wear a wire and confront Raniere to capture incriminating statements…The girl didn’t want to see Raniere again and didn’t think he would fall for a police plan to have her wear a wire…
“He took my innocence,” she said. “I can never get that back.”
The Times Union spoke with Rhiannon’s mother:
Her mother confirms the story…. [Rhiannon] now a mother herself, [is] raising children with her husband in the Capital Region…
A school district document published in the Times Union provides further evidence that Rhiannon didn’t recently make up the story.
The school document confirms Rhiannon ran away from home, was placed in a detention center for three years, contracted Hodgkins Disease and underwent treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. Rhiannon is one of the numerous women who contracted cancer after being “enjoyed” by Raniere.
The school report continues:
To summarize Rhiannon’s story:
Raniere’s motto is “He who has the most joy wins.”
Raniere offered to privately tutor Rhiannon who was 12.
At the same time, Raniere’s lover and roommate, Pam Cafritz, hired Rhiannon to walk her dog.
Rhiannon claims she was statutorily raped some 60 times by Raniere.
To enhance his joy, he sought out unique and enjoyable locales to statutorily rape Rhiannon, such as broom closets and elevators, as well as in the comfort of his own home.
Rhiannon became disturbed and frightened and ran away from home.
Raniere continued to enjoy other women and, quite possibly, other underage girls.
Rhiannon was placed in a detention center, contracted blood cancer, received chemo and radiation treatment, and returned home when she was 16.
Raniere went on to become a teacher of ethics, enjoying sexual encounters with many female students. Some ran away from him in terror.
Rhiannon said it took 20 years to recover from being statutorily raped by Raniere.
“He who has the most joy wins,” says Raniere, who prefers to be called by his self-given title of Vanguard.
For years, Raniere had far more joy than Rhiannon.
Now, he is in custody, residing at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center. He is facing life in prison.
Had he been prosecuted for his earlier crimes, the prosecution likely would not need to admit evidence of them now.
He built a cult – funded by the heiress Clare Bronfman – and hundreds of women did his bidding. They were his slaves.
Many of them suffered as he won, by having the most joy. For decades, he lived like an emperor.
Now, he lives in jail. Soon enough, assuming he is convicted, he will head off to a maximum security prison where he will likely spend decades in misery.
This prospect has made many women hopeful, if not joyful – especially women like Rhiannon.
And Rhiannon is one of those brave women who are prepared to actually do something to ensure it happens. She wants to testify.
It will bring her joy to see him go to a place where he cannot do any more harm to women and girls.
And, as you know, for he teaches it, “She who has the most joy, wins.”