Lawyers for Keith Alan Raniere have submitted to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis an 86-page sentencing memorandum on behalf of their client seeking to persuade the judge to sentence Raniere to only 15 years, the minimum sentence he is allowed under federal law because of his sex trafficking charges.
In a previous post, we discussed how Raniere’s lawyers argued that he is innocent.
Next, they went into his childhood, a childhood so sad that I doubt there will be a dry eye among our readers after reading it. [Often times when people laugh so hard, they shed tears.]
[My comments are in brackets and bold.]
Keith Raniere’s Childhood
By Marc Agnifilo and Paul DerOhannesian II
Keith Raniere was born in Brooklyn on August 26, 1960. His father, James Raniere, was a successful advertising executive who often travelled and was away from the home. His mother, Vera Oschypko, was a beautiful, graceful woman who was a professional ballroom dancer and dance instructor.
James Raniere died this Spring. Because of Raniere’s incarceration, the two had not spoken and were unable to acknowledge the father’s illness or his passing.
The small family did not have much money or material possessions. When Raniere was about six years old, the family moved from Brooklyn to Suffern, New York, in Rockland County.
About two years after moving, when Raniere was about eight years old, his parents separated and later divorced. In the years prior to the separation, the young Raniere recalls his parents arguing a great deal. It was apparent to Raniere that his frail family was about to fracture.
[It is funny that the lawyers do not include any of Raniere’s bullshit claims about his being a child prodigy which we find on his online bio
- He spoke in full sentences by the age of one; was reading by the age of two
- At the age of eleven, he was an Eastern Coast Judo Champion.
- At age 12, he taught himself high school mathematics in less than a day and taught himself three years of college mathematics by age 13.
- He plays many musical instruments and taught himself to play piano at a concert level by age 12]
Like many young children facing the prospect of divorced parents, he thought deeply about whether there was anything he could do to stop his parents from arguing and prevent his family from ending. Without brothers, sisters or a close extended family, the notion that his three-member family would cease to exist caused Raniere unrelenting sadness.
[This poor lad had “unrelenting sadness” – is that an exaggeration? Certainly, he gave unrelenting sadness to many people as an adult. Keep in mind that his attorneys didn’t know Keith as a child. His parents are dead. The source for the story of “Poor Keith” is undoubtedly Keith himself and, as we all know, the rascal is given to prevarication.]
After his father left the home, Raniere would typically see him a couple of times a week. Raniere’s father took him to martial arts lessons and was as present in his life as possible. In the years following the separation, the father had begun a new relationship with a woman named Sydney Delisio, one that would extend to until the father’s death. While Raniere’s father made efforts to remain in his life despite the divorce, even at ten years of age, Raniere could see that his mother, who suffered from serious heart disease, would be the primary source of support, comfort and love.
About three years later, when Raniere was thirteen years old, his mother’s heart condition grew worse and she had open-heart surgery. In a sense, neither Raniere nor his mother ever recovered from the surgery.
[Poor Raniere, he never recovered from his mother’s heart surgery. How painful that must have been.]
At thirteen years of age, Raniere confronted a reality where his mother could die at any moment, leaving him alone in the world.
[Had James already told Keith that he couldn’t come live with him and Sydney?]
For almost five years, Raniere spent a great deal of his time caring for his mother. He made sure she kept her medical appointments and urged her to take care of herself. But, he could see she was not taking care of herself. She was drinking heavily and slowly giving in to the loneliness and sorrow she was evidently feeling all the time. But, he stuck by her, faithfully.
Watching his mother, once a graceful dancer, experiencing such sorrow had a deep impact on the young Raniere.
During his High School years, with the exception of going to school, Raniere spent a great deal of time at home. He did not pursue friendships, he did not travel often, he did not have many of the carefree pleasures some children find in childhood. Rather, he was devoted to his sad, lonely mother, whom he knew was dying.
On many occasions during Raniere’s adult life, he discussed what his life was like as a boy, caring for his mother, knowing all the while he might soon lose her. He discussed wanting to be a hero because a hero would save his mother, a hero would somehow transcend the self-evident reality around him and change it for the better. He would also discuss later in life how people who turned out to be heroes did not see their lives as great or special in the midst of the struggle but only saw this much later.
[He told this story of being so dedicated to his mother – something I generally doubt – to make himself look like a hero. He told the story about not realizing one is a hero – to get his students to think he was a true and humble hero.]
Perhaps because of the difficult circumstances he was in, Raniere had something of a realization at a young age: that he could deliberately and mindfully make a choice to be a good, caring, considerate person at each moment for the rest of his life regardless of the hardships. He realized at twelve years old that the desire and ability to change reality for the better – in a sense, being a hero – was a matter of character, choices and practice.
[If he realized “he could deliberately and mindfully make a choice to be a good, caring, considerate person”, then why didn’t he become a good, caring, considerate person instead of a sex trafficking, racketeering cult leader? Is this bullshit going to impress the judge or piss him off?]
By developing and exhibiting this character, he could stand up to the reality that was pressing in on him. He started this discipline by committing himself to not harming animals or eating meat and to avoid being materialistic.
[Keith Raniere was probably the most materialistic person these attorneys ever represented. He had to have sex constantly, be worshipped and obeyed, and given tribute at every class – all of which is also materialistic. Even if he didn’t wear shoes, grew his hair long, and kept all his money in other people’s names.]
Despite his difficult circumstances at home, Raniere excelled academically in High School. He completed ninth grade at Suffern High School, transferred to the Rockland County Day School for tenth and eleventh grades, but left High School a year early. As stated in a letter dated June 30, 1977 from the Headmaster of Rockland County Day School, Raniere was a “brilliant student of mathematics and science and certainly an adequate student of the humanities.”
As further reflected in the Presentence Investigation Report (PSIR), the letter from the Headmaster further indicates that Raniere applied for early college admission and adds that Raniere was “probably as well prepared for college academically, socially and emotionally” as any of the high school seniors.” The letter goes so far as to state that Raniere had “outgrown all the school’s learnings in math and science.”
At the age of seventeen, and having misgivings over leaving his mother, he started at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“RPI”) in Troy, New York in August of 1977, pursuing a demanding course of study including many high level math and science classes.
[Raniere “was devoted to his sad, lonely mother, whom he knew was dying” – and he “wanted to be a hero because a hero would save his mother.” Then, he left her all alone and went off to college.]
He returned home the following summer. Raniere was to return to RPI for his Sophomore year on Sunday, August 27, 1978. The previous day, Saturday, August 26, 1978, was Raniere’s 18th birthday.
For his birthday that year, he had a celebration for his mother, giving thanks to her for what she endured and for giving Raniere the opportunities he had. As he would say later in life, it was one of the times he saw beyond the day-to-day struggles and attained a perspective befitting the tireless effort his mother devoted to their lives together. The tradition of using the occasion of Raniere’s birthday to take time to celebrate the efforts of others as well as the beauty and opportunity that life has presented continued throughout his adult life.
At some point, after NXIVM was created, it became known as V-Week. As much as the Government tried to make
V-Week a megalomaniacal party for Raniere, it was in truth a beloved, annual, end-of-summer celebration of all the people who made our lives possible and wonderful. It celebrated not only Raniere’s birthday but those of everyone whose birthdays fall within the period of the celebration.
[Now I know this was written by Raniere – directly and copied by the attorneys. You know how I know — they forgot to edit it? They used the word “our” instead of “Raniere and the Nxivm community’s” — To wit: “As much as the Government tried to make V-Week a megalomaniacal party for Raniere, it was in truth a beloved, annual, end-of-summer celebration of all the people who made our lives possible and wonderful.” How did the V-Week celebration make Agnifilo and DerOhannasian’s lives possible and wonderful? That was supposed to read something like “end-of-summer celebration of all the people who made Raniere and his community’s lives possible and wonderful.” It is just like Raniere to try to say that a 10-day celebration of his birthday – Vanguard Week – named after him – with him the star – which people had to pay to attend – was not for his glory or satiation – but as a tribute to others and a sharing for others – so unselfish – just like when he had a birthday party for himself and said it was really all about realizing how wonderful his mother was. Nice try Keith.]
As it turns out, Raniere’s celebration on his 18th Birthday for his mother would be the last time he would see her alive in their home. On December 13, 1978, the week before Fall Semester final exams, Raniere’s mother died.
[This is heartbreaking. I am glad Keith did not include the story he often told about his mother’s passing. He used to say that his mother had a wonderful cardiologist who kept her alive and one day he died. His mother, despite being in ill health and advised to not go out, decided she had to go to her cardiologist’s funeral. And wouldn’t you know it, she went, exerted herself too much in the ice-cold temperature, and came home and died. Keith was wise not to tell too many of his cock and bull stories and go for the tearjerker instead.
[Still, I would call this a fail. I don’t think the judge will weep when he reads any of this. More likely he will make Raniere weep. Stay tuned for Part 3 when Raniere’s attorneys, or Raniere himself under their byline, tells the wonderful story of Consumers’ Buyline. I can guarantee you, you haven’t heard this version before.]