The filthy pig.
In our last excerpt of Sylvie’s testimony in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere, we learned that the scores of naked pictures Keith required her to send him were discovered by her father on their shared iCloud account.
Sylvie then asked permission to stop sending more pictures to the ravenous monster. She was granted permission. But he had her in his web – and had been only using the pictures to prime her for his perverted villainy.
He granted her permission to stop sending pictures and told her that instead, she should come to meet him. Of course, what he had planned for her was to be far worse.
This is Part #9 of our series on Sylvie, the first witness for the prosecution in the trial of Raniere.
[Links to the earlier stories are at the end of this post.]
To recap briefly, Sylvie had the misfortune of meeting the vile Clare Webb Bronfman, through her desire to be an equestrian showjumper. Clare hired her but with strings attached. She had to take Nxivm courses.
After a time, the horse jumping fizzled out and Raniere decided Sylvie could be an Olympian runner. He had her train so hard that she soon became ill from overtraining. In addition, she struggled with anorexia.
Sylvie became a coach for Nxivm and when the running fizzled out, and her visa expired, and Sylvie might have to remain in England, Keith gave her permission to marry John, an American, provided she did not have sex with him for two years. John, also a Nxian, agreed to do as he was told.
Keith then set out to snag Sylvie as his slave, harem member, and inner-circle woman.
It did not work out as planned. Largely because Sylvie, unlike some of the other Raniere women, did not find Keith attractive. She wanted to be married to John.
It is characteristic of the type of indoctrination that Raniere and his wolf pack women insinuated on followers [and by their constant sifting and weeding, seeking out complaint women] that Sylvie accepted so many intrusions in her life and became at times a willing slave.
In her testimony, she still refers to Monica Duran as her master. And herself as a slave.
Let us assume that Sylvie really sought her own improvement and believed that Raniere and the other, wiser women, like Clare Bronfman and Monica Duran, really had a font of wisdom that they could share and bring to her the self-confidence, happiness and success she craved. She only needed to obey them.
In this excerpt, we discover that she was to finally learn it was all a lie.
AUSA Moira Penza is examining Sylvie.
Q After you stopped sending the [naked] pictures [to Raniere], what happened?
A Monica [Duran her DOS slave master] came to me and said …- that I shouldn’t have just stopped sending the pictures without permission and so I needed to ask Keith’s permission to stop sending the pictures, and so I did ask his permission… I explained what had happened with the photos [with] my dad, and I definitely told Monica about what had happened with my dad, and so [Raniere] said I could stop sending the photos and the next thing would be in person.
Q How did you feel when he said that?
A I think I was more just relieved that it was okay not to send the photos anymore and I didn’t really know what that [meeting in person] meant, so …
Q What happened next?
A I’m not sure how much time passed…. but at some point, Monica asked me to come and meet her at her house and she told me that I would be meeting Keith…. the next day… and she described to me what I needed to do in that meeting.
Q And what did she say?
A She said that I needed to ask him to take my picture and that to go along with whatever else was going to happen in that meeting, but she didn’t tell me what, but I knew that I had to ask him to take my picture.
Q What happened …next?
A … I was told to meet him at Flintlock Drive, so I went to Flintlock Drive to meet him.
Q What is on Flintlock Drive?
A There’s a house there that I believe he used to live with Pamela at, but at that time, I don’t think there was anyone living there full-time, as far as I knew.
Q And do you know the names of the people who also lived on Flintlock?
A Yeah. … The house was in between Kristin’s house and Karen’s….
Q Had you been to that house before?
A …when … Pamela, Marianna, and Keith lived there together, I had been there for dinner and a meeting. I had been there for dinner once with Clare with them, all four of us or five of us with Keith, and I had been there for a Jness meeting with Pamela and Marianna a couple times.
Q How did you get to the house?
A I walked from my house.
Q Did you walk by yourself?
Q What happened when you got to the house?
A I followed Keith into the house, and from what I remember, he took me straight upstairs.
Q … where was the defendant….when —
A I think I met him on the corner outside the house….
Q Okay. And so then what happened?
A …. he took me straight upstairs and … I knew I had to ask him to take my picture, so I just remember that was my main focus of, like, “Oh, my god, how am I going to ask him to take my picture,” so I can’t really remember whether I was making small talk, maybe, I’m not really sure, but he showed me one other room upstairs. I had never been upstairs in the house before, and it was… his study, or something like that. I remember it had a white-board on it.
And then he showed me this other room that had a big … bed that had… white dirty sheets on it, and … that’s where we kind of stopped.
Q How did you feel at that point?
A I was just, like, terrified. I knew what I had to do, but I feel like I was having some kind of crazy out-of-body experience because I was so scared but I thought, “I’ve just got to ask to take my picture,” and that was sort of my focus, I guess.
Q What happened next?
A I think I got the words out somehow and said, like, “Will you take my picture?”, or something like that, and he said yes, and then he told me to get undressed and then to lie back on the bed.
Q Did you get fully undressed?
Q And he told you to lie on the bed?
A The bed. So I laid back on the bed and … then he, I guess you call it, went down on me and … I just remember it — I felt like it was going — I just remember I felt like it was going on for a really long time, and I think I was, like — I started to try and think, like, “when is this going to end?”, and I think I was making the kind of sounds that I thought might bring it. You know, like, I thought if I portray, like, this is enough or I’ve had a good time or somehow something that makes it sound like it should be finished. I was doing anything to make it stop basically, but I felt like it went on for a really, really long time, and I think eventually my body — I had — I don’t know, because I don’t think I’ve ever had an orgasm before this, but it felt almost like I had an out-of-body fit where I completely lost control of my body, and then after that, it stopped.
Q Did you want to be participating in that?
Q Why did you do it?
A Because I thought that that was what I was tasked to do was to go there, ask him to take my picture, and do whatever happened after that, go along with whatever happened. I understood that that was a command from my master and that that was part of my role as a slave in order to do what I was supposed to without getting into trouble.
Q And what did getting into trouble look like to you?
A Collateral. The release of the collateral.
Q What happened afterwards?
A I remember he came up next to me on the bed and …. he might have kissed me or something, I don’t really remember, but he was saying things like, “You’re very …brave,” and … he used the word “special,” and I think he told me that… “Now you are part of the inner circle,” and … he also told me that he was… my grandmaster now, and that he was the master of Monica, who is my master. And he said that now I … had some kind of special privilege; like, I could ask him for help in whatever I wanted, something like that, and I think I asked him whether he would help me with my marriage because … that’s what I wanted help with, and I think he said yes, he would.
Q Did he?
Q How did you feel about that conversation?
A I remember the thing that kind of sparked anger in me more than anything was the use of the word “special” actually and that he was calling me “brave,” because I felt so disgusting and ashamed, so I just thought — I felt like it was all lies, like it just felt disgusting, and it wasn’t true and I felt — I don’t even remember if I was responding, but I do remember hearing my own voice and it sounded so high pitched that I felt like it wasn’t even me that was experiencing this thing.
Q So what happened next after that?
A He …. asked to give me… him my phone so that he could take the picture and he set me up the way he wanted me for the picture, and I do actually also remember him asking me if I liked my body, and I can’t remember what I said, but he said, “I like your body,” or something like that.
And he said, “You’re beautiful inside and out” …. and then he took a picture, which …. turned out to be a video and it wasn’t supposed to be a video, so he, like, deleted that one … then he took another picture on my phone …to Monica in the secret chat that I had [with] her, so it would …. look like it’s a message from me to Monica.
Q When you say he positioned you, can you describe that in more detail?
A Yeah, I think he like opened my legs more and it was like a picture that mostly featured I’d say my vagina.
Q How did that experience compare to what you thought you were joining with DOS?
A Like, it just felt like in a whole different realm of darkness. I felt like the whole thing… like it was nothing like what I expected in the conversation with Monica in the Jness room about me becoming a better person. [When Monica offered to tell her about a special women’s empowerment project that did not involve Keith or Nxivm].
Q What happened after that?
A So, he sent the picture to Monica through that channel that … I got dressed and I left and I think I asked Monica if I could delete the picture from the chat because I didn’t want that picture just in the chat for me and her to see and so she said yes, so I deleted it and then I think the next morning… I was at the gym …. Monica started sending me all these messages saying I had to get the picture back and like I’ve got to try and retrieve the picture and we needed the picture, but because it was a secret chat, if you delete the message, you can’t get it back and so I was trying to figure out a way to get it back.
There didn’t seem to be a help desk for Telegram…. I was Googling it. I was kind of frantically trying to get what she was asking for. I eventually told her “I can’t get the photo back, I think it’s gone,” so she said we are going to have to do it again.
Q And so then what happened?
A It was arranged for me…. that same day I was to go back to the house and to meet Keith again so he could take my picture and this time we literally just met, went upstairs, I got undressed, he took the picture ….in a similar …position to the … day before and then I waited until Monica said to me, “okay, now you can delete it” and so then I was able to delete it.
Q Did the defendant say anything to you about the deletion?
A I don’t remember…
Q When you say… were you positioned the same way?
A I think it was the same way. …. I was naked lying back on the bed with my legs open.
Q Was your face in the picture?
A Not directly. I think you could see the edge of my face but the focus seemed to be more on my vagina again.
Q How did you feel about that after that experience?
A I felt … shame. All around that time, I felt so much shame and still do honestly about this whole thing and so — sorry — I just …. felt like everything was just lies and secrets and darkness. Like I say, it was such a horrible time.
Q Did you have any…. thoughts about it as related to your marriage to John?
A I almost had to make it like it didn’t — like block it out of my mind, like a separate thing to me because that was completely against everything to do with my marriage to John, like John was not having sex with anyone else and I wasn’t supposed to have any relationship with anyone else and I wouldn’t have and so I was going completely against our marriage and … it was so hard to be — I couldn’t have been myself in that relationship because I was living a lie.
Q What were your feelings towards the defendant at that point?
A I didn’t have any respect for him and I thought — I just did whatever I could after that to avoid him. I carried on with the messages like I was supposed to and I would message a lot but I didn’t purposely bump into him, hang out with him.
I hardly had anything to do with him on purpose in person unless I was asked to and I don’t even remember being asked to meet him again specifically, and so, yeah, I just made sure that if I had to communicate with him, most of the time it was through message.
Q At some point in … 2016 were you in Miami?
A Yeah, I went to [Miami] right after that experience…. I think it was the next day I went to coach a five-day in Miami, an intensive. I’m pretty sure it was like literally right after the in-person meeting, the second one and, yeah, I just felt — I got really sick when I got there and I spent the whole first day pretty much in bed. I remember I threw up in Whole Foods. I couldn’t really get it together.
I wasn’t sure if I had food poisoning or something, I just felt so gross and, yeah, I ended up having to take a day or — it was either a whole day or half a day out with the coaching so I didn’t do my coaching for at least half of one of the days because I just, I felt horrible.
Q Did you continue to communicate with the defendant and Monica during that time?
A Yeah, definitely, I didn’t break my commitment to the communications at all.
Q Did you tell the defendant your true feelings about what had happened?
A No. I used to tell ….Keith Raniere whatever I thought he wanted to hear because honestly I did think that was what I needed to do to navigate this whole situation without getting punished in any way. The same with my master [Monica], I tried to do things the way I was asked and perform to what was asked of me. That was my strategy to move through this in a way that I thought would keep me out of trouble.
Q Did there come a time when you had a conversation with the defendant about John?
A Yeah, at some point, and I can’t really remember what prompted this conversation …. he sent me a message saying, “I wish you weren’t so scared of me” or something like that and somehow we started talking about my relationship with John in the messages and I said something like my commitment is to John and he said,” No, your ultimate commitment is to me, I’m your grand master” …. And … then I felt even more … disgusted and had zero respect for him because I had never made the original commitment to him. I married John before DOS. It had nothing to do with that.
Q What was the impact of DOS on your relationship with John?
A Well, for almost the whole of our marriage up to that point I was living a lie and so I think he experienced probably the worst of me for most of those few years because I was anxious all the time. … I couldn’t sleep, like I was stressed out and wound up all the time and … where things would happen, like he wanted to go camping and we once had this argument because I was like, “oh, no, I cannot leave my phone” and I didn’t have a good explanation for why we couldn’t go to places where I wouldn’t have the phone signal. So, we would get into stupid arguments like that a lot and I’m just so grateful that he stuck with me because I don’t think it was easy for him in any way.
Readers can probably imagine what the jury was thinking at this time. Sylvie was a convincing witness. She seemed transparent and honest. Extraordinarily sincere.
And it is clear she was out of her league in dealing with Raniere and his rabid wolf-pack of women.
Jurors must have been sympathetic toward Sylvie, who at times cried and at other times visibly restrained herself from crying, and began to loathe the beast, who sat across the room from them at the defense table.
From being required to take graphic pictures twice, the unasked for cunnilingus on a bed with dirty sheets. Her terror at the entire episode. The madness surrounding the deleting of her photo and the frantic demand that she do it again.
All of these things told against the brute. Her description of how she felt during and following Keith’s disgusting oral sex performance is especially riveting and harrowing and bears repeating:
“I laid back on the bed and [he] went down on me and … it was going on for a really long time… I started to try and think, like, “when is this going to end?”, and … making the kind of sounds that I thought might bring it [to an end]…. I thought if I portray this is enough or I’ve had a good time or … makes it sound like it should be finished. I was doing anything to make it stop basically, but …. it went on for a really, really long time, and … eventually my body — had — I don’t know, because I don’t think I’ve ever had an orgasm before …. … it felt almost like I had an out-of-body [experience] where I completely lost control of my body, and then after that, it stopped….
“He came up next to me on the bed and ….kissed me …. he was saying things like, “You’re very …brave,” and … “special”… “Now you are part of the inner circle,” and … told me that he was… my grandmaster.”
And this part is particularly chilling: “I don’t even remember if I was responding, but I do remember hearing my own voice and it sounded so high pitched that I felt like it wasn’t even me that was experiencing this thing.”
It wasn’t her. It was what Raniere wanted her to be – an utterly destroyed woman, completely abject and lost in darkness.
There is some joy in this entire episode, however. Sylvie got to be first. The very first of all of his many, many victims, many of whom tread the same path as Sylvie.
And she got to be first, the first to tell her horror story, before 12 people who could really do something about him.
She set the table for his demise, just as he had tried to do to her. Happily, Raniere is now the slave, in his prison setting, and at last report, Sylvie is happily married to John. If nothing else, and despite Raniere’s evil designs, Sylvie finally settled into the life she desired, albeit with a long interruption, into the life that Raniere and Clare had told her was her being a robot and being indoctrinated – the married life with a man she loves and cares about.
And Raniere is settled into his new life, prison and will be there, if he lives, for a far longer time than the time he tortured Sylvie.
Viva Executive Success!