There are some who think John Tighe was framed by Nxivm, whose expertise at hacking and planting viruses on computers was proven at trial against their founder, Keith Raniere.
Tighe was a blogger, based in Saratoga Springs, who began publishing stories about NXIVM – like a meeting on Necker Island – with photos. He showed up at Vanguard Week to take pictures. He published a list of properties NXIVM bought, a list of tax liens involving members of NXIVM, and a list of NXIVM coaches, which was a closely guarded secret. He exposed Rainbow Cultural Garden as an unlicensed daycare operation and an unlicensed school. He revealed that some of the nannies were in the U.S. illegally. He wrote about fake marriages NXIVM set up and other illegal immigration activities.
Curiously, local law enforcement chose to do nothing about it. Instead, they went after John.
On the early morning of October 23, 2013, John’s residence was raided by New York State Troopers led by Senior Investigator Rodger Kirsopp.
At the same time, troopers were raiding two other NXIVM critics’ homes: Toni Natalie and Joe O’Hara. Fifteen State Troopers conducted an early-morning raid in three different locations throughout New York State to seize the computers of three people who allegedly accessed NXIVM’s website. Tighe, Natalie and O’Hara did not steal anything. They did not destroy anything. They allegedly went on the password-protected website.
Several months after his computers were seized, Tighe was arrested. They “found” child porn on one of his computers, but never said which one. Shortly thereafter, John was charged – along with Natalie, O’Hara, and Barbara Bouchey – with illegally accessing NXIVM’s website.
Faced with a 20-year sentence – while trying to deal with a life-threatening medical issue – John took a plea deal that resulted in a 5-year term at a federal medical facility. John received excellent medical care while in federal custody. He was released from federal custody cancer-free.
Aside from the fact that there was never another computer trespass case investigated with this kind of manpower by the NYSP before, a few curious things came out of the matter. First, Kirsopp arranged to have John’s computers destroyed as soon as he had entered a guilty plea. How many other cases of possession of child pornography that have been investigated by the NYSP only involved only one downloaded e-file on one of the alleged perpetrator’s computers that was accessed only once? [It would seem logical that a perverted child porn viewer creates many files, downloads more than one, and accesses them more than once.] How many other cases of possession of child pornography that have been investigated by the NYSP involved no file-sharing by the alleged perpetrator?
Without further ado, let us hear it right from the words of John Tighe.
Blogging Dangerously: A Story of Betrayal, Survival and Homecoming.
My name is John Tighe. I was the creator, owner and main writer for the now-defunct blog Saratoga in Decline.
In October 2013, my home was raided by four State Troopers under the explicit direction of the Bronfman sisters of NXIVM fame. The raid was led by Rodger Kirsopp, a Senior Investigator for the New York State Police and a man I had considered a friend and an honest cop. But let’s begin with some background.
I am writing this now for two reasons. I am now a three-time cancer survivor with just some benign cysts left in my pancreas. I’m fine right now but if things follow their natural course, this four-part series will possibly be my testament.
Also: I was recently threatened by a steroid-fueled bodybuilder. I’m not sure if he was a self-appointed vigilante or a NXIVM goon but if things follow an unnatural course, this will still be my testament
I had been a lifelong Saratogian, homeowner and Democrat. I was appalled by the blatant corruption, runaway spending and gentrification in my beloved hometown. I tried working from the inside as a Democratic Committeeman but was primaried by my own party and voted off the committee. A friend was writing a blog called “Saratoga Dystopia”. I was a frequent contributor until he was shut down by a mysterious group called NXIVM. He had been writing disparaging stories about them and their operations in Saratoga.
This was alarming to me and so I began my own blog, Saratoga in Decline. I was a prolific writer. From Michele Riggi ripping down a 19th century home for a dog run to the then-Mayor being a card-carrying member of NXIVM, I wrote all the ugly truths. I was brutal but always honest. I soon came to realize that most people prefer to live in their own bubbles rather than hear the sometimes-disturbing truth. Seems Saratoga Springs is more than a quaint upstate town – it’s a brand. Many people make their living off that brand and don’t appreciate anyone who might tannish that carefully crafted image. That’s why I made enemies with my blog postings.
NXIVM began as a footnote to me. But after writing a few stories about them, all hell broke loose. I was haunted by Steve Coffey, their main attorney at the time – and my wife and I quickly became victims of “Cause Stalking”.
Our cars and homes were broken into. We were served with cease-and-desist letters. My car was driven off the road. A man was caught going through my bag and phone at Victoria Pool and when caught, began to masturbate in front of my wife. Before the peanut gallery chimes in, I went to multiple police agencies and was always told the same thing.
“Stop writing about NXIVM”.
My writing caught the attention of the anti-NXIVM forces. I was approached by Joe O’Hara and Toni Foley. At first, they thought I might be a NXIVM plant, and I had to convince them I was the real deal. With their encouragement, I went on the attack. I showed up at NXIVM events. I went to the County Clerk’s office – and did deep research. After finding numerous tax liens and mechanic’s liens on NXIVM-related individuals and NXIVM-related properties – and a variety of NXIVM-related lawsuits – it became clear to me that “Vanguard” was simply a con-man.
I published it all.
Documents, pictures, videos. I went toe-to-toe with NXIVM attorney Steve Coffey on Talk1300 radio. I taped those conversations and put them up on YouTube. You can still find my YouTube Channel today. More and more people reached out to me with NXIVM horror stories. I published them all. Giving a voice to the voiceless. Over and over, I was harassed and warned to stop. I showed up at V-Week only to be accused of trying to poison the drinking water at Silver Bay [I will come back to this later]. The police always sided with NXIVM. Telling me to stop my anti-NXIVM activities even though I was within my rights.
In addition to writing about NXIVM, I simultaneously continued to write about local issues in Saratoga Springs. I was slapped with a “No Trespassing Order” by the Saratoga Housing Authority for fighting for bed bug removal and fiscal transparency. Years went by. I made a lot more enemies.
In 2011, a mysterious figure called “The Rat” began to contact me. He wrote to me about a boy named “Fluffy” who, on Raniere’s orders, was forced to film the repeated rape of his little sister. She was about 15 at the time. He told me “Fluffy” was an unwilling accomplice in this production of Child Porn [I will also come back to this later]. I was told Fluffy was traumatized and a wreck – and that his young sister worshiped Raniere as a god.
I called Jim Odato at the Times Union and Joe O’Hara. Both gave me the name of their police contact, Rodger Kirsopp. I called him and brought my laptop to the State Police building in Clifton Park. I made a taped interview. I showed him the messages I had received from “The Rat” – and gave him the passwords to my website [All of this was on video]. He sold me a bill of goods about how he wanted Raniere worse than me. I trusted him. I showed him the death threats I was receiving [Also more on that later]. I felt better. I believed I finally had met a good cop. Someone I could trust.
As soon as I left, he called NXIVM attorney Steve Coffey to tell him “We have a problem”.
Of course, I knew none of this at the time. Kirsopp offered to have an unmarked NYSP car park in the parking lot at my home to protect my wife and me. I later learned he did that because he wanted to see who was coming by to feed me info. This entire time Rodger was working for NXIVM as documented by the Times Union.
But I didn’t know that then, so I continued to feed him info.
The summer of 2013 was very busy. Along with writing NXIVM stories, a young black man, Darryl Mount, was critically hurt while fleeing from the Saratoga Springs police on August 30th. The events surrounding the chase were hazy. But the injuries were not hazy – they were horrific. I began looking into the circumstances of the injuries. I became friends with his family. They were only asking for an independent inquiry. That seemed quite reasonable under the circumstances. The city refused to budge. I led the protest and I filmed speakers at City Council meetings. This was all before the BLM movement. Darryl Mount’s condition never improved, and he was in a coma. Fundraisers were held to help with his medical expenses. He was never able to tell his side of events.
At the same time all this was going on, a city election was being held in Saratoga Springs. I was told that the Democrat candidate for Mayor had ties to NXIVM. But I needed proof.
In late October 2013, I was running my ass off. I was able to confirm that the Campaign Manager of the Democrat running for Mayor was a NXIVM coach. That same night, I met the girlfriend of Darryl Mount in a traditional Black church in Saratoga. She met me accompanied by the Black Minister of the church. The SSPD’s justification for their chase of Darryl Mount was based on the premise that he had assaulted his girlfriend on Caroline Street. She disputed that and went on to say the police never spoke to her and later when she tried to figure out where Darryl was at the Police Station, they refused to tell her. I went home late to write that story while uploading the video of my meeting with Darryl Mount’s girlfriend to YouTube [You can still find it there]. I also began writing the story about the campaign manager of the Democrat candidate for Mayor and her ties to NXIVM. I eventually fell asleep at my computer.
Unfortunately, neither story would see the light of day. At 5:00 AM, Rodger Kirsopp and three other NYS troopers arrived with a search warrant – and both my wife and my life would never be the same again.
This is Part One of a four-part series.
I would like to thank Frank for letting me tell my story. Without Frank, NXIVM would still be operating today.