Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


NXIVM Witness: How Keith Raniere degraded a woman for daring to like another man

Dianne Lipson is out of the courtroom at the lunch break and called us with her impressions of the morning testimony. Daniela is still on direct testimony, still leading up to the time she became a prisoner in a room for a couple of years.

On the night of her big falling out with Keith, she felt that she was in the right. But as years went by, it wasn’t so clear anymore. Everyone around her was telling her she was bad. She thought it was something she needed to fix.

She thought of leaving many times, but she was always talked out of it. She was told you owe us, you can’t leave until you fix the damage you caused.

Daniela wanted to do the right thing but sometimes she just wanted to go back to Mexico. Even if she did want to leave, there were logistical issues. She was in the country illegally and had no money.


At some point Keith stopped writing to her, and things were taken away from her, even her documents. She couldn’t leave.

She had moments of clarity when she realized she needed to leave, but she was without a doubt unable to leave. She had no money. Zero. She had to ask for money to eat, had no way of making money. Her parents were talking to Keith. He was supervising who she would be talking to.

Prosecutor Penza pointed out Daniela had written emails saying she loved Keith, and even sexual things. Daniela said this was a sign of her confusion.

Daniela still idolized him and was extremely dependent on him. She had no friends and no reference points except for Keith. She knew she was expected to say what to in the emails.

After the falling out, she was expected to keep his library, would go when he wasn’t there. One day he came in and she pretended to be asleep. While she was pretending to be asleep, he pushed his genitals on her face.

Daniela continued to pretend to be sleeping, he pulled back and left.

She did not want any sexual interaction with him. Even though she communicated sexual interest in her emails — but she thought that was what was expected of her.

In his final email to her, he said he was going to keep helping her and gave her some suggestions. That was her only guidance.

Then there were pages and pages of email exchanges that dragged in court. They went back to 2007 and 2008. They described that Daniela had reality checks where she was supposed to report what she was doing every 15 minutes.

She had to watch her weight, and lost 20 pounds in 36 days at one time.

Her book reports for Keith continued. Daniela was weighing herself several times a day. It could be asked for at any time.

She was still not paid for the book reports and other work she was doing.

The gist of these many emails shown was that Keith was picking apart everything she said and everything she did. Nothing she did was right. She was failing to realize how destructive she’d been and how she was destroying everything. (And this all went back to her showing an interest in a guy, Ben, who was not Keith.)

At one point Keith asked her if Ben had touched her vagina, and was it over or under the clothes? She admitted yes, under her clothes. Keith asked, why didn’t you tell me that before? He was upset.

Do you know what you have destroyed? he asked.

There were many email chains, several messages in a day, of Daniela trying to fix her ethics breach, and never being good enough.

She was told that what she felt for Ben was pride and indulgence. Keith kept telling her she underestimated the damage she had done.

Keith asked her why she had left out the part about Ben touching her. How long did it last, and how many times, etc. He wanted more and more detail.

Daniela was being told by everyone that all Keith was trying to do was help.

Another thing she did was change Ben’s perception of Keith — so what she had done was becoming a bigger thing.

Ben is acting disrespectfully to Keith now, and it was another thing D was responsible for.

Keith is dissecting and disapproving everything Daniela says. Daniela still trusted Keith to be well-intended.

Keith stressed that she shouldn’t think that anything was being imposed on her.

And with that, Dianne is back into the court for the afternoon session. Looks like it will be direct testimony for the rest of the day.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 29, 2019 at 15:50

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects at The Underground Bunker. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email