I admit it; I have been obsessed with this NXIVM story. Not only because it is so bizarre and happening right here in the Capital Region, but also because I know someone in Keith Raniere’s “inner circle”. I have known her since we were kids, and I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. The teenager who slept over at my house, the woman I know and still keep in contact with juxtaposed with the activities of the women I have been reading about…it just doesn’t reconcile in my mind.
A few years ago, we reconnected on Facebook and caught up. We were supposed to get together for a fitness class, but for one reason or another I was never able to make it. Her photos show her traveling the world, smiling, living a peaceful, happy life. When her name surfaced in some of the reports about this sex slave inner circle of NXIVM, I was stunned. I asked her if she was okay, if there was anything I could do to help and she said she was fine, that people just misunderstood what this was all about and it was not what it seemed. But more and more has come out, and when Raniere was arrested on Sunday I texted her the next day. “Hey girl… everything ok?” I wrote. Her response was “All ok!” She wrote this, despite being one of the four women in Mexico with him during his arrest, despite chasing down his car being driven by Mexican law enforcement armed with automatic weapons just hours before I reached her. “All okay!”
No, nothing about this is ok. Search warrants have been executed at NXIVM member’s homes in the Capital Region and the one of the group’s offices. There is so much more to come in this story, and more arrests are expected.
We spoke with WGY Legal Analyst Paul Harding of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti about what’s likely to happen in the next dramatic chapter. LISTEN BELOW.
I’m scared for my friend, because history has shown us what happens to remaining cult members when the walls close in on their leader. Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate didn’t end well, and I’m hoping and praying this doesn’t follow that same pattern. -Kelly