Barbara Bouchey, a former girlfriend of Keith Raniere – and a former high ranking Nxivm member, was one of 15 victims permitted to make statements at Raniere’s sentencing on October 27, 2020. She was in the courtroom during the entire five-hour long proceedings – and shares her recollections of the hearing with the Frank Report.
By Barbara Bouchey
The sentencing hearing took place in the large, ceremonial courtroom. I was one of the victims scheduled to speak.
Assigned a seat in the jury box. Also seated there with Toni Natalie, India Oxenberg, Susan Dones, Nicole, and Kristin Keeffe. All of us were slated to make statements. I noticed that Toni and India came into the courtroom together and sat together And when the proceedings were over, they left together.
In the seats normally assigned to spectators sat Adriana and her son, Adrian, nicknamed ‘Fluffy,’ and her daughter Daniela, who were also victims scheduled to speak. Another woman, Victoria, a beautiful Mexican with sparkling blue eyes, sat in one of the seats. She would also speak as a victim, but at the time I first saw her, I did not know who she was.
Though I had heard that Camila, whose mother, sister and brother were there, was also supposed to speak, she was nowhere in the courtroom.
The defendant, Keith Raniere was sitting at the defense table between his lawyers, Marc Agnifilo and Paul DerOhannesian, facing the judge. He had on his orange prison garb with a navy-blue t-shirt underneath.
Throughout the proceedings, Keith sat quite still, showing little emotion or reaction to the words spoken against him. But he seemed totally alert. Keith listened intently to every victim when they spoke.
At the prosecution table was Assistant US Attorneys Tanya Hajjar and Mark Lesko, who had prosecuted Raniere at trial. Moira Kim Penza, who left the US attorney’s office for private practice, was in court but did not participate in the proceedings.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis was on the bench. He did not wear black robes – and instead, wore a navy-blue suit. At times, he would take his glasses off. So I could see his eyes. He has an expressive face.
Attorney Neil Glazer, who represents many of the victims, was there. Some reporters were there. Jehane Noujaim from HBO’s “The Vow” and Robert Gavin, from the Albany Times Union, were two members of the media I recognized.
Because of COVID restrictions, the court was not full – and people were seated to maintain social distancing.
After some preliminary remarks by the judge, it was time for victims to speak. The judge announced that Camila would speak first.
Keith pushed back in his chair.
Cami was not in the audience.
The US Marshal opened the door behind to the left of the judge – and Cami emerged out of that door.
Cami was escorted in the court – and, when she left, she was escorted out the same door.
She was the only one that caused Keith to fidget. He showed some nervousness when she first entered. As she came out, Keith leaned forward and started rubbing his left arm, then sat back as he had before. For the entire proceeding, this was his most visible reaction.
Cami went to the podium. She had her speech in a binder. She looked well, with her hair at shoulder length. She was dressed professionally, with black slacks with a black top and an ivory blazer and flat black shoes. She looked slender but not emaciated.
She had 12 years of Keith’s abuse; she was abused from a very tender age. Only recently has she come out of her fog. She came across as fragile, but her statements left a deep impression. She was clear, with poignant statements about Keith.
“It is never right or noble to rape a girl at 15, you branded your initials in my flesh,” she said.
She read slowly and carefully. I believe she spoke for about 20 minutes. By the time she was done, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about what he did to her.
I think the judge is empathetic; you could see it on his face at times. When Cami spoke, he looked disturbed, uncomfortable. He looked sad at times – and at other times, he looked angry.
I sat right behind Cami and all of the victims when they took their turn to speak at the podium. I was about 7 feet away. Of the 15 victims, at least 9 of them had been in Keith’s bedroom.
After several women stood at the podium, it dawned on me that from behind, those who had slept with Keith all had the same body type. Really, literally, the shape of their backs and their butt, and their legs were all the same.
Kristin Keeffe’s Statement
When I came to the podium to make my statement, I chose to speak looking at Keith the entire time. I can’t tell how the judge was reacting when I spoke, but I watched him when others spoke.
Kristin Keeffe would not look at Keith. She spoke to the judge the whole time. The judge was moved, listening to Kristin – a mother with a child who Keith hasn’t supported while he spent millions trying to silence and destroy people.
There were times during Kristin’s emotional statement that I thought the judge was holding back tears.
Cami and India Oxenberg spoke – looking at both Keith and the judge. When Cami’s mom spoke, she looked straight at Keith. As did Toni Natalie.
Nicole, when she spoke, was articulate and made good sense. To me, she is taking back her power and strength.
India also spoke powerfully.
After the victims spoke, Keith’s attorney Marc Agnifilo argued “how even Toni Natalie said that we were good people at NXIVM. There was a lot of good there. Keith helped a lot of people (blah, blah, blah).”
Then Agnifilo tried to make this sweeping generalization that we, for various reasons, chose to leave. That’s all: we just chose to leave, and only afterward, we were “influenced”, suddenly, to change our stories; we started to feel abused. Suddenly, everything Keith did was all bad and wrong.
Judge Garaufis was appalled. That’s when he started hammering Agnifilo. When the judge reprimanded Keith’s attorney (which he did many times), I noticed that Keith did not look at the judge but only looked at his attorney, which I found odd.
Then Keith Raniere did his little speech. Keith never stood and sat the whole time when he spoke. He was seated in the middle of the table, with Agnifilo to his left and DerOhanessian to his right.
Facing the judge, he said, “I feel remorse over everybody’s pain and suffering”, but he didn’t say that the pain and suffering were caused by him! He just “felt remorse” about our pain and suffering – meaning he claims he doesn’t know what caused it and he alleges not to be connected to it – but he just felt bad that we experienced it.
That was his attitude.
Then Keith tried to make a witty remark about how he listened to all the victims, and some of us were lying.
Oh my God! And then he started speaking to the audience in the courtroom, looking around to the back of the courtroom, and then towards us and the judge.
“I just wanted to do good,” he says, “I hope you can all forgive me.”
He was looking at everybody.
Then he called for mercy for Nancy, Lauren, and Allison, telling us how “They’re good people, they’re innocent. They haven’t done anything wrong”.
“Just blame me. Don’t blame them. Blame me.”
But what he really meant was: “I am innocent – but blame me.”
When someone you know is lying in front of you, a part of your brain goes like: “Wait a minute. He’s a pathological liar. That’s what pathological liars do.”
As he made his grand confession of innocence, and how he hurts that everybody’s got pain and suffering, his voice trembled a little bit. I think, you know, like, it looked like he was really hurt and disturbed. The expression on his face was no longer stoic. He wanted people to see that he felt great pain over this, but that he was innocent.
The prosecutors did a good job of keeping a straight face. Their eyes didn’t roll up to the ceiling. They were very professional – and I give them credit for that.
When it was over, the judge sentenced Keith to 120 years in prison.
We all stood up. I approached Nicole and shared how awful I felt for what she went through. That I hoped that she can heal. I thanked her for being a witness and said that she made a big difference in all of our lives. I really went out of my way to share with her and she thanked me.
As for Keith, it takes a while to understand that even though Dr. Jekyll has good aspects, Mr. Hyde isn’t worth it. Keith wouldn’t have attracted people like me and thousands around the world if he didn’t have good aspects. I’ve been slaughtered for saying that. But it needs to be said because we’re not idiots.
When I was asked during my recent appearance on his show, by Dr. Oz about the Nxivm-5, I categorize that pretty easy. Some are men. They weren’t in his bedroom. So they did not get to see the subtle, evil intent and abuse that Keith had, because they weren’t in his bedroom. They weren’t checking in about how much they weighed. They weren’t being manipulated. So it’s easy to explain why people like Marc Elliot don’t get it. They weren’t in the bedroom. That’s easy.
As for Michelle and Nicki, they were in his bedroom. But they weren’t in the inner circle. They didn’t know about the corruption. They were 10 layers out of all of that. They get to hear the well-woven tales about my extortion, stories that have been rewritten by Keith, Nancy, and Lauren all along the way. The evidence of Keith’s corrupt side is not apparent to them. To see the full wolf, you have to have all the pieces to connect, and not just be having sex with him in his bedroom.
There were 144 pages of testimonials that people wrote for Keith. I read every page. Only two of them were ever in his bedroom.
No person deserves what Keith did. What I was so moved by hearing the victims is that everybody had a different perspective, a different area, a different focus. And it was, in my opinion, a holographic understanding of what Keith did, because everyone covered some different area.
Raniere is not a pathological liar. Everything he says, he believes. This is clear from everything he writes and says. It’s just that his beliefs are all screwy and he doesn’t understand why because he doesn’t understand people and he has no moral compass to guide him. It was shown in The Vow that he wanted to remove emotions from people to make them more rational, and that is an example of not understanding what thinking is, which is not just deduction. This is problematic already, but also being anti-social (not caring at all about anyone else, only caring to achieve his wishes/goals, some of which appear to be humanitarian but are, in fact, nothing more than trying to shape the world to what he thinks it should be), means there is no proper self-correction, and further that there is a reversal of values in such a person, that he thinks makes sense. In “The Vow” he tries to make psychopaths appear as important and people who do good, so likely he knows what he is and thinks it’s fine. That Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” was shown in “The Vow” ep.1 was, thus in hindsight, not surprising…
You lost me at “Keith is not a pathological liar.” Uh, no – he doesn’t believe everything he says.
NutJob and NEW READERS,
New readers should know the following insane claims are all actual claims Keith Raniere has made.
I am certain Keith does not believe his own claims regarding his superpowers:
1. Keith sets radar detectors off.
2. Keith sometimes makes it snow when he brainstorms.
3. When it rains occasionally the rain will not fall on Keith’s head.
4. Keith Rainier’s aura/chi life energy weakens when women leave him or cheat on him.
5. Keith Raniere can see people’s past lives and who they were reincarnated from. Nancy Salzman, Salinas, and Alex Betancourt to name a few, were reincarnated from Nazi WWII leaders such as Hitler and Heinrich Himmler.
6. Keith knows secretly how to make special concoctions that can cure cancer.
7. Keith’s “ejaculate” when swallowed has healing abilities, and it bestows vital life force energy when he ejaculates on a women’s face.
..Surely, goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life.
Bless you, Barbara!
That’s a very nice speech. For me, emotionally, a little overheated, (more useful when I consider the mere facts), but understandable. Anyone involved in this high-volume case can be deeply touched by this.
You are wonderful, Barbara. Your strength prevailed.
Given the amount of money and protection that Clare Bronfman gave Mr. Raniere, I find it ironic and disturbing that he didn’t ask for clemency for her as well as Nancy, Lauren and Allison. He could have said, for future reference that Clare had minimal knowledge of his activities. I know people are mad at her, but I’ve never lost the feeling that she just got suckered in just like everyone else.
Raniere wasn’t in a position to be so generous. LOL
Thank you for this, Barb. Sparkling.
Great article, Barbara!
Very good and very well written. The point about the different perspectives is apt. It is very hard to stop cults unless you can find precise criminal offences. It was a bit like my divorce. 99.9% of why I divorced due to his conduct was not physical violence. Yet that is the only bit that potentially is criminal (although minor and almost de minimis for me) and yet is the one bit people understand best. It is the same with trying to take out a cult. The wrong is not so much even in the occasional criminal side: e.g., if Scientology used illegal child labour (or the FLDS group who were certainly prosecuted for employing children) – it is the greater whole where people are sucked in and abused in ways which often on their own are lawful which is why they are so hard to stop.
So if you want to run a cult which is not stopped, avoid criminal offences. Had KR saved himself for slightly older women and not made enemies by suing leavers into the ground) it is pretty easy to run a lawful cult and not have any trouble. He was not the smartest man because he didn’t stick to that… He could easily have said – let us go with a stick-on tattoo with the letters DOS on it too. The brand was never going to go down well with the wider world. He was in a sense hanged by his own stupidity.
Divorce is a civil, not criminal, legal action, even if there is physical abuse – which would have to be prosecuted separately by the government as assault, battery, etc. LOL
This is why Frank was right to start this website and mock the NXIVM bunch, in order to provide information which caused people to leave NXIVM, which eventually led to finding criminal behavior that was pursued with criminal action, which also led to eventual civil action, but only because of the initial criminal action. LOL
Raniere almost had to sue those who left, otherwise they may have been “brave” enough to start websites like this one to expose and bring down NXIVM, and it worked with most of them, the problem is that strategy didn’t work with Frank. LOL
Amway and other MLM scams have too many people leaving for that approach to work, but most people are too scared to speak up because they’re afraid they would be sued by the MLM company, among other reasons. LOL
Amway tried (and failed) suing Scott after he exposed their illegal pyramid and RICO fraud scams online, and that didn’t intimidate him, either. LOL
Curved lines are much more difficult than straight lines, the “R” was even made with straight lines. LOL
Agreed. If KR had stayed on the right side of the law, he’d still be free. But he had emotional issues that wouldn’t allow him to do that. Ironic that he was head of a self-help group that taught how to deal with emotions but he couldn’t do it himself.
Very interesting to hear from Barbara and she makes that important point about the different experiences and them being pieces of a large jigsaw. It’s a reminder that not one person knew the story as a whole.
That’s another reason why people should have worked together earlier, but it took Frank to do so, and even then most of them didn’t work with each other. LOL
I felt deeply moved by Ms. Bouchey’s experience in the NXIVM story. She always came across as highly competent – and honest about her perspective when speaking about being both inside, then outside the organization. Same – for Ms. Dones. I hope they are both doing well in the aftermath of Raniere’s trial. I’d be curious to hear Ms. Bouchey’s thoughts about the remaining convicted NXIVM members and what she thinks the sentences should be. Also, what are her thoughts about the remaining “loyalists”, in general?
The radiance coming from the faces in that last photo is so beautiful and spectacular to see, at last. What a magnificent piece of writing, giving so much and with amazing feeling. This is a divine tko.
That’s not radiance, it’s embarrassment that they didn’t work together to stop NXIVM years earlier. LOL
Scott, I’ve been meaning to ask if you have reached out to the NXIVM 5 about them appearing on your show? They are really wanting to be heard right now. I would surely listen to that broadcast. You would probably have to agree to their carefully selected questions.
I’d think the NXIVM-5 would be on the show. They are wanting to be heard.
I believe the man at the other end of the string, holding a paper Dixie Cup to his ear, would be interested in hearing what the Nxivm-5 have to say.
I know I am.
Barbara makes several really great points here, especially about men’s opinions of Keith Raniere. I’m sorry to say but that goes for Mark Vicente too, whose narrative and viewpoint drives The Vow HBO. The Vow is such a whitewash of the overt misogyny of NXIVM it’s embarrassing to watch. I feel very sorry for Bonnie Piesse and Sarah Edmondson who seem to have to go along with all the bullshit out of fear of their husbands Mark and Nippy. It’s hard to imagine Mark would have lifted a finger against Keith Raniere if the cameras weren’t rolling, and HBO wasn’t paying him enormous sums. I guess we’ll never know.
India Oxenberg’s Seduced on Starz is so far superior to The Vow it’s almost shocking. If you are a woman who was abused by Keith and the men of NXIVM – including those bastard leaders of Society of Protectors – watch Seduced. If you watched The Vow and felt the pain of a whole new layer of gaslighting and misdirection, watch Seduced. If you felt like nine episodes of Mark Vicente’s sanctimoniousness, painting himself as THE BIGGEST VICTIM OF ALL made you want to gag and throw up, Seduced will be cathartic. I’m not alone in my viewpoints, check out Twitter. Search @markvicente or #SeducedStarz to see widespread reactions from around the world from people who have watched both series. What were these fools thinking?
Right on. Mark Vicente still doesn’t understand and acknowledge that he was a major enabler and sidekick to Keith Raniere. He helped Keith so much that Vicente was being groomed to be the next NXIVM Cult Leader.
Now Vicente claims he was shocked. Just plain shocked when the DOS story broke. And that he wasted years with NXIVM.
Oh please, Karen. Cry me a river. Talk about male privilege.
The huge age difference between he and his wife is enough of a red flag for me.
The NXIVM women believed the “one man, many women” mantra as much as the men – was that key issue addressed in Oxenberg’s series? LOL
I’m sick of all of these Hollyweird types making series shows about NXIVM instead of other people who were harmed being the focus of attention. LOL
In episode 2 of Seduced, women are told that men can have many lovers but women can’t handle that so must be monogamous. However, moments later, India says that many couples in Nxivm were “swapping” and Cafritz seems to confirm it.
But those two things are contradictory. If Nx men are having sex with Nx wives then those wives are not being monogamous.
I’m sure Nx taught that men can be poly-amorous but women can’t be…but I suspect the sex swapping to be just a rumor.
Still, John Tighe wrote about the Necker Island coaches summit that some sort of free or group sex was part of Nx activities. “After pleasantries, cocktails, and sex, attendees got down to the business at hand.”
“The group, Bloch said, purposefully went after many higher-profile people as a recruiting tool — including actors Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne and Kristin Kreuk.”
NXIVM and the unending desire for cult content
India – Thanks for sharing.
I also asked Frank to delve into the “whitewash of the overt misogyny” of the men of Nx, especially those enablers in SOP who were male versions of “the flying monkeys.”
The embarrassing lack of coverage of this has to be addressed, now that DOS and the trial are largely over.
Put your Investigative Journalist hat on, Frank, and get back to work!
Looking super good, Barbara! Nice jacket/dress! Very elegant! It looks great on you. Have you considered providing fashion advice to women? I feel you would be great. Love your style.
Thank you so much for sharing and that incredible retelling of the courtroom proceedings; I felt like I was there.
I used to be judgmental of your claim that Keith had “some good”. After watching The Vow, I had a glimpse of the “good” and understand better your opinion. I am sorry I was judgmental of you in the past comment threads.
I wish you the best! You deserve it.
PS Please pay no attention to detractors, like Scott Johnson aka “LOL or other critics. You know the truth.
Enjoy life, you deserve to be happy!!!!
NiceGuy 666, Scott and I have both stated there is “some good” in NXIVM, Amway, and other MLM scams, that’s how they set the trap. LOL
However, when someone learns, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story,” it becomes time to speak out, something that most people other than Frank didn’t do, or did only in a minimal manner, such as talking to a small media outlet. LOL
I am letting Barbara know I “get” where she is coming from and respect her.
“… , something that most people other than Frank didn’t do, or did only in a minimal manner, such as talking to a small media outlet.” LOL
This means Scott Johnson’s Radio Podcast: Whenever Scott Johnson advertises himself, he should always point it out immediately.
Listen to Scott Johnson’s weekly radio/podcast: https://www.buildingfortunesradio.com/scott-johnson-peter-mingils/