One woman who dated NXIVM Founder Keith Raniere in the 90s is speaking out.
She calls his practices a “reign of terror” and hopes his victims can now start to find peace.
Toni Natalie lives in Rochester but 20 years ago she lead a different life here in the Capital Region, a life with Raniere.
“He was my boyfriend. I was his girlfriend. There wasn’t a harem of women around him.”
Natalie spoke with news10 ABC during a facetime interview on Tuesday. She says she met Raniere in the early 90’s, moved to Clifton Park with him in 1992, and they were living together soon after that.
She’s glad to finally see him facing charges.
“It’s surreal when you wait for something to happen for so long when it finally happens it takes a while to process.”
That’s because she saw Raniere begin to build the foundation of what would eventually become NXIVM when he met Nancy Salzman in 1997.
“Keith needed that admiration. He needed to be idolized. And that was not something he was going to get from me.”
Natalie says she went to several “sessions” with Salzman at that time before eventually leaving Raniere in 1997.
“The last time I saw Keith was in April of 1999 and the last thing he said to me was ‘I will see you dead or in jail.'”
Now, she’s optimistic NXIVM and his alleged practices will come to an end but wonders why it took two decades to get here.
“Why did this take so long? Because it should not have.”
Saying she understands how women could be manipulated by Raniere and his promises.
“When you don’t know what’s behind the curtain or you don’t know what’s going on, on the face of it, it looks pretty legitimate.”
Her hope for the future?
“Five years from now I’m not speaking with another reporter saying hey you know tell me your story. I want to be done telling my story. I want the end to come and his story to be told now.”
Natalie says many people have stayed quiet about Raniere and what’s alleged in court documents for fear of retribution.
For her, his arrest brings validation.
She says she believes there is much more to come.