“CBS This Morning,” with Nikki Battiste, the same reporter that first interviewed the Nxivm 5, broke the story.
“I finally felt like I was ready. … And my name is Jessica Joan,” she told Battiste.
At Raniere’s trial, Joan was the last of his victims to testify. During its deliberations, the jury determined she was a victim of attempted sex trafficking by Raniere.
The circumstances of the crime arose from a so-called “seduction assignment” given by India Oxenberg and Allison Mack, as part of Joan’s membership in DOS, a master-slave women’s group that was secretly headed by Raniere.
“The assignment would be to seduce Keith and have him take a naked picture with me,” Joan told CBS.
According to a former DOS member, the assignment was for Jaye to approach and befriend a supposedly unaware Raniere, win his interest, and seduce him into taking a naked picture of her. Raniere would not appear in the photo. Joan was not required to have sex with Raniere, the DOS source said.
Joan refused to complete the assignment and quit the group.
By all accounts, Joan was happy with Nxivm and DOS up until the day she was given the seduction assignment.
She told CBS when she got the assignment, “The whole room started spinning… Everything just started crumbling… For me, it was literally my worst nightmare come to life — that I ended up joining a cult and that the leader behind it wanted to sleep with me.”
The prosecution’s argument that the assignment rose to the level of attempted sex trafficking was because Joan had been required to provide “collateral” – blackmail worthy material – to her DOS superior, India Oxenberg – and that her failure to perform the assignment risked having the damaging collateral released publicly.
India Oxenberg recruited Jessica Joan into DOS. Both women have left the group and repudiated Keith Raniere.
According to CBS, “Shortly after joining DOS, Joan said she was placed on a calorie restriction program that required her to eat only 500 calories a day.”
Frank Report asked a former DOS member about the requirement of 500 calories per day.
The former DOS member said, “She was not forced. She was not even monitored. There was no punishment if someone did not comply. Counting calories was a means of measuring commitment. There is no wiggle room. You either count them or not. It was a tool to use as a commitment where a woman can see whether she is succeeding or failing. A lot of women struggle with eating and overeating. It was a way of getting your power back about your struggles with food.
“There is this whole movement about intermittent fasting, to test your limits, to build willpower. It is seen as something strong. The 500 calorie diet was never meant to be a permanent diet. It was in support of a woman’s goal of getting to an ideal weight. Most people can afford to lose a few pounds and in the process of this dieting and calorie counting, you learn more about yourself and gain more self-control. Why is it not OK to experiment this way? Athletes go on extreme diets, develop strong will power and focus.”
On her way out of DOS, Joan collected some of the collateral of other slaves from a hard drive. It was leaked to Frank Report and handed over to law enforcement, first the NY State Attorney General and then the FBI.
Joan Thinks Raniere Got the Right Sentence and that Mack Deserves Max
Of Raniere’s 120 year sentence, Joan told CBS News, “He got exactly what he deserves.”
Joan also is angry with her “Grandmaster,” Allison Mack, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, and was originally charged with the attempted sex trafficking of Joan. Mack is awaiting sentencing. No date has been set.
Joan told CBS that she hopes Mack gets the maximum sentence possible, “so she can spend time thinking about her actions and all of the havoc and destruction that she’s caused for myself and many other people.”
Mack faces 40 years in prison if she receives the maximum sentence, though sentencing guidelines appear to suggest a range of 3 to 5 years. It is not known if Joan will make a victim statement at Mack’s sentencing.
Prosecutor Moira Penza said Joan’s testimony showed “her tremendous bravery.”
“I will always stand up for what’s right and no one can ever take my power away,” Joan said.
One of the issues certain to be raised on appeal was the use of first names only for some women and first and last names for other women and all men, by order of the judge, who permitted the prosecution to designate who was to be referred to by first names only.
The defense argues that this gave the jury a prejudicial view of who the judge and prosecutors agreed were victims.
Jessica Joan was the only one referred to by a nickname, Jaye.
Prior to the trial, this writer was asked by her attorney if I planned to identify Joan in my reporting, adding that if I did plan on identifying her, she might be unwilling to testify. I told the attorney that while I was under no obligation to not identify her, and that I felt that the first names for some and both names for others was troubling from a due process point of view, I was going to follow the court’s ruling and would not name her.
Obviously, her coming out on a podcast eliminates any further obligation to protect her identity.
Joan joins Sarah Edmondson, [book and docuseries], Mark Vicente, [docuseries and book in the works] India Oxenberg, [book and docuseries], and Toni Natalie [book] in advancing into the public sphere as Raniere victims.
I expect Camila, Nicole, Daniella and others to follow suit shortly.
‘Forced’ to Hand Over Collateral Not Accurate
Finally, in their report of Joan’s interview, CBS writes, “Joan claims she was forced to hand over compromising photos and videos in order to join the secret society.”
“Forced” is not the best word to use in this context. It is more accurate to say it was a “condition” of joining DOS.
A DOS member, in this case India, approached Joan and told her she was a member of a secret sorority and that, if Joan joined, it would be helpful for various reasons, such as improving her character, possible advancement in Nxivm, and increasing opportunities in life, and other benefits. If Joan wanted to learn more, she would be required [but not forced] to give compromising material [most often nude photos] as collateral to ensure she would not tell anyone about the secret society.
At this point, it was 100 percent voluntary. And perhaps many women would halt there with nude photos being a deal-breaker. However, if the woman, as Joan did, gave nude pics as collateral, then the DOS member would tell her about DOS, including that it was a master-slave organization, where she would be a slave to the woman who recruited her – for life.
At this point, perhaps many people would decide not to join. But for those who still wanted to join, they were not forced. They could join or not join. But if the woman chose to join – and voluntarily agreed to be a slave to another woman for life – she would be required [not forced] as a condition for joining to give additional collateral.
It was only afterward, when the slave already joined, that the demand for collateral seemed coercive, according to some DOS slaves who left DOS. A former DOS member said that while the women were not told that they would have to supply collateral on a monthly basis, it was not deceptive.
“They were not told that additional collateral would not be required or would be required. But they were told that they had to do everything they were told to do by their masters, which they agreed to do.” said the former DOS member.
Jessica Joan on IMDB Jessica Joan – IMDb
See Joan on youtube