At the sentencing hearing of Keith Alan Raniere on October 27, 2020, there were 15 victims who spoke.
First to speak was Camila, who was in the courtroom.
Next was Sarah Edmondson, who spoke by video.
Mark Vicente, one of the chief whistleblowers that helped expose Raniere, was the third to speak. He spoke by video. In his statement, he recited a list of foul deeds that he believes Raniere deliberately did to those who trusted him – and also spoke about the personal pain and trauma he has been through after believing implicitly in Raniere for 12 years.
Here is what he said:
Your Honor, beyond Keith Raniere’s crimes as documented in your court, there are moral crimes this man has committed; specifically against those that were under his care. People like myself.
The crimes were willful and intended to cause maximum damage. There are the physical things Raniere has done to people:
- Coerce them to starve themselves
- sleep deprivation
- cutting them off from their friends and families
- closing doors on their life and career opportunities
- terrorism by litigation
- triangulating his students against each other
- maliciously squandering the child-bearing years of dozens of women
- convincing people that he knew better than their doctors resulting in them foregoing medical treatment they should have had.
These are all terrible things.
But it’s the psychological and existential injuries which will continue for the rest of our lives, that I find the most heinous.
Keith Raniere, you have done irreparable harm to people’s psyches, to their self-esteem, their belief in themselves, and their experience of sanity and well-being, their quality of existence.
I believed in you. I believed in your mission because I thought it was the same as mine. Finding out the truth about you and your actual motives turned my world upside down. You broke goodness. You cracked the firmament of my belief in nobility and honor and righteousness.
I do not know how to repair it. I do not know if it can ever be made whole again. I fight every day to try to recapture something that now feels lost.
This is not by accident on your part. When I was writing the film Carbon Crimes, you wanted me to create a female character of innocence and good will. Someone who worked for a leader she believed in with all her might. She then finds out he’s in fact a very bad man with very bad intent, using everyone’s perceive of goodness for his own ends. You described to me how it would break someone like that and how she would never be able to heal from it. She would never be able to find goodness again. She would be forever poisoned; goodness will be forever poisoned.
You knew exactly what you were doing to me and many others. And the loss and pain is incalculable. And the worse part, the truly sick part of this is, in that trauma, the desolation of my psyche, is your greatest joy.
As the founder of the Society Of Protectors, you told us constantly to man-up, to strip ourselves of everything, to find our true self. You told us on a daily basis how in the worst circumstances we can find joy.
Remember how you quoted Albert Camus, “In the midst of winter I found there was within me an invincible summer.”
And yet, here you are suffering about how miserable you’ve been in prison without your comforts. Your ideology was all false bravado and boastful lie. You made us believe we were constantly failing, a standard you were wholly incapable of meeting yourself. You just wanted to destabilize our psyches as much as possible so that in our growing psychosis you would be the savior watching us get worse and worse. Like poisoning us and watching us die slowly. Our happiness wasting away, that is your true joy.
You could have at least had the decency to admit what you wanted was so very primitive. How cruel to convince women that sex with you would heal their sex abuse trauma.
How childish and devious to use principle and honor as a cover for a teenage fantasy of getting a group of women to give you a blow job. How shallow are you?
Clearly, your joy does come from the external world after all. You were just seeking infantile comfort. It turns out, contrary to your lawyer’s assertions, you do need coercion to get sex.
You and your followers need to ask yourselves one important question, how did Keith Allen Raniere cause this. Stop being a victim. Stop suffering. The world’s reaction to your self-appointed omnipotence did not cause your present circumstances; your evil did.
You will never know true love. You have to calculate everything: Kindness, compassion, awe, morality, weeping at pure goodness.
While I will struggle for the rest of my life with what you’ve done to my mind and my soul, I can feel all those things you cannot. My morality is intrinsically mine. Your emptiness is yours forever and ever.
Your Honor, I spent 12 years studying this man. He has a belief that he’s the next evolution of humankind, beyond worldly ethics and morality, far superior to this Court. He thinks he breathes the rarefied air of an awakened genius, but he’s none of those things. He is a malicious, petty, evil and dangerously vengeful sociopath who thrills at our pain. And yet barely a glimmer of that excitement is visible on his blank face and his dormant eyes.
He has been a lascivious little toddler with too much power and zero accountability. He has stolen hundreds of years from all his victims and poisoned their existence, poisoned my existence. And he needs to be held accountable. Thank you for your time.