CAPITAL REGION CULT NXIVM EXPOSED IN “THE PROGRAM” Inside The Mind Of Keith Raniere And The Rise And Fall Of NXIVM
Toni Natalie backs her white SUV down a long rural driveway, craning her neck to see, and then jams on the brakes. “Someone just stopped!” she says. “Did you see it?” For years, Natalie has been the target of NXIVM and its leader, her former boyfriend Keith Raniere AKA Vanguard, who—after their relationship ended—haunted her with lawsuits, surveillance and harassment. Even in federal custody, his shadow looms large. But now, for the first time, she’s the one on the hunt.
For years Natalie’s existence has been tied to Raniere’s but with his arrest on March, 2018 he is no longer in power. She’s only been living this new reality for a few months but it is clearly exciting, freeing, empowering.
After pulling into the driveway of the home of an unindicted member of NXIVM, she tries to make her way out unnoticed, but it appears she may have caught the resident returning home and spooked them. Natalie takes a breath, cracks a joke and then picks a new target.
On June 19 of this year, Raniere was convicted of seven charges, including sex trafficking, racketeering and forced labor conspiracy. His conviction followed a grueling trial featuring gruesome testimony about his abuse of young women and how he used his influence to have other women procure and trap them. Evidence and testimony presented in the trial only sured up allegations about the group’s harassment of former members. Raniere was so angered by Natalie’s efforts to expose the group that he used her in his teachings as the furthest one could fall out of his graces.
Natalie met Raniere in the ͐90s at a business seminar. Raniere, who had already gotten into legal trouble for running a pyramid scheme, was still presenting himself as the world’s smartest man and offering success training. He touted a triple major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as proof of his brilliance—something Natalie whimsically dimisses with a laugh. Federal prosecutors revealed in court that Raniere had middling grades.