What did Keith Raniere mean when he said, “I’ve had people killed because of my beliefs” on an April 2009 video?
Nine Nxivm women, led by Barbara Bouchey, sought to speak to Keith Raniere about their concerns about the way he was running the company and, in particular, his method of teaching which included sexually mentoring students and female members of the company’s executive board.
Of the nine women who confronted him, Bouchey and Susan Dones were the highest-ranking Nxivm members. Bouchey had been one of Raniere’s girlfriends for years but had stopped the sexual component of their relationship, she has stated, about a year before the meeting. Dones was the operator of Nxivm’s first satellite center in Washington State. She never had a sexual encounter with Raniere and is a lesbian, married to another of the nine women, Kim Woolhouse.
All nine women met with Raniere and for three days, Bouchey and, at various times, the other eight women were involved in an in-depth discussion with Raniere, all videotaped on Dones’ camera to determine if they should quit Nxivm or remain.
The famous snippet where Raniere says, “I’ve had people killed because of my beliefs” was part of a much longer conversation – in apparent response to a challenge Bouchey made about his ability to lead the company.
Two recent posts by guest writers on Frank Report have offered opinions on the matter:
The nine women who confronted Raniere and ultimately chose to leave Nxivm – and who are often referred to as “The Nxivm-9” – are Bouchey, Dones, Woolhouse, Angela Ucci, Ellen Gibson, Nina Cowell, Jan Heim, Sheila Cote, and Kathy Ethier.
Based on the recent discussion on Frank Report, Dones, who made the original infamous clip available on YouTube back in 2010, has decided to weigh in.
She made a powerful victim impact statement at Raniere’s sentencing. The following is as gripping and appalling as her previous statements and perhaps paints a better picture of terror -and how it was possible for an intelligent woman to believe that his statement of having people killed could be taken quite literally.
By Susan Dones
What did Keith Raniere mean? We will never know. You only got a short version of the meeting, so you don’t have the full context of all three days of the meetings that Raniere allowed me to film with my camera.
A missing component to this short video that people do not understand is that we had informed Keith Raniere that the entire group of what has become the NXIVM 9 was done meeting with him, playing his games, and were resigning from NXIVM. It was the first thing that was told to him when the meeting started.
His attempts at any conversations that took place during this entire meeting were an attempt to get us to change our minds. He was going to lose his only Center on the West Coast [Dones’ Washington center], two of his top enrollers [Bouchey and Dones], and this was the first major exit of women from his company [which had started in 1998].
Nine women were about to walk out the door of his company and he failed after the first two days of meeting with us, to sink his claws into any of us to stay.
Why? Because there was power in our ranks as a group, and he could not send in his pack of wolves [his other women in his inner circle] to work us over, hold his power of manipulation of us individually, or threaten us with anything to get us to stay. He was pissed, but he knew he was on tape, the tape I would own, so what was he going to do, get up and kick the shit out of us like he has been known to do when alone with a woman?
It was going to cause big waves to happen, not only to Raniere’s ego but to his company. He had never experienced such a loss of control with so many people at one time. The next time this happened, he left the country for Mexico and hid in a closet when the police tracked him down.
You can speculate all you want about what his intentions behind his words mean. It doesn’t matter to me. You never had to deal with this evil man, had your house broken into, had death threats show up in weird places, had your car followed, have strange cars sit across your house for days, etc. You were not sued, had false charges brought against you in other countries, had your friends and family dragged through the court systems, watched those you once cared deeply for dying from cancer, hear of all the abortions, hear of a young girl being locked away in a room for doing nothing but wanting to be with another man, reading about five women he raped when they were underage and two that killed themselves, one whose body was never found and you knew her personally because you coached her first five days intensive.
No, you all get to sit at home, comfortable in your chairs, reading the Frank Report, not knowing the thrill this man got from torturing his victims, the hell he put people through, and the pack of wolves he got to do his torture for him. No, you got to be the spectators in the stands saying “No, that was a bad play, I would have run this pass option and would have gotten the touchdown pass for sure – and I would have won that Super Bowl”.
I’m not saying you’re not empathic for what some of us have been through; of course, you are. But you didn’t have to live through it. I’m glad you never had to experience the hell and torture we went through.
Had you, then maybe you would take his words of “I’ve had people killed because of my beliefs” a bit differently and why the hair on the back of my head stood up when he said that. He wasn’t the kind of gentle Vanguard people were sold. He is a monster who has not stopped at anything to get his jollies.
When the video was released, he tried to use the LeBarons’ deaths as an excuse for those who might have had questions. When asked about it in my deposition, I went home and did some research thinking that might have been why he said it. I found out it was a crock of shit. Unless Raniere looked into his crystal ball and knew the deaths were going to happen ahead of time, it was just a story he used as a cover-up for his flock.
He made the statement on the video in April of 2009 – and the sad deaths of Benjamin LeBaron and his brothers-in-law, Luis Widmar Stubbs happened in July 2009.
Trying to use their deaths to cover his ass is what Raniere does. He could use it because I released to a group of my friends asking them if something happened to me during NXIVM’s lawsuit against me, to show the video to the police, I knew I was going to expose things NXIVM was not going to be happy with. NXIVM had committed tax evasion in Washington State and I had the proof that had done that. I reported them, and I was going to expose that through the court system along with what Nancy Salzman had told me about the cash coming across the border from Mexico, not paying taxes on it, which only leaves money laundering.
Was this information going to end me up in a cornfield in Iowa? I had no idea. Was it a reason to fear for my life after a man has said he has had people killed for his beliefs? What does that even mean? Do his beliefs mean that his needs come before anyone else? I think we have proof that he is true about Keith Raniere. He is a narcissist.
Judge me if you need for being afraid. There was a plot to get us to Mexico to speak at an anti-cult conference. Mexico. No, no, no, I said, we will never be seen again.
Little did I know at the time how spot on I was. Later, we found out from Kristin Keeffe that she was told by Raniere that a bribe was made by Emiliano Salinas to a judge in Mexico for the arrest of Barbara, Toni, Kim, and myself. As soon as we stepped foot across the border of Mexico, we were going to be arrested on those charges, thrown into prison, and tortured (including raped) until we signed confessions saying we lied about everything we said about NXIVM. Then, we would be released, but not really, we would be killed.
Funny how in NXIVM’s legal case against me, several offers to drop the case against me were to sign a statement that I lied about everything I said about NXIVM, turn over my three-day video to them, and turn over my laptop.
Shortly after that, the NXIVM computer trespassing case happened. I wonder if they would have planted evidence on that laptop to have me arrested in that criminal case and the civil case had I folded and not stood and fought their seven attorneys?
Alex Betancourt also filed extortion charges against a small group of us in Mexico at Clare Bronfman’s request just a couple of years ago.
We still have no idea if any of these charges have been cleared up. One of us who has traveled internationally has been pulled aside by customs and asked about the charges in Mexico. I’ve traveled internationally twice since then and have worked with the EDNY FBI on my return date if I am to get pull-aside, to call someone from the FBI to work with customs.
Why is it that we are still dealing with this legal mess in Mexico? Why hasn’t Emiliano Salinas and Alex Betancourt – who say they have left NXIVM – not clearing up the legal charges they have falsely made against us? When all we did was to leave NXIVM and work to expose NXIVM for what it was?
This is part of the torture of Keith Raniere. Do you think that Alex, Emiliano, and Clare came up with these ideas on their own? No, no one did anything without Raniere’s permission – and things like this were always his idea of how to get back at people who got in his way of having everything he wanted.
No leave Raniere and speaks out against him in a negative way without his revenge.
The more I talked to people who had left before me, heard their stories of what Raniere had done to them, experiences my tortures while I was in and after I left, heard how much worse he became, I don’t put it past Keith Raniere to have people killed for his beliefs.
Think of all those dead babies never born, all the women he was slowly starving to death and you ask how did many get cancer?
Not enough food, sleep and so much stress, breeding grounds for cancer. Even Clare Bronfman is having health issues now with her liver.
Barbara Jeske used to say “if you’re going to dance with the devil, wear your asbestosis pants”. Kind of ironic if the dance with the devil doesn’t kill you, will the asbestosis?