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.