At the sentencing hearing of Keith Alan Raniere, fifteen victims spoke. The eighth was Kristin Keeffe. She was with Raniere since the Consumers’ Buyline days in the 1990s. She lived in the same house with him for years, at 3 Flintlock Lane, along with Karen U, and Pamela Cafritz.
Kristin was part of his inner-inner circle, one of four women closest to him who contracted cancer – Karen, Pam, Kristin, and Barbara Jeske were the others. His longest-serving, most reliable inner-inner circle all got cancer. Two of them have died.
Kristin was the mother of his firstborn child, Gaelyn, now 14. She was the first of his inner-inner circle to leave him, in February 2014, leaving with their son. Barbara Jeske died of cancer in September 2014, leaving him several million dollars as her share of the company profits. Then, Pam Cafritz died of cancer in November 2016, leaving him $8 million of cash. Karen U., who was first to come to him, when she was 17, left him when he was arrested in 2018 – she was 57. She survived 40 years with Raniere.
At the sentencing hearing, Kristin seemed on the verge of tears during much of her speech. For years, she had been terrified of him. I know because when she fled Raniere with her child, she came to me to hide her.
Now, the tables were turned. He sat before her a prisoner, with no future ahead of him. Unlike the others who spoke, Kristin’s voice had no anger, no derision, no sarcasm. She may have been the only victim who did not ask the judge to sentence him to life in prison.
It was eloquent, and beautiful in its sadness, the expression of years of fear and pain, the pain of a mother, the fear of the man who was the father of her child. I heard Camila who told a terrible tale of sexual abuse starting when she was 15. I heard other women who told how Raniere wooed and promised to love them forever, then set out to destroy them.
Here was the mother of his child, a child he had not seen in seven years, born because he did not know the mother was pregnant, or he would have demanded she have an abortion. She was speaking to him for the last time. In the end, she revealed how he eschewed his last chance at making one decent human gesture. From out of the millions he inherited from the estate of Pam Cafritz, we learned he denied offering the mother and son a single dime in child support.
The victims who spoke before Kristin Keeffe.
By Kristin Keeffe
My history with NXIVM began when, in my late twenties, I was one of the original five students enrolled by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman. At first, I thought it was great and I loved it. Then Keith and Nancy [Salzman] introduced what they said was a revolutionary intellectual process for students to remove negative reactions to adverse stimuli in their lives. They called it Exploration of Meaning (EM).
What I did not know at the time, was the EM methodology was an extremely sensitive and psychologically invasive psychotherapeutic practice which Keith and Nancy developed by culling from various modes of psychotherapy and hypnosis.
As a child, I suffered a traumatic neck injury and an appendectomy that went horribly wrong. I was acutely ill thereafter for many years. As an adult, these experiences didn’t impact my life other than the occasional feeling of existential isolation. Upon starting EM “sessions” these childhood memories came up significantly as the foundation of all EM’s is the revisiting of painful childhood memories.
What I didn’t know was reliving a childhood trauma over and over again, hundreds of times over several years, with unlicensed, improperly experienced or educated therapists, such as Keith and Nancy could and would be so deeply damaging to every aspect of my life. As Dr. Noreen Tehrani, an occupational health and counseling psychologist specializing in post-traumatic stress, explains:
“If a trauma victim is debriefed in a state of high emotion, the process can increase the arousal to the point of overload, trapping the sensory impressions of the trauma in the brain.”
After starting EM sessions, I began to experience extreme anxiety alternating with feelings of depersonalization and derealization in my day to day living. I had night terrors and what seemed like overnight I developed a horrible eating disorder and gained a lot of weight. I had inexplicable chronic pain that grew worse and worse as days wore on.
I was experiencing symptoms of psychological abuse in the therapeutic context, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Making me live these childhood traumas over and over again with no relief was cruel and inhumane. It made me extremely vulnerable to predation by Keith, Nancy, and later Clare Bronfman.
Before that, I was an otherwise happy-go-lucky person. Hardworking, kindhearted. I didn’t have lofty goals. I was never very materialistic. I studied Buddhism; I meditated every day. I just wanted to do something good with my life and I was very trusting.
These monsters got their hooks into me and did everything they could to wreck my peace of mind and sense of self wellbeing. To make me their slave.
Keith is such a good liar and so manipulative and cunning. I couldn’t see what was happening to me. There’s no question many people benefited from NXIVM trainings and the EM process. Keith can help people when he wants to. That’s part of his cruelty. He does good things for a select few and then points to their successes as a way to cover for the torture of others. Especially women.
Keith singled me out as a target early on and I witnessed Keith target other women for torture too. Once he jokingly said instead of Executive Success Progams, Inc. the company should be called Shattered Souls, Inc. and laughed.
It took me many sorrowful years before I could see what was happening. With Clare and Nancy always looking to cement their power and status there was no amount of harm they weren’t willing to perpetuate or look the other way on for Keith. Always pointing to the latest wealthy person or actress or doctor who was giving NXIVM an endorsement.
“Look how successful they are. They love us. Look at the good results they’re getting! The problem is you,” they would say. Then behind my back, they would tell lies and disparage me throughout the community to cut me off at the knees so I couldn’t protest.
Your honor, you need to understand. Keith and Nancy, they were our therapists. We trusted them. And in that role, they had so much power over our lives. To the people who are supporting Keith now, I say this. “For every person who benefitted, how many were harmed? Have you asked yourselves that? Or is it just that you got what you wanted so screw anyone who didn’t?”
Your honor, I can’t possibly go through all the atrocities that were done to me or that I witnessed in 10 minutes, I’ve submitted a much lengthier statement describing my history and all the harm. I will touch on just a few more things now.
I was hired by Keith and Nancy to assist with NXIVM’s legal affairs. As part of my job I had to weigh at or below 128lbs, a size 2 in pants and there was always enormous pressure put on me to be in Keith’s good graces, which meant sex and 100% obedience to his every wish. Sometimes to shame me he would make me report how much I weighed publicly. What kind of employer does all that?
When Clare Bronfman joined NXIVM, she and Keith spent 11 years, 11 years, trying to prove her father Edgar Bronfman was behind an illegal conspiracy to destroy Keith and NXIVM and anyone close to him, including me.
Every problem Keith had, large or small it was always Edgar Bronfman’s fault somehow. For a long time, I couldn’t see this for what it was: a lie they told, a manipulation, to instill fear and control me. It infected every area of my life and all my decisions.
I watched Clare gift Keith tens of millions of dollars a year pretending she was making “Loans to cover expenses” or investments. When in fact Keith and Nancy were using Clare’s money to offset expenses so they could stockpile cash for themselves with Clare’s blessing.
At one point, Nancy showed me $2.5 million in cash in a safe in Nancy’s house “for Keith”. Money Keith never reported or filed tax returns on. The stockpiling of cash went on the whole time I was in NXIVM and they still have this money stashed somewhere.
Keith and Nancy make outrageous claims about the health benefits of Rational Inquiry and the EM process. NXIVM should have been shut down for this alone.
When I began to feel very sick myself, Keith and Nancy took turns telling me my symptoms were because;
- “I needed more EM’s”
- “I was a hypochondriac”,
- “I didn’t eat properly”,
- “I didn’t want to work my issues”,
- “It was all in my head”.
I almost died from a massive hemorrhage! I was pregnant with Keith’s baby and I had cancer and they were telling me my symptoms were all in my head. At one point, I literally had only minutes to live because I hadn’t gotten proper medical treatment. I was living with Keith, with all his degrees, and all his intelligence, you think he didn’t know I was sick?
Or Nancy? Of course, they knew. They wanted me to die.
When I didn’t die, they threatened me that “Mr. Bronfman and Keith’s enemies could harm my baby, so no one could know Keith was the father.”
I was so brainwashed into being terrified of Mr. Bronfman, I agreed to this. It was all a lie. One day, Nancy said to me, “Let’s face it, your son, Gaelyn, doesn’t have a father” so I wouldn’t pursue making Keith pay child support.
Imagine me, sitting in Nancy’s house where she had millions of dollars squirreled away for Keith, which I had seen, and she gaslit me into accepting it was OK for Keith to take zero responsibility personally or financially for Gaelyn.
While I was battling cancer no less.
Not long after, Clare ruthlessly followed suit. Even with all my compliance though, they were never satisfied.
At one point, Clare informed me, she would no longer pay me my full salary and instead take control of all my finances. I would have to ask her permission to buy food and household items, like a child. And God forbid I disagree.
One time I got in an argument with Keith about Clare and NXIVM’s continued litigating of Barbara Bouchey.
I said it was wrongful, and I was fired and shunned by the community. They put so much pressure on me to be submissive and never object to anything. Eventually, Clare threatened me into accepting my job back except at a much lower pay of $13,000 a year, no benefits. I couldn’t live on that, and she knew that, but I couldn’t say no, I was her prisoner.
For years, I subconsciously normalized this abuse which I understand now is a common trait of abuse victims. It’s a survival mechanism. It was hard for me to break free.
Finally, one day a thought broke through my mind, “What if this isn’t about me?” I reevaluated all my experiences objectively and I quietly investigated the companies. I discovered some degree of fraud happening at every level of the organization and I was horrified. Every level.
I thought, “This is a R.I.C.O. action waiting to happen.” I tried to be brave. This was 2014 before DOS was created. I went to the New York State Police barracks to report everything to an investigator I knew. I told him about the crimes that were happening, including Daniela’s imprisonment and the Canaprobe investigation. [Raniere, and Clare and Sara Bronfman retained Canaprobe, a Canadian private investigation company, to spy on enemies.]
I begged him [State Trooper, Rodger Kirsopp] to check on Adrian and Camilla to see if they were OK.
As I was giving my statement, NXIVM’s attorneys [Albany attorneys, O’Connell & Aronowitz] called the investigator and said, “We know Kristin is there.” He was spooked, and I panicked.
I could barely think straight. Keith and Clare must have bugged my computer or my phone and tracked me. There I was at the police, and they knew I might provide evidence of a real, indisputable, pattern of criminal activity. And I did. I said to the investigator, “I can’t ever go back there now.” He agreed. He said, “They’re like the mafia but worse.”
Gaelyn and I ran away and went into hiding. We had to abandon our small home and our beloved pets. I don’t even have any baby pictures of Gaelyn. Despite my best efforts, mysteriously, the State Police didn’t pursue their investigation into NXIVM. I never dreamed that would happen.
I underestimated Clare and the NXIVM attorneys’ corruptness and their willingness to lie to discredit me as a witness or intimidate the State Police Investigators or both.
Without State Police support, I was unprotected and powerless. This was a terrifying and extremely distressing time for me and hard on my son. But what else could I do? I would not let Gaelyn become a shattered soul, and I could not associate in any way with Keith’s criminal activity. Keith had tried to kill us once, I was afraid. We traveled to South Florida and managed to stay hidden for a year.
One night, I started receiving a barrage of frightening text messages from an unknown person stating they knew my real identity and threatening to expose me to Keith.
I felt like I was having a heart attack. I called several friends for help including a couple named Mike and Julie, who said, “Why don’t we come pick you up and get you out of there?”
I said, “Yes, please!”
My desire to run was strong. I couldn’t think straight. I told Gaelyn we were going on vacation and my friends picked us up. I quit my job and we abandoned our apartment.
Little did I know “Mike and Julie” were working for Clare Bronfman and were paid by Clare to infiltrate our life and cause us harm. Their colleague, Michelle, had sent me the threatening texts.
Clare paid the investigators over $400,000 plus attorneys’ fees to find me. Keith didn’t want Gaelyn. He and Clare just wanted to harm him and me in retaliation for going to the police.
I later learned that they hacked my bank account, medical records, IRS records, and all my online accounts – everything – to find us. They attempted to infiltrate Gaelyn’s school – and Clare filed false criminal charges against me, pretending I had stolen a computer containing NXIVM trade secrets.
Eventually, we managed to give Mike and Julie the slip, but I was never the same after that. I dared not have a phone, computer, car, health insurance, bank account, anything in my name which made our survival difficult.
I tried to continue to do the right thing and cold-called various attorneys specializing in mass tort litigation to represent NXIVM victims. I met Neil Glazer from Kohn Swift and after a year of educating him about the crimes of NXIVM, he agreed to represent NXIVM and DOS victims pro bono.
When the EDNY opened its investigation, I shared everything I knew up through two weeks before trial. If EDNY hadn’t stepped up, God knows what would have happened to Gaelyn and me. I will be forever grateful.
In March of this year, in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, I attempted to enter into a private settlement agreement for child support with Keith Raniere once and for all. With my underlying health conditions, COVID 19 would be a swift death sentence if I catch it. I and my son are worthy and deserving of child support from Keith and we were always worthy and deserving. I have been able to make a new life for my son but overcoming all the adversity I’ve faced has been hard.
I tried to settle this privately with Keith to avoid the pain of all this, coming here. As to be expected, despite six months of promises by Keith saying he would pay us child support, he’s made no attempt to pay. And because he and Clare and Nancy are still up to no good, committing tax evasion and lying about Keith’s stash of money, there’s little I can do about it but ask this Court for help.
I hope and pray Your Honor can see the totality of the damage Keith Raniere has wreaked on me and my son. I can never get back the 20 years of hell he subjected me to, and my mind and body are forever scarred. My son will never get back the years of his childhood spent in hiding because of Keith’s crimes. We and all of Keith’s victims deserve justice. Thank you.
THE COURT: Ms. Keeffe, are you represented by an attorney in these negotiations over child support?
MS. KEEFFE: Yes.
THE COURT: All right. And is he represented by an attorney?
MS. KEEFFE: Yes.
THE COURT: Who is the attorney you are represented by?
MS. KEEFFE: William Dreyer.
THE COURT: And who is the attorney that Mr. Raniere is represented by?
MR. AGNIFILO: He spoke to me, Judge. I had conversations with Mr. Dreyer. I can elaborate when I speak.
THE COURT: All right, if you would please.
MR. AGNIFILO: Yes.
THE COURT: Thank you very much, ma’am.
I can verify Kristin’s story, as fantastic as it may seem. When she fled Albany, she was initially helped by Trooper Kirsopp. He helped locate her and her son at several safe houses. Then it seems Kirsopp changed. He seemed coopted by Nxivm and their attorneys. Kristin fled the safe house with her son and came to me with nothing more than a single garbage bag of clothes. They hid at an apartment I own in the Florida Keys and stayed for more than a year, until Raniere found her.
Meantime, Trooper Kirsopp contacted me, trying to find out if Kristin had a laptop in her possession, which she did not. The used laptop, as described, would not be worth more than $200. But Raniere knew she might have taken her computer with her. The perjury loving Clare Bronfman swore out a criminal complaint, claiming its value was in the tens of thousands because of trade secret on the computer. Those claims made it more than the alleged petit larceny of a $200 computer. It was grand larceny, a felony. I told Trooper Kirsopp she did not have the laptop and he had no cause to arrest her.
He went away, but Keith didn’t. He hired private detectives to find her – telling them that he missed his son terribly and just wanted him found so he could get legal visitation. They found her. They were ready to serve the legal papers.
Instead of serving papers for visitation for his son, he fired the investigators and Clare hired a shady character named Michelle Gomez. Gomez employed two spies to go to the Keys and try to befriend Kristin. They approached her one day when she was in the backyard, which fronts a canal, paddling up in kayaks and started a conversation.
They became friends. Then slick Michelle started texting Kristin, pretending they were after me, not her. I still have the texts that Kristin forwarded to me. I was in New York. She ran to the spies who pretended to be her friend.
It is not clear what would have happened if she did not run away from the spies and flee to another state and hide there with others. Shortly after, she had to move again, and then again, always hiding until the day when Keith was arrested in Mexico. Only then could she and her son stop hiding – and live freely for the first time in their lives.