After nearly five years in prison, John Tighe is a free man. Or nearly free. He is still under supervision, better known as probation.
Still, he is at home, living with his wife. It is not known at this point at what level – 1-2 or 3 – he will have to register as a sex offender.
He pled guilty to a single federal felony count of possession of child pornography. He was facing charges that could have landed him in prison for 20 years when he chose to cut a plea deal that would guarantee he did no more than five years.
There are more than a few who think that Tighe was framed by Nxivm, whose expertise at hacking and planting viruses on computers on enemies is well known.
Tighe was a local blogger, based in Saratoga Springs, NY, who saw first-hand the negative impact that NXIVM was starting to have on his hometown – and decided to do something about it. He began publishing stories about some of the things the cult was doing.
Along the way, he gained the confidence of some former cult members who provided him with detailed information about Nxivm’s illegal operations – money laundering, statutory rapes, perjury, possible entrapment of public officials.
Raniere must have hated the fact that John was getting accurate information from Nxivm insiders.
He might have been particularly incensed when John published a report of a meeting on Necker Island – and published photos.
He was probably even more upset that John was casting a non-stop spotlight on the cult’s activities – and showing up at NXIVM events like Vanguard Week to take pictures of who was there.
John published a list of all the local properties that NXIVM had bought up.
He published a list of all the tax liens involving high-ranking members of NXIVM.
He published a list of all the NXIVM coaches – and documented the pyramid nature of the company’s operations.
He exposed the fact that the Rainbow Cultural Garden (RCG) operation was both an unlicensed daycare operation and an unlicensed school.
He also revealed the fact that most of the nannies at RCG were unqualified to do their assigned jobs – and that many of them were in the U.S. illegally.
He wrote about the fake marriages that NXIVM set up so some of its foreign members could stay in the U.S. – and other illegal immigration-related activities.
In short, he was unrelenting in his desire to expose the truth about NXIVM.
Curiously, law enforcement in the area chose to do nothing about it. Instead, they went after John and other Nxivm enemies.
On October 23, 2013, John’s residence was subjected to an early morning raid by a contingent of New York State Troopers led by Senior Investigator Rodger Kirsopp.
At the exact same time, other NYS Troopers were raiding the residences of two of NXIVM’s other critics: Toni Natalie and Joe O’Hara.
Based on eyewitness accounts, there were at least 15 NYS Troopers involved in the three raids.
And the alleged crime that led to all that firepower being deployed?
Illegally accessing the server that housed NXIVM’s website.
Just wrap your head around that for a minute… 15 State Troopers conducting a highly-coordinated, early-morning raid in three different locations throughout New York State in order to seize the computers of three people who had allegedly accessed NXIVM’s website.
They did not steal anything. They did not destroy anything. They merely allegedly went on the password-protected website.
As we would later find out, the investigation into Tighe, Natalie, and O’Hara had started in the summer of 2011 in the County of Saratoga – which is where the server that hosted NXIVM’s website was located.
Several months after his computers were seized by Rodger Kirsopp and his NYS Trooper cronies, Tighe was arrested on child pornography charges. They “found” the child porn on one of his seized computers, but they never said which one.
Shortly thereafter, John was also charged – along with Toni Natalie, Joe O’Hara, and Barbara Bouchey – with illegally accessing NXIVM’s website (Although she was not part of the original investigation, Barbara allegedly accessed the same NXIVM server after the raids on Tighe, O’Hara, and Natalie).
Faced with the possibility of a 20-year sentence – and trying to deal with a life-threatening medical issue for which he did not have health coverage at the time – John opted to take a plea deal that resulted in him being sentenced to a 5-year term at a federal medical facility.
The “good news” is that John received excellent medical care while he was in federal custody. The “better news” is that he has been released from federal custody.
Neither of those positive outcomes will make up for what’s happened to John if he is, in fact, innocent of the charges for which he was imprisoned.
There are some questions we have that remain unanswered concerning Tighe:
(1) Did one or more members of NXIVM [falsely] inform New York State Trooper LaBaron from the Bolton Landing barracks that John had attempted to poison the drinking water at the Silver Bay resort during a celebration of Vanguard Week?
(2) Was Raniere so enraged when the Silver Bay ploy did not result in John’s arrest that he ordered additional measures to be taken in order to shut him and his blog down once and for all?
(3) Was Ben Meyer tasked with the job of planting child porn on one of John’s computers?
(4) Did Clare Bronfman – and several other high-ranking members of NXIVM – provide false statements to Rodger Kirsopp about John?
(5) Why did Kirsopp not close-down the computer trespass investigation when Jim Murphy, the then-Saratoga County District Attorney – and the Office of the New York State Attorney General – both refused to prosecute the computer trespass allegations against Tighe, Natalie, and O’Hara?
(6) Why did Kirsopp not raise any questions when the Office of the Albany County District Attorney indicated out-of-the-blue that it was going to start its own computer trespass investigation? At a minimum, why didn’t Kirsopp ask how such a crime could have been committed in Albany County when he knew damn well [since he had been working on the case for more than a year] that the server in question was in Saratoga County at the time of the alleged illegal accessing? [The fact that he knew the server was in Saratoga County meant that Kirsopp likely conspired with Nxivm members and their lawyers to suborn perjury. Nxivm members Clare Bronfman and Ben Myers were preapared to perjure themselves to say the server was in Albany County, after claiming it was in Saratoga County up until the time the Saratoga County DA refused to prosecute].
(7) Why did Kirsopp arrange to have John’s computers destroyed as soon as he had entered a guilty plea?
(8) Why did Kirsopp and the New York State Police fight so hard to “wipe clean” the computers that had been seized from Natalie and O’Hara even though the computer trespassing charges against them had been dismissed?
(9) Who in NXIVM knows the truth about whether child porn was planted on one of John’s computers: Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman, Clare Bronfman, Esther Chiappone, Siobahn Hotaling, Ben Myers?
(10) Why during the course of his investigation of Tighe, Natalie, and O’Hara did Kirsopp meet and confer more than two dozen times with the lawyers representing NXIVM: i.e., Steve Coffey, Pam Nichols, and Mike McDermott?
(11) Why did Kirsopp not disclose the fact that the person who provided him with “evidence” of the alleged illegal trespassing – Ben Myers – was, in fact, a member of the NXIVM cult (Kirsopp portrayed Myers as an outside computer expert, unconnected to Nxivm)?
(12) Why did Kirsopp never have NXIVM’s server examined by the NYSP’s own forensic experts?
(13) How many other computer trespass cases have been investigated with this kind of manpower by the NYSP before – or after – this case? [Answer – zero.]
(14) How many other cases of possession of child pornography that have been investigated by the NYSP only involved only one downloaded e-file on one of the alleged perpetrator’s computers that was accessed only once? [It would seem logical that a perverted child porn viewer creates many files, downloads more than once and access them more than once.]
(15) How many other cases of possession of child pornography that have been investigated by the NYSP involved no file-sharing by the alleged perpetrator?
(16) Why did Rodger Kirsopp shut down the investigation of child molestation by the son of one of NXIVM’s high-ranking members?
(17) Why did the NYSP not investigate Jim Odato and Suzanne Andrews for allegedly illegally accessing NXIVM’s server (They were both named as defendants, along with Natalie and O’Hara, in a federal civil lawsuit for computer trespass that was dismissed when it was determined that Clare Bronfman had perjured herself)?
(18) Why after helping her to escape Raniere’s clutches did Kirsopp try to hunt down Kristin Keeffe so he could charge her with stealing a computer that belonged to NXIVM?
(19) Why did Kirsopp include this statement in his report about John Tighe: “I contacted FBI, SA David Fallon regarding Federal Prosecution of TIGHE. Same advised that he has identified 50 images as child pornography, the videos received have problematic issues for prosecution since most of the videos are preceded by a banner indicating the models were 18 years of age. SA Fallon advised that federal charges would remain pending the complete review of the materials obtained from TIGHE’S residence.”
(20) Was Tighe aware of the problems prosecutors might have had in proving the case – or at least his intent – when he took his plea deal?
In any event, John Tighe is free and most likely just getting settled to outside life – after nearly five years in federal prison – with the last few months in COVID lockdown – and the last 14-days in total isolation in the SHU. He is no doubt in need of a good long rest and recreation.
When he is ready, it will be time, with his help, to get some real answers to these long-troubling questions. It may lead to the road of his exoneration and perhaps charges being filed against those who framed him.
Notice to Nxivm Member With Info on Tighe
If anyone associated with Nxivm knows anything about this matter, or participated in the crime, the time may be ripe for you to contact me [716-990-5740 or firstname.lastname@example.org]. There is a strong possibility that this setup of Tighe was part of the longstanding racketeering enterprise Raniere led. Your cooperation, if you did participate, might lead to a favorable plea bargain or perhaps immunity in return for providing evidence of the child porn frame-up of John Tighe.