This is the next in our series on Mark Vicente’s testimony in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere.
Vicente did as much as anyone to sink the formidable Vanguard.
In this post, we learn more about the filthy one, including the revelation that Raniere had a sexual relationship with an actress [Although she was not named, it was well known in the Nxivm community to be Kristanna Loken] who apparently got violent with the blessed one and punched him, something that perhaps many, in retrospect, might have wished to have emulated.
It has also been widely rumored that he may have gotten her pregnant.
AUSA Mark Lesko is examining Vicente.
Just prior to this part of Vicente’s testimony, he had described how Raniere had semi-starved Allison Mack in his attempt to break her. Vicente said he was concerned about her health and how skinny she had become.
Now Lesko asks Vicente about some of the other women before getting back to Mack.
Q Was [Daniella Padilla] one of the women who concerned you?
A Yes. She had always been skinny, but it looked to me to be getting worse.
Q Was Marianna skinny?
Q Was Nicki Clyne skinny?
A She was also very skinny, yes.
Q Are you familiar with a woman named Sylvie?
A I am.
Q Was Sylvie one the women who was skinny?
A Exceedingly, yes.
Q Are you familiar with a woman named Kerstin?
Q Was Kerstin skinny?
A Very. She was one of the ones I was very concerned about.
Q When the defendant told you that he was trying to break Allison Mack, what was your reaction to that comment?
A I was disturbed because a part of me thought “okay, well, so we’re trying to break pride. Okay? I mean, I get that.” But I couldn’t understand why somebody withering away was somehow going to fix that. That was the part I didn’t get. And the thing is, I was at this point beginning to ask Raniere a lot of questions, but there was still the issue of my rank and his rank. So I had to be very careful that only in private would I ask him certain questions, not in public. And then also even in private, this was somebody who was, like, it’s like questioning the king, you know? Like at a certain point just slow down and be careful.
So I would often just nod my head and think, “okay. Well, he’s got some understanding that I don’t have and maybe there’s some wisdom I just can’t get because of something he knows.” I don’t share that anymore, but that’s what I thought at the time.
Q During the time period you were involved with NXIVM, did you become aware that the defendant was in sexual relationships with any women in the community?
A I did.
Q How did you acquire that information?
A Well, one of the ways was when Barbara Jeske died, after she died, he spoke to me and said this was like losing a wife for him. And I’d never heard him say that before. And suddenly it occurred to me, “Oh, I didn’t realize that that was the relationship.” That was quite … a surprise to me.
And it sort of made sense because, you know, he said to me once, like when it comes to having sex he really needs to know somebody, and it takes at least a year to really, really know somebody before that happened. So I thought “Okay. Well, you know, he’s known her a long time. I guess that kind of makes sense.”
And then later, there was an actress that I had introduced him to [Kristanna Loken], and he told me that they’d begun a thing together, and that it had got very inflammatory and she hit him. And I thought, “Okay. So they’re a thing.” I took that to mean a sexual thing given the way they were with each other. And then in 2017, he told me that he had conceived with Marianna, and I was surprised that I didn’t really even thought they were together all the time. I didn’t know that that was their relationship, and it was a disturbing conversation in general to me. But I decided to just, you know, in essence, not show that I had deep concerns about it. And I said to him, “You know, okay, well, I guess congratulations are in order,” and I just left it alone. But I began to develop a picture in my mind. “Okay. So there’s a lot more going on than I realize.”
Q …. the defendant resided with Marianna and Pam Cafritz; is that correct?
Q And did you have an understanding as to when actually that baby with Marianna was conceived?
A When we spoke about it, the baby was conceived around the time that Pam Cafritz was dying or had just died.
Q Were you aware that the defendant had other children with other members of the NXIVM community?
A Yes, I was.
Q Did you became aware that the defendant had a child with Kristin Keeffe?
A Yes, he told me that.
Q Do you know the name of that child?
A The name of the child was Gaylyn.
Q Was Gaylyn a boy or girl?
A Gaylyn was a boy.
Q Did you later learn that the defendant had sexual relations with other members of the NXIVM community?
A Once I had left, yes. But while I was still in … those instances I mentioned [were] most of the ones I knew about.
Q Approximately how many members of the NXIVM community did the defendant have sexual relations with?
A I think it was in excess of 20.
Q Did you witness the defendant being physically intimate with women in the community?
A I did.
Q How so?
A Well, generally speaking when he would meet one of the, you know… younger women that spent time with him, he was always very intimate with them, you know, hand-holding, touching, walks sometimes hand in hand. You know, kissing on the lips, a lot of tenderness, the kind of tenderness that is not usual in a corporate environment. And then, you know, I saw at one point, you know, an instance that gave me pause. But other than that, it was, generally speaking, just the way he was with each of them. The way I saw it is they were like – almost, like giddy call girls, and he was kind of the connect with each of them in different ways. But there was a lot of, you know, physical contact and whispering.
Q Did you witness the defendant being physically intimate with Clare Bronfman?
A I did.
Q How so?
A Same kind of things…kisses, talking, there was a lot of hand, the touching and there would be this sort of fingers intertwine and then rolls around, that kind of stuff. As I had said, it’s not just, you know, corporate buddies hanging out, there’s something else.
In this selection from Vicente’s testimony, he says he knew of some, but not all of Raniere’s likely sex partners. I believe him. Nxivm was a world of secrets and Raniere knew most of them and imposed secrecy on his followers, each keeping their own secrets.
It was up to him to tell the secrets to whom he chose.
It is hard to fathom how so many intelligent and good looking people were fooled by this swindler. And herein we may have the key to cults themselves. It is worthy of exploring: Why did they allow him to control their lives?
One thing that is evident is that the followers themselves, by keeping secrets, by always edifying Keith, obeying him, and working to persuade others when they had doubts to reinforce the “rightness” of following him, that they kept each other in his group.
Almost like a sheepdog herding the sheep, with the various women taking turns at being the sheepdog.
Raniere counted on this, along with techniques sleep deprivation [spiritually advanced people need little sleep], low cal vegetarian diets [highly evolved women need far fewer calories than science presently understands], hypnosis, fear, punishment [often] and reward [occasionally] and other techniques that kept people, mostly women, in line and obedient.
The women corralled, recruited and kept each other in line. Yet the more I see of the women, even these women who were part of the wolf pack, the women who kept the other women in line, the more I realize that they were also victims. All [or almost all] of them suffered abuse at his hands. It is hard to not feel pity for them, hard not to wish for leniency for them.
Sometimes, such as now, I think there was only one real true villain deserving of long-term punishment: Raniere.
The others, like Lauren and Allison, are likely to get a few years [if I were sentencing them, I would give them probation or home detention.] Kathy Russell might get little or no time at all [and rightfully so].
Nancy Salzman – perhaps the third biggest villain in this horror-monstrosity – will likely get off with only a few years in prison, maybe less than her daughter Lauren or Allison [which will be a true injustice.]
The second greatest rascal, next to Raniere himself, Clare Bronfman, is likely to get no more than four years in prison. She needs to be sequestered from humans for a time since she alone [other than Raniere] represents a danger to victims and whistleblowers.
With her wealth, she could still harm them severely and seems to have the disposition to do so. Next to Raniere, she had the most vengeful streak.
Even Nancy, as volatile as she was at times, did not have the innate desire to destroy people. She was more of a self-centered creature seeking to gain from her status. But she did not, like Clare and Keith, have the killer instinct. She went along with the cruelty because she loved her job and the status it brought her.
With Clare, a four-year stint in prison followed by three years of probation will allow her to be monitored and, therefore, neutered for about 7 years. Hopefully, that will be enough for her victims to move on with their lives.
She, too, may learn to not seek vengeance – seeing how little it got her.
However, happily, Raniere, the man who always put things in others’ names so he could not be held criminally liable will get, most likely, a longer sentence than the other five defendants put together.
And that is justice.