Some people say I should lay off Toni Natalie – stop writing stories about her. She’s a woman; she’s a heroine; she’s a fighter; she’s a victim.
She is also, apparently, a liar.
So what do you do when a book is published on a subject you have been covering as an investigative reporter for years – and it is full of lies?
Do you write about it – expose the lies – or let it pass?
If Toni’s book, The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of NXIVM contained just a lie or two – I’d let it pass.
But Toni’s book seems to be brimming with lies.
People reading the book should have the chance to assess the trustworthiness of an author.
And Toni set the gold standard herself for trust – right in her own book, in her own words. She was talking about Keith Raniere [after she said she caught him in a lie]: “If he was willing to lie about something provable… how could he be trusted with anything else?”
A very good point – and a very reasonable standard.
And speaking of provable lies – by Toni [not Keith] – here’s another one from her book:
She describes a scene – her first visit to CBI’s headquarters in Clifton Park – with her husband Rusty.
We have already told the main theme of this story – of how she was supposedly hypnotized by Keith into quitting smoking – a dubious story at best – on our post entitled Toni Natalie’s ‘Keith Hypnotized Me Into Quitting Smoking’ Story Disputed by Ex-Husband Rusty
In her book, she is specific about the month and year she was there and was hypnotized by Keith – it was August 1991.
Her chapter headline gives us the year – “Chapter 2: “IS SHE FAMILY?” Clifton Park, New York, 1991″.
She also dates the month she was there- when she goes out to smoke with Kristin Keeffe.
“So, the bubbly Kristin Keeffe and I went out into the gorgeous August afternoon, and we had a smoke,” Toni writes.
She also describes the events of that day which include Keith tutoring a 12 or 13 year old girl who was taking algebra lessons from him.
Toni writes, “CBI occupied space in Rome Plaza, a charmless office park on Route 9, the multilane main drag that comprised the Clifton Park business district. We arrived late in the day, but the electric energy of the place was palpable. There were dozens of employees milling around, all of them with pep in their step, all of them thrilled to be there…
“One of the employees had her child with her, a girl of twelve or thirteen with braces and wonderfully feathered blond hair who thumbed dutifully through an algebra textbook. Keith was tutoring her in math. That’s how amazing a person he was, we were told. He took time away from his busy schedule to share his genius with those in need. To new parents like ourselves, this spoke volumes.”
So was Toni referring to Rhiannon, the little girl that Keith mentored in algebra and subsequently raped?
Yes, she is – for in the same chapter – at the end of the chapter – Toni quotes from the Albany Times Union’s 2012 story entitled In Raniere’s Shadow – where it was reported that a girl of 12 took algebra lessons from Raniere.
The 2012 Times Union story is the first time Rhiannon’s story was ever published.
Toni quotes from the Times Union story in her book – just after mentioning she saw a 12-13 year old girl taking algebra classes from Keith.
From “In Raniere’s Shadows”
By James M. Odato and Jennifer Gish
Albany Times Union, February 22, 2012
One woman.. .was just a girl in 1990, a 12-year-old with feathered bangs and long blond hair who was trying to adjust to a new life following her parents’ divorce and a move to the country to Clifton Park. Her mother was a saleswoman for Raniere’s members-only buying club, Consumers’ Buyline, Inc….
When Raniere offered free tutoring, her mother jumped at the opportunity… He was supposed to teach her Latin and algebra. Instead, she said… he taught her to hug the way adults do, pelvis-to-pelvis.
He took her virginity…
Even though the girl was several years shy of the legal age for sexual consent in New York, which is 17, Raniere continued to have 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…
Notice that the Times Union referred to the girl as having, “feathered bangs and long blond hair”, and Toni describes her in her book as having “feathered blond hair.” Toni also notes she has braces – which is evident from her picture published in the Times Union.
No, there is no doubt Toni was referring to Rhiannon when she described the girl that Keith was tutoring when she and Rusty first came to CBI’s headquarters.
In her book – in the same chapter – Toni also quotes from the police deposition of Rhiannon.
New York State Police, Supporting Deposition Town of Clifton Park Filed July 10,1993
I state the following: That on 4/27/93, while residing at the St. Anne’s Institute, I reported… that I had engaged in sexual intercourse with a man named Keith Raniere. This occurred when I was approximately 12 to 13 years old and occurred either at Keith’s townhouse on 3 Flintlock Lane, Clifton Park NY or his business located at Rome Plaza, Clifton Park, NY. Although these incidents did occur, at the present time I do not wish to formally entertain any criminal complaint against Keith Raniere.
Toni did a real nice job placing Rhiannon in her story – placing her there on that glorious August afternoon in 1991- dutifully and pleasantly taking algebra lessons from Keith.
The only problem is Toni failed to read Rhiannon’s school district report. Perhaps she was unaware of it. It shows that Rhiannon could not possibly be at Raniere’s offices in August 1991 – more than a year after she was first raped by Raniere.
As the school report shows, Rhiannon ran away from home [and from Raniere] long before August 1991 and after going to several detention homes, Rhiannon was placed at St. Anne’s Juvenile Home in June 1991 – two months before Toni arrived for the first time in August in Clifton Park.
Toni, of course, might be forgiven. She wanted to steal a little of Rhiannon’s story – and put her into a scene where she was not – to increase her own importance – as an eyewitness to events she had not seen.
Here is the proof that Rhiannon was gone by the time Toni got there:
Rhiannon lived at St Anne’s for two years and returned home in June 1993.
She was not there for Toni to see her with her long feathered blond hair and braces – when Toni was there in August 1991.
It’s bad enough that this poor girl – as the police deposition shows – was raped repeatedly by Keith Raniere, and had cancer [Raniere seems to cause cancer in a lot of women] but does Toni really need to cash in on her plight?
Ah, Toni – the woman who had a curious slogan tattooed on her back: ‘In War, Truth is the First Casualty. . . But Not This Time”.
No, not this time, Toni.
This time, “Truth is the first casualty of Toni’s book.”