Author’s Reminiscences #3: Raniere’s Harem

Young Raniere

A reader recently asked:

Q: A tool that Keith would have to control people is his harem.  With so many women under his total control, did he tell one or more of them to come on to you?  If he could get you into a relationship with one of his women, he could use her to get you to do things, and to spy on you.  If you were married but he could get you to stray, he would have blackmail material.

A: I was not married, so any blackmail that might have crossed his mind regarding adultery would not have been available to him.

As for the women, frankly, several of them told me many things about Keith that, I suspect, he did not want told.

This is always a problem with a man who keeps a harem. Women talk. One day they feel wonderfully well about their man, and the next day they feel slighted and jealous.

It is unavoidable when one man has 20 women.

When they feel slighted, you cannot stop their tongues no matter how you try.

What I observed was that the women in his harem, like harems everywhere, were not getting enough individual attention.

I noticed that his, figuratively speaking, eunuchs – the males in his group – were generally not fulfilling the work that eunuchs generally are obliged to do.  Most of them were not actually intelligent enough to entertain the women of Raniere’s harem.

Raniere did not, however, as far as I know, send any women of his harem to provide me with opportunities to be vulnerable.

I’d like to think that this was not his style.

He laughed when he heard I became friends with a woman who most in NXIVM considered a low-level member (someone Raniere would never consider for his harem).

And he quipped, laughing joyfully, “Oh, I hear Frank is dating —-.” And at least one woman in his harem burst out laughing.

Little did he know at the time, that that women of his harem was telling many not so funny stories about him to others.

She told some of these stories to me, and I asked her to try to address them directly to Raniere.  This she was afraid to do.

Frankly, there were so many women – many of them seemingly love-starved – and so few men – that it was not difficult to meet and spend quality time with any number of intelligent, attractive women who were not official members of Raniere’s harem.

Because Raniere liked his women young and slender, I observed that some of the women who had seen his ardor when they were younger were getting less or no opportunity to enjoy his amorous propensities.

They were his castaways.

Some of these remained faithful to the work, knowing that they would be bedded less and less, if at all.  But he had a hold on some of them.

Others left, or ignored him. Some had secret affairs.

One exception to the castaway syndrome seemed to be Pam Cafritz, the daughter of wealthy socialites, William and Buffy Cafritz.

She was on a generous allowance from her parents and did no discernible work.

She lived in the same townhouse with Raniere and Mariana Fernandez, a young Mexican beauty who at the time was living there illegally.

Although Pam was still attractive-  she had evidently never been a number #1 wife for Raniere – she was getting older and her main way of staying close – it seemed to me – was providing Raniere with a handsome allowance – I estimate she spent about $4,000 a week keeping this man who pretended to be a penniless monk – comfortable.

More importantly, she was the most eager to procure young nubile women for him. And did so.

I imagine she knew perfectly well when she encouraged young Rhiannon, a 12-year-old, to walk her dog and hang around Raniere that he was planning to bed her.

And she acted as a perfect angel to facilitate the romance between Keith and Mariana acting as an older wife does in securing the romantic and happy interludes for her husband with younger, more attractive wives, their only reward being able to watch – his happiness.

Mariana Fernandez lived with Raniere.

Her sister Camilia, a teenager, was infatuated with Raniere and he seemed to be clearly grooming her have sex with him.

While bedding one sister, and grooming another, Raniere imprisoned a third Fernandez sister, Daniela, in a room down the street.

The inner circle who knew about this felt that her imprisonment was necessary because Daniela was defiant about the work of computer hacking that Raniere wanted her to do.

While I did not know about the imprisonment at the time, I suspect the defiance may have had more to do with her not being willing to bed Raniere than an unwillingness to illegally hack other people’s computers.

My premise is that her sister, Marianna, was his favorite wife and for all Daniela knew, Mariana might have told her she was in a monogamous relationship with Raniere.

Daniela might have thought bedding Raniere would be betraying her sister.

So while Raniere needed to punish Daniela for defiance issues (she was an illegal immigrant and penniless so she could hardly leave) Raniere enjoyed his sister and numerous others.

At least one of which was the daughter of one of his students.

No wonder he slept all day.

Anyone would, who was so busy at night.

Another thing I noticed: Many of the women of his inner circle seemed to be haunted by the dread that Keith would not live long.

He would either be assassinated or perhaps die from taking on the karma of so many women.

I wasn’t certain whether this was something Raniere himself believed or whether it was an act he promoted to control the women.

But the women seemed sincerely concerned and would sometimes burst into tears thinking about Raniere being too pure for the world to live in it long.

At the end of the day, if this seems strange, warped or incongruous with the teachings of the Vanguard, I can only admit that that may be true.

For those who did not know he kept a harem and joined Nxivm thinking that the compassionate Raniere lived penniless and akin to a monk – and his only reward was to guide people upwards – it may seem shocking indeed.

But for anyone who has ever kept a harem or was a member of a harem or knew about how harems operate everywhere, the details I revealed are commonplace indeed and barely elicit surprise let alone censure.

The only issue that rises at all to the level of interest is not that Raniere deceived members of his harem, but rather that he operated a company run by his harem that pretended to their clients that Raniere was beyond such earthly pleasures.

About the author

Frank Parlato

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Rhiannon you deserved better
Rhiannon you deserved better
2 years ago

An adult male doesn’t ” bed” a 12 year old girl. He rapes her.

Sarah Sanderson
Sarah Sanderson
7 years ago

It’s no surprise that these dirty old cult leaders just trade in their older women for younger “models” while the older ones become their pimps. Most of these women are gullible and are either fooled into believing in some grand scheme that they think frauds like this Raniere guy are sincerely pushing but are actually just scamming others with, or they suffer self-esteem issues and so become dependent upon them. That’s why the human potential movement is such an opportunity for emotional manipulation because people who fall for these things are just looking for a way to solve their issues, and in order to do that, they have to expose them. This is particularly dangerous in an industry that isn’t scientifically evidenced or regulated.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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