A Fox News story on Barbara Bouchey helps make her case that “There was some good to be found in Nxivm.”
Bouchey tells Fox, “There were hundreds of coaches that were there for the right reason and that doesn’t get conveyed. They get lumped in with the sex cult slave thing and that’s not an appropriate description of the majority of people that were involved.”
I think what Bouchey says about Nxivm coaches is true. Many, perhaps most, of the coaches, were good people with an honest intention to help others and earn a living while doing so. They thought the Nxivm teachings were good and wanted others to share in it – for a fee. It was the life coaching business to them – and not a sinister cult.
Somehow, the evil genius of Raniere was such that he was able to get basically good people to follow him and promote his evil agenda, disguising it to them, in varying degrees, and making them believe that he was seeking the betterment of the world.
Bouchey joined NXIVM in March 2000 and joined Raniere’s harem that same year. She did not know at first she was in a harem. She had a large role in building Nxivm into what it ultimately became. She says she created Vanguard Week and the weekly volleyball community events, as well as enrolling hundreds of people into the courses.
Not everyone who took a course got to meet Raniere and certainly, only a small percentage actually had sex with him.
Bouchey says she did not know Raniere had a harem at first and thought she was in a mainly monogamous relationship with Keith – having known about only three other women he was having sex with other than herself.
That he was actually having sex with somewhere between a dozen and two dozen women, she said, came as a surprise to her. Bouchey ended her sexual relationship with Raniere, she said, in March 2008.
She remained for another year as a member and was on Nxivm’s Executive Board. She was one of the highest ranking members – below only Nancy Salzman and harem members Barbara Jeske and Pam Cafritz. [And possibly Edgar Boone].
When she left NXIVM in April 2009, it caused a stir. The actual details of how the departure occurred varies slightly based on who tells the story, but Frank Report has been able to gather that Bouchey and Susan Dones spent about 10 hours over three days questioning Raniere about his dubious activities. including his excessive sexual propensities.
Dones used her video camera to film the meetings [and it includes the famous clip where Keith says “I have had people killed etc.”.]
At one point, Dones privately questioned Raniere, then afterward made a final decision to leave Nxivm. Dones was the head of the Nxivm Center in Tacoma, Washington
Dones led several other women to leave, as did Bouchey. It was Bouchey who initially brought Keith’s sexual proclivities to light to Dones, telling her and several other women that Keith was having sex with most of the Nxivm Executive Board [including herself].
The nine women who left in April 2009 collectively became known as the Nxivm 9.
Fox reports that Bouchey insisted she never witnessed any alleged sex slaves during her time with the organization [2000-2009].
This is at least partly true. The women who Keith controlled for years were his slaves in fact, but they were not called “sex slaves.” They were called his “inner circle” and most of them did everything Keith ordered them to do – including threesomes – even when they did not want to – according to testimony in the trial.
Bouchey is considered by the prosecution in the trial of Raniere to have been part of his inner circle. There have never been any allegations that Bouchey committed any crimes whatsoever.
If nothing else, Bouchey is consistent. She is trying to defend the good she saw in Nxivm. She has told Frank Report that the Nxivm community that was built around Keith “was like Camelot.”
“It existed for about 20 years,” she told FOX. “Seventeen thousand people came through the door… I have seen many people come through the door and get amazing benefits. To say that NXIVM was just a master/slave organization or a sex slave cult is not an accurate description of what it was for 20 years.
“It’s only in the last few years that this very small group of women joined this secret women’s society,” she continued. “It was not broadcast and it didn’t include everybody… It paints those of us who were the good people, who wanted to do good work as these Kool-Aid-drinking idiots who are part of a sex cult. It’s not accurate… It just makes people think, ‘Wow, I would never be a fool and fall for that.'”
Bouchey also spoke of Nancy Salzman, who, while Bouchey was in Nxivm, was Keith’s top lieutenant. [After Bouchey quit, Raniere blamed Salzman for her departure and demoted Salzman to a role beneath Clare Bronfman, according to several sources. Bronfman, a Seagram’s heiress, funded Raniere’s legal attacks on enemies, including Bouchey and Dones.]
Bouchey told Fox about Salzman: “I had great trust, respect, and admiration for her…Nancy was an amazing teacher and trainer…”
Bouchey also spoke to Fox about the good she found in Nxivm and how it helped her.
“I found the curriculum was far more effective, efficient and thought-provoking,” she explained. “It helped me move through some conflicts and limitations in a faster fashion than things I’ve done in the past. That was really compelling… I admired their mission, what they were hoping to accomplish, their wanting to empower people and raise awareness on being humanitarians of the world… [And] I was being encouraged very strongly on multiple levels to get engaged and immerse myself in the program.”
She also invested, lent or gave Raniere some $1.6 million to invest in the commodities market – which Raniere promptly lost. It was her life savings. She said he lied to her about how he was using it.
Bouchey told Fox that she first thought Raniere was “…very unassuming. He would walk right by you and you wouldn’t even notice him. He was kind of nerdy. He had a bashful, college look about him. I didn’t find him physically attractive at all. But I was intrigued based on what Nancy had shared with me about him.”
Nancy and his other wing-women told everyone that Keith was the smartest man in the world, a judo champion and a speed sprinter. He was also the most ethical man with a huge compassionate heart.
He was in effect a combination of Einstein, Gandhi and the all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe.
Bouchey apparently was deceived about their relationship. She thought he was her boyfriend when he was having sex with dozens of women. [She knew only about three other women, so she thought they were more like boyfriend and girlfriend, she said.]
“It wasn’t normal,” she told Fox. “I didn’t see him a lot. The times I saw him weren’t long. It didn’t take on what I would call a traditional kind of relationship. And he was immersed in NXIVM… I wasn’t necessarily bothered at first because I was 40 at the time and a self-made millionaire. I was a workaholic. So I understood what it was like to be passionate about something… I wanted to align myself with the organization and make a difference in the world. I also wanted to work on myself.”
Bouchey, though she says the Nxivm teachings [sometimes called ‘tech’] was brilliant, told Fox that they were being misused after a time.
“I didn’t think people were paid properly,” Bouchey told Fox. “The tools and technology that used to empower people, I noticed those were being used to manipulate us in ways I found abusive or punishing. … It felt punishing to me. And then there was favoritism going on… People were being put in leadership roles when they didn’t deserve them….”
It took a year for Bouchey to learn she was not the only woman in Raniere’s life, she told Fox. She remained with him as her boyfriend for another 7 years.
“I had learned there were a few other women,” said Bouchey. “By then, I was really aligned with the philosophy of trying to work through anything that causes me to be angry, fearful or have lack of compassion… They taught, ‘Don’t you want to be free of being jealous or angry?’ For a while, I believed that. I did want to be free of it. But I am a monogamous person and it wasn’t in my nature. I started to suspect other women, [other than the three] but they would always poo-poo me… I was surrounded by all of these wonderful people, learning of this amazing philosophy. They said I was going to throw all of this away.”
Bouchey claimed she confronted Raniere about the three other women [he actually had about 20 other women at the time].
“He wasn’t happy about that,” she told Fox. “He didn’t speak to me for months…”
But Barbara stayed.
“Unbeknownst to me, he put into action a smear campaign against me and began to quietly propagate in the community that I was a troublemaker and that I was going to destroy the company… He would give you the silent treatment, blame you, twist your words, accuse you of things you didn’t do, point out issues that you didn’t have and then send his inner circle to tell you the same thing… It was very abusive and I was subjected to that a lot….”
Bouchey also told Fox that she now thinks Keith is “mentally unstable.”
“He must suffer from some sort of delusion. We were clueless about the things he was doing. We just wanted to do the good work… We didn’t know about the corruption… We just wanted to make a difference… Had I known anything like that was going on, you can be sure I would have done something about it… I didn’t see Keith as a master guru. He was my boyfriend. I thought he was a brilliant entrepreneur with a great mission.”