Frank Report published a story entitled “As Raniere Faces Grave Risk Being Known as a Child Molester in Prison, Did He Really Commit Statutory Rape?”
The stories of four women, Gina Hutchinson, Gina Melita, Rhiannon, and Camila, were discussed. All four purportedly had sex with Keith Raniere when they were under the age of consent.
Gina and Gina allegedly had sex with Raniere when they were 15 and he was 24. Rhiannon was allegedly 12 and Raniere was 30. Camila was 15 and Raniere was 45, allegedly.
One anonymous commenter wrote to say that we should not be too quick to judge him guilty of statutory rape.
Anonymous wrote, “I don’t know if Raniere raped those women. What I do know is I don’t trust sexual allegations because I have first-hand experience of women accusing men of rape that was not true. It’s a terrible thing that anyone is abused by someone, sexually or otherwise.
“However, what evidence is needed to prove this? I would hope physical evidence is needed. Otherwise, we are open to being put in prison with no proof other than another person’s testimony. It is unfortunate that guilty people will go free in a system that relies solely on physical evidence, but the alternative is locking up innocent people because of angry lovers’ untrue allegations.
“Too bad I can’t put my name to this, but in the wake of METOO overcompensation for abuse, I don’t trust the public to not burn me like a witch.”
Another commenters, “L,” whose identity I know and who was a girlfriend of Raniere’s decades ago, offers another insight into the allegations against him.
In a previous comment, “L” said she was told by a girl she knew that Raniere had sex with her when she was 15 and that he had sex with the girl on “L’s” bedthe day she moved out of the apartment that “L” and Raniere had shared together.
While responding to the anonymous commenter quoted above, “L” relates another story that references yet another underage girl.
So your assumption is that every one of those underage girls [Gins, Gina, Rhiannon, Camila] was lying?
As I stated, I personally know at least one underage girl who WAS raped by Keith. And he used the same deceit and manipulation on her that he had used to get me into his bed – details were slightly changed, but the basic lying storyline was the same. Only difference was that I was 18 when he first had sex with me, so it wasn’t illegal.
I also know of another underage girl (13 or 14 at the time) who was NOT raped by Keith because she came to me and told me about how he had been touching her inappropriately and making her feel uncomfortable.
I confronted Raniere over that and got back a lot of blaming the underage girl for being overdramatic.
He had given her a “leg massage” on her bare legs that basically got right up near her crotch. I told Raniere as a grown man he should recognize how inappropriate that was for him to behave that way with a young teen, and told him to stay the hell away from her. I was already on my way out the door of my intimate relationship with him, but that incident was also a nail in the coffin of any continued friendship with Raniere as well.
Let’s even give the benefit of the doubt to your “experience of women accusing men of rape that was not true”.
You think that’s enough to counter ALL the women who have related sexual abuse on Raniere’s part?
Just in the article Did He Really Commit Statutory Rape.. you have YEARS of these accusations. He is no innocent person locked up “because of angry lovers’ untrue allegations”. He is a serial rapist. You can doubt it all you want – I know it’s true. So does Heidi, and Gina, and Rhiannon, and every other woman he has abused sexually.
Should he have been charged with and convicted of rape? Probably. But since they didn’t have the kind of direct physical evidence that you seem to demand (what would you prefer – DNA, semen, pubic hairs, eyewitnesses?), they charged him with the other illegal things he did, and a jury of his peers looked at the evidence they had and found him guilty.
Raniere has mentioned he is trying to get Alan Dershowitz to help him with his case. It might be good to hear some of the views of the famed attorney and how it might be similar to Raniere’s views.
According to a story in the New Yorker, “Dershowitz has written frequently that defending the rights of the accused in rape cases is a crucial application of the presumption of innocence.”
In his book “Contrary to Popular Opinion,” he wrote, “It is precisely because rape is so serious a crime that falsely accusing someone of rape should be regarded as an extremely serious crime as well. Imagine yourself or a ‘loved one’ being falsely accused of raping a woman!”
According to the New Yorker story, “In a 1997 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, he argued against statutory-rape laws, writing, ‘There must be criminal sanctions against sex with very young children, but it is doubtful whether such sanctions should apply to teenagers above the age of puberty, since voluntary sex is so common in their age group.’ He suggested that fifteen was a reasonable age of consent, no matter how old the partner was.”
In a 1985 article, written at the same time Raniere was purportedly committing statutory rape with the two Ginas, and possibly others, and stroking the legs of a 13-year-old girl, Dershowitz wrote an op-ed for the LA Times.
He wrote, “Perhaps because so few guilty defendants are prosecuted, when a rape suspect is brought to trial the ‘need’ to convict him sometimes seems to outweigh the obligation to ensure that justice is done. The rules of evidence have been changed to make it easier to convict defendants of rape and harder to cross-examine alleged rape victims. This is understandable, inasmuch as one reason so few rapes are prosecuted is the trauma to which a complaining witness is often subjected at trial. However, these legal changes have not been without substantial costs: Each change makes it both easier to convict the guilty rapist and more difficult to acquit the innocent.
“For example, it used to be the law that before a defendant could be convicted of rape the victim’s story had to be ‘corroborated.’ This meant that the accuser’s story alone wouldn’t be enough. The law was changed to permit conviction on the basis of the victim’s word alone. In general, that has been a positive change, since it no longer places alleged rape victims in the unique category of being distrusted without “real” proof. However, it also makes it somewhat easier for a woman to lie and make up the entire story.
“The law used to say that the defendant’s lawyer could cross-examine the alleged victim by asking her about her ‘prior sexual history.’ This invasion of privacy not only deterred many victims from bringing rapists to trial but also led some jurors to disbelieve that a woman who had been sexually active–‘promiscuous,’ as some put it–could be raped. Now, the defense attorney may not cross-examine the complaining witness about her prior sexual activity unless it is specifically relevant to the issues in the case.
“Some newspapers used to publish the names of both the alleged rapist and the alleged victim before the trial. Now many newspapers no longer publish the names of the alleged victims, on the grounds that it would be unduly embarrassing to them. This presumes the conclusion sought to be reached at the trial: that the alleged victim was in fact raped by the defendant. It also denies the defendant the opportunity to obtain relevant negative information about the complaining witness–for example, a prior history of false accusations.
“It used to be common for judges to be uniquely insensitive to complaining witnesses in rape cases. Now, as a result of court-watching programs by anti-rape groups, some judges seem fearful of making legal rulings in favor of rape defendants.
“These and other changes reflect a healthy realization that more must be done to prevent and combat the scourge of rape in our society–but they also reflect a diminishing concern for the defendant, who may have been falsely accused.
“As one civil-liberties lawyer, who is concerned about the sometimes vigilante attitude toward accused rapists, puts it: ‘Some people regard rape as so heinous an offense that they would not even regard innocence as a defense.’ …
“[I]njustice is a two-way street: It’s unjust for a guilty rapist to go free, and it’s also unjust for an innocent defendant to be wrongly convicted. Our legal system must strike a balance to ensure that in our understandable ardor to convict the guilty we do not sacrifice the rights of the innocent, even–perhaps especially–when they are charged with horrible crimes such as rape.”
But is there injustice with Raniere as regards statutory rape? Or did he commit it for years without ever being charged?
As ‘L” said, it seems hard to believe that all these women are lying. Especially since the women do not know each other. Yet, they all tell a similar story.
I do not buy the story that a conspiracy was hatched to destroy his reputation, something he reportedly said to debunk Rhiannon, and the two Gina stories, when they were reported in the Albany Times Union in 2012.
Rhiannon was willing to testify at his 2019 trial under penalty of perjury. She signed a police report back in the 1990s. This debunks Raniere’s theory that the Times Union paid Rhiannon in 2012 to make up the story.
The fact is over the years he likely had sex with females under the age of consent and likely does not believe it’s wrong. That said, he was not charged with statutory rape and, consequently, he is presumed innocent.
It is doubtful that he will ever be charged with statutory rape, as the cases are old; some, if not all, are time-barred.
I have considered the possibility that the Rhiannon case, however, is not time-barred because it would likely be rape in the first degree which in New York has no statute of limitations. However, it occurred 30 years ago and might be hard to prove and to what end? He is already serving a 120 year sentence.
Raniere’s greatest concern, it appears, is that the prison population looks down on child molesters. Raniere was not exactly convicted for being a child molester. He was convicted of racketeering and there were predicate acts of possession of child porn and sexual exploitation of a minor.
However, it will not be easy for him to explain that to inmates and he will likely be categorized as a “Chomo” or child molester, despite his claims that he did not have sex with Camila when she was 15, and that the photos of Camila were tampered with by the FBI.
According to a source familiar with Dershowitz’s fee structures, Raniere would have to tender to the famed lawyer a six figure retainer in order for him to review the case. To handle the appeal would be in excess of $1 million. Dershowitz track record on successful appeals is high, according to one source familiar with the attorney, with a better than 50 percent track record in recent years.
It is unclear if Raniere has access to this kind of money, with his faithful heiress Clare Bronfman in prison with most of her finances in trust. His other financier, Sara Bronfman, is living in Portugal and it is not known if she still is willing to support her Vanguard.
The most important concern for the moment is that Raniere be placed in a prison facility where he will be protected from inmates who would abuse and possibly kill him. The most suitable facilities for his safety appear to be a facility with a drop-out yard, where prisoners are protected by keeping high risk inmates together, with special protections in place, or a prison with a high percentage of sex offenders where he will not be singled out as a Chomo, since there are so many Chomos.
Allenwood, Tucson, Fort Devens or where he is now, the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, seem the safest prisons for him. The least safe would be any of the maximum security penitentiaries where he would either have to be in protective custody [solitary] all the time or amid the general population where he would either have to pay for protection with money or through sexual services or being abused or possibly killed.
Of course, the BOP can assign him to the cruel and inhuman Supermax in Florence, Colorado, which would also be safe.
At the Supermax, prisoners spend the first three years in solitary confinement, in a 7 x 12 cell, confined 23 hours per day, with one hour out, five times per week, in a slightly larger, concrete room for exercise. Meals are served between double doors so that the prisoner does not speak to guards. Total isolation and loneliness, inside a very small cell. Year after year. No visits, one phone call per month. No company. No talking to anyone. No entertainment. Just rotting and dying, and for many losing their minds.
Now some – those of a savage bent – will no doubt have joy at this prospect, saying this is fair punishment since it is similar to what he did to Daniela. But we know deep down that this is inhuman treatment.
The electrocutioner argued passionately before his son about how necessary the electric chair was to deter crime and protect society and they who must die had all done things to deserve it. His son was unconvinced and suggested that his father enjoyed pulling the switch.
“Enjoy it? That was the question my son asked me. That is what he asked, as if I didn’t have the same feelings deep down that we all have. Enjoy it?
“My God, how could anyone not enjoy it?”