Lawyer for NXIVM victims calls demands by Raniere loyalists 'extortionate'

The Albany Times-Union/February 4, 2022

By Robert Gavin

New York — Loyalists of imprisoned cult leader Keith Raniere are threatening to publicly identify 12 NXIVM victims anonymously suing the convicted sex trafficker in federal court unless they identify themselves first — a move the plaintiffs’ attorney likened to extortion.

“For those of you who are Jane and John Does watching this, this is your last opportunity to come forward and put your name to your claims,” NXIVM loyalist Michele Hatchette said in a video posted on  Instagram. “If you don’t, it is my moral obligation to name every single one of you. The clock starts now.”

The video was on the website for The Dossier Project, a group of eight women, including Hatchette, who admittedly belonged to Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), the secret Raniere-controlled group also known as "The Vow" that was at the root of his sex trafficking charges.

Hatchette's call to out the plaintiffs suing Raniere was backed by high-ranking DOS member Nicki Clyne and ex-doctor Danielle Roberts, another DOS member who branded women's groins with a symbol later revealed to be Raniere's initials.

"Women accusers who hide behind anonymity further the paternalistic idea that women need to be babied and are too weak to put their name to things," stated Clyne, a Canadian-born actress formerly of Halfmoon, who once had a role on the updated adaptation of the show Battlestar Gallactica. “Women in the NXIVM case have hidden behind their anonymity long enough. With equal privilege comes
equal responsibility. Time’s up!"

More than 70 plaintiffs are suing Raniere and other top members of NXIVM, his former personal growth organization based on New Karner Road in Colonie, in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. A dozen of the plaintiffs have asked to be identified anonymously as a "John Doe" or "Jane Doe," a request that was granted at Raniere's criminal trial in 2019.

Raniere, 61, formerly of Halfmoon, is serving 120 years in an Arizona federal prison on his convictions for sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering charges that included underlying acts of extortion, identity theft and possession of child pornography.

At his trial, Senior U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis allowed victims of witnesses who testified about their victimization by Raniere to testify under pseudonyms and were referred to as "Jane Doe."

Attorney Neil Glazer, who represents clients suing Raniere, Clyne and other top NXIVM members, is hoping that U.S. District Judge Eric Komitee allows the same anonymity to be permitted in the civil case if it reaches trial. He blasted the online efforts of the NXIVM loyalists.

"This extortionate demand is blatant retaliation, an attempt to harass, intimidate and further traumatize the plaintiffs seeking the protective order, as well as a brazen demonstration by a party to these proceedings of her utter contempt for the rule of law and the judicial process," Glazer said a letter to Komitee on Friday.

Glazer asked the judge to issue a "stern admonishment" to Clyne, who is representing herself in the lawsuit. He asked the judge to issue an order to prohibit direct or indirect disclosure by any defendant of the identities of plaintiffs who are being identified anonymously.

"No one has a legitimate interest in having the identities of sex crime victims revealed, especially in this manner threatened here. Harassment, intimidation and threats of this nature are traumatic, particularly for people who are already struggling to recover from related trauma," Glazer stated.

Raniere's victims in DOS joined what was billed as a women's empowerment group. Before joining, they were required to provide "collateral" in the form of naked photos or information about themselves or family members that would be devastating and not necessarily true. The information could then be used against them if they ever left DOS.

Once in the group, recruits learned that they were "slaves" who had taken lifetime vows of obedience to "masters."

Raniere commanded tiers of slaves who, under his orders, were forced to wear necklaces to symbolize collars, to exist on daily diets of 500 calories or less and, at times, given “assignments” to seduce Raniere.

In his letter to the judge, Glazer said members of The Dossier Project were "engaged in a public relations campaign" to portray Raniere and his disciples as victims of a corrupt system and to paint the victims as lacking credibility.

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