Now that the sentencing of Keith Alan Raniere has been imposed, this is an excellent time to review the appropriateness of his sentence.
I have been writing about Raniere since late 2015, 10 days after he and Clare Bronfman arranged for my indictment.
My response to what they did was to work to expose them. I felt at the time that if Keith and Clare had been willing to lie in order to steal my freedom, and they had the wealth and skill to potentially succeed, then they were likely lying about and working to destroy others’ lives.
It took almost five years from the day I began writing about him to the sentencing of Raniere to 120 years in federal prison. During that interval, I have written more than 5,000 posts. I discovered that Keith and Clare had done many things to many people – and I brought many of them to light for the first time ever.
I found that there was a trail of victims, people whose lives were destroyed by Raniere’s ruthless cunning and Bronfman money.
It is a beautiful irony that these two were the first of the six indicted Nxivm members to be imprisoned – Raniere, since 2018, and Bronfman, after being under house arrest for more than two years, entered prison on September 30, 2020. The two that worked to steal my freedom, lost their freedom.
I worked hard to help see this accomplished.
With the help of Catherine Oxenberg, Mark Vicente, Sarah Edmondson, and others, I was able to break the DOS branding story which led to many people leaving Nxivm and Raniere. The New York Times mentioned this when they wrote their story that led to the FBI commencing their investigation.
As shown on HBO’s The Vow, I wrote the dossier cataloging the crimes I believed Raniere committed and gave that to Catherine to deliver to law enforcement. Comparing my dossier with the indictment of Raniere, it is fair to say I provided a blueprint for investigators, who then set out to prove the allegations.
(Yesterday, I heard a gratifying story: During a certain operation of the federal investigation that required timing and efficiency, an FBI agent brought in to help was told to read specific Frank Report stories in order to be briefed on the operation that was to occur that day.)
Since I had a hand in Raniere’s downfall, I think it right to review his sentence. Keep in mind there is no consensus on whether 120 years is fair. There are some who think it excessive, that even murderers get lower sentences and Raniere was not convicted of murder or any violent crime. There was no blood or violence – other than the theory that with collateral held over the DOS slaves’ heads, the branding was coerced and, therefore, violent.
But does it warrant 120 years? Forget the fact that at age 60, a 120 sentence was not necessary to prevent Raniere from ever emerging from prison. A 30-year or 40-year sentence would likely have the same practical effect.
Let us examine, then, whether Raniere deserves a life sentence. I imagine most readers will agree that he does. But it should be on the record, with evidence: The reasons for his life sentence. And the reasons, if any, that militate against the second most oppressive punishment a government can do to one of its citizens. A life sentence is an admission by the government that for all the reasons people are placed in prison, Raniere fulfilled them and his crimes and his threat to society are so grave and dangerous that he should never be permitted to enjoy freedom for as long as he lives.
I want those who disagree with the majority opinion – that Raniere deserves everything he got and more – to be free to express their opinion, backed up with evidence, hopefully, without being bullied or attacked.
The debate I propose to explore is, did Keith Raniere deserve a 120-year prison sentence? And why?
Forthcoming posts will present evidence, some of it new, on this question. From authentic voices of people involved – including Raniere and his supporters – and, of course, the voices of his victims.
For those who will howl at the very suggestion that this could even be debated, I urge you to be patient. Don’t read it if it is too emotional for you. The accounts I will be publishing are eyewitness accounts and the truth should become evident when seen in its totality.
Keith Raniere once enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, getting everything he wanted from his mostly female followers – from sex to money – with his followers doting on him and listening to his every word. His wish was their command. Now he is being commanded 24 hours per day in prison. This has been set to be his fate for the rest of his life. In prison, we have a man, who personally victimized me, and who has scores of people who claim he victimized them – people who were once close to him – many of them former lovers – an oddity for a man who claimed to be compassionate and loving. He also still has perhaps 100 staunch supporters who believe in his greatness and compassion.
Let’s hear from both sides through the prism of the finality of his sentence that, absent a successful appeal on solid evidentiary grounds, dooms him to breathing every remaining breath he will take in his life inside the walls of a US prison.
Now let us examine whether he earned this fate.