James Odato – sued and suspended for his role in exposing NXIVM – apparently writing for Reuters

James Odato, the hard hitting investigative reporter formerly with the Albany Times Union, is evidently still in the news business – at least part time.

He contributes to Reuters news service – in Albany – although not as frequently as his following of readers might like.  Here is a link to some of his stories.

As readers know, Odato came out with a series of explosive stories about Keith Raniere culminating in a several-part series in early 2012 entitled “Secrets of NXIVM” which included the groundbreaking In Raniere’s Shadows which first exposed Raniere was allegedly a pedophile.

This series alone should have prompted a criminal investigation into the cult and its leader. Nothing happened – except Odato lost his job. Soon after the series was published, Odato, the Times Union, and several others were sued by NXIVM. One of the their leaders, Clare Bronfman, alleged he had entered into their password protected website to gather information about the cult.  Bronfman also tried to get him criminally indicted using her vast wealth to influence public officials.

The civil lawsuit was virulent and included a battery of high priced attorneys on both sides. Odato was suspended or resigned from his job at the Times Union. The case was ultimately dismissed after it was discovered that Bronfman had lied about the date she first discovered the alleged computer trespass – having sworn the date was later than she told the state police in the criminal complaint. By moving the date forward in the civil complaint under oath, Bronfman hoped to keep the civil lawsuit within the statute of limitations.  The hapless perjurer was caught, however, because sharp defense attorneys discovered Bronfman’s dual claims.

Her perjury in the computer trespass case mirrored what she did to me to both sue me civilly and file a complaint against me criminally. In the civil case, she said a certain contract never was entered into. Then, in the secrecy of the grand jury in the criminal case, she told the grand jury the exact opposite – that there was a contract. In both cases, she testified under oath and said exactly what was needed to help her case.  The problem was both can’t be true.

Similarly, in the criminal and civil computer trespass cases, she swore under oath whatever it was that would help her case – even if they were contradictory. As a Bronfman, she probably recognized that she was above the law – in Albany County at least (It’s always helpful to have a County District Attorney who will do anything for you).

Despite absolute evidence of her perjury in the computer trespass case, she was not charged. Instead, the judge merely dismissed her case. Bronfman probably spent millions on a case that was begun with her perjury and other than the loss of her money, she got no punishment. Odato, on the other hand, had his career nearly destroyed.

Odato’s work however was not in vain. He was certainly one of the pillars of the community of reporters who helped exposed the monstrous cult of NXIVM.  No one knows how many people were saved from joining the cult because of his work. It is believed by this writer that Kristin Kreuk may have left the cult, in part, because of the body of evidence Odato presented – especially in relation to Raniere’s propensity for statutory rape. This, of course, was on the heels of Raniere and Nancy Salzman encouraging Kreuk to recruit teen girls via a program called Girls By Design.

It should have been named Designed [by Raniere] to Get [Teen] Girls.


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Frank Parlato


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  • Regarding Odato, NXIVM and associates are hardly the only villains of the piece. You expect NXIVM to be the bad guy out to get Odato who’s writing uncomfortable truths they don’t want anyone to know, but you wouldn’t and shouldn’t expect that the ultimate bad guy to bring Odato down was the Albany Times Union itself – the newspaper that should have been standing up for freedom of the press and backing up their reporter, but did neither one. But it’s not like the Albany Times Union doesn’t have a history of doing this sort of thing. Anyone remember reporter Andrew Tilghman from the early 2000s and his stories on clergy sex abuse in the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese? Another Albany Times Union reporter who similarly took on a powerful organization, and ended up similarly gone.

  • Frank and Odato should get together and write the inevitable definitive book on Keith. They might as well recoup some of the losses they have both suffered at the hands of Bronfman, Rainiere & Co. Please do it guys

  • What Odato did was a Godsend to people negatively impacted by this cult. I can’t believe he was pushed out or fired due to award winning journalism of all things, part of a pillar of the US Constitution’s establishment of a free press! The unfair reach that Bronfman money has is shameful.

    – This, of course, was on the heels of Raniere and Nancy Salzman encouraging Kreuk to recruit teen girls via a program called Girls By Design.

    From what I have read on Kristin Kreuk, she had the idea of helping teen girls with a magazine prior to forming the “Girls By Design” (GbD) website due to her own personal history of having self-esteem issues. The financial investment a magazine required made it out of the question at least at the time and she settled on creating a website with her business partner. As far as I’m concerned, she was sincere in her intent and unaware any underhanded motivations of Raniere and company if they existed at the time, and the fact that she soon left after Odato’s article was published seems to support this fact. How could she know when GbD was started way back in 2007/2008, well before James Odato’s article was published? It’s possible she could have heard some rumors through the grapevine, but then they were rumors only. I personally know of fans on a few of her fan sites expressing their wariness of the cult label attached to NXIVM at the time, but I don’t think Kristin, her business partner, any of those fans, or even any of the participants in GbD were ever aware of Raniere’s sordid sexual history with teenage girls. I know of at least one participant in GbD stating that many of those whom she knew that partook in GbD activities knew about the Kristin and her business partner’s NXIVM association, but the latter never even mentioned or tried to recruit them into it, and even if they ever did try to recruit them, they found the whole idea kind of silly. It seems the participants were more skeptical of NXIVM and its “mission” than the founders.

    • It seems odd that some of Kreuk’s fan’s would think that something is up with nxivm and she did not.
      She was much closer than they were. I think she knows more than she letting on.

      • I don’t believe they thought anything was “up with NXIVM” like there was something nefarious about it, or that something creepy was going on. I just got the impression they thought that the whole idea was strange and silly.

        • Well, You have the “strange” part right. And strange can be creepy. Of the many years that she was involved, there is not a chance in Hell that Van Satan was not hitting that or desperately trying to. And She had to realize that. But She will not mention either. She just kept on recruiting others while knowing the same would happen to them.
          The Truth will Later come out. Her best defense will be to state that She was afraid of Care’s lawsuits. Or will it ?

          • – there is not a chance in Hell that Van Satan was not hitting that or desperately trying to.

            I wouldn’t know, and neither would you. You’re just presuming it ex post facto. Kristin had a boyfriend at the time who brought her into the cult who was in it until 2017 – Mark Hildreth. Kristin and Mark went their separate ways in late 2012 sometime after she left the cult. According to what Frank posted previously on this website, Mark had another girlfriend in 2017 and left NXIVM when Raniere tried to hit on her. So, putting these two pieces of information together, if we play devil’s advocate, it would appear that either 1) Mark didn’t care that Raniere tried to hook up with Kristin, or 2) That it didn’t happen because it would likely result in the same scenario as what got him to leave in 2017. To me 1) is more difficult to believe as 2) seems more concordant with reality. A lot of people consider Mark a beta male, but from what Frank has reported, how he reacted shows that this is not the case and he probably would’ve reacted more strongly since he was likely in a longer term relationship with Kristin at that time.

            Raniere’s modus operandi seems to be to separate the women first from their current significant others and then send his flying monkeys after them or hit on them. He wants to be the top dog or the alpha male. He did it with others including Allison who was also engaged at one point, but then broke off her engagement after she got more deeply involved in the cult. However, Kristin didn’t get more deeply involved in the cult. She left it and then soon after left Mark. Also, Kristin doesn’t seem to me like the person who would take being hit on like that and continue to recruit for NXIVM. She also didn’t seem to be as deeply involved in it as Allison or Nicki as she had a number of close friends outside of NXIVM.

            It appears she had someone watching out for her and that serendipity provided her an opportunity to quietly extricate herself without drama from the cult when she landed the lead BatB role soon after the James Odato TU article was published in 2012.

          • Did KR ever bed any non-white women? Sultan and a bunch of former teenage fans boys may lust after someone like Kruek but was she really Keith’s type or did he have a type other than skinny, skinny, skinny and female. I’ve seen conflicting articles on Kruek’s departure with one former member saying she left on good terms and another saying it was because of the sex rumors.

          • Lust? Lust is a term reserved for people like VanFraud, those who live a polyamorous lifestyle and engage in one night stands. And perhaps people who project their own desires onto others. Michelle Hatchette (sp?) is black and a DOS slave and VanFraud’s most recent baby mama is Mexican, so obviously he did lust after non-white women.

          • Sultanofsix is a Kruek Groupie. He chases her all over her twitter, instagram etc,etc, Don’t expect anything that resembles truth from him. Maybe his little woody will wilt when he finds out she was playing hide the wennie with Keith for six years

          • How would you know I chase her anywhere unless you’re chasing me or doing the same to her? Whoops.

            Also, the ability to discern or speak the truth isn’t conditional upon subjective preferences.

        • Actually, no they’re not. Natalie Portman, Dolph Lundgren, Mayim Bialik, Ken Leong, Edward Norton, and many more all have higher degrees, some of them from top Ivy League schools.

          They’re also smart because even with those higher degrees they’re making more money doing acting. Like Kristin Kreuk who doesn’t have a degree but is currently working on one. Kristin is a bookworm and intelligent too. She was just naive when she joined NXIVM and she only did so to help in her overcome her shyness which is personality trait. She’s acting and producing and also has enough money and time to do other things she wants. And she didn’t have to manipulate anyone to do it. That is intelligence.

          Even some current NXIVM members like Diane Lim have PhDs. A lack of intelligence is not what makes people join these groups.

  • Mr. Odato’
    I wish you well with Reuters, and I hope you will be able to write more about Nxivm for all to read as you have in the past.
    We are all hoping justice will prevail in these proceedings against this deranged cult.
    Thank You
    “Oh what a tangled web we weave”

  • Another good article! Thank you for posting this Frank.

    Again, Frank Parlato is one of the few people with the guts to expose the truth.

    And many thanks to James Odato for his integrity.

    • Too bad Frank didn’t have the guts to come forward back in 2012 or maybe he was just looking out for himself. He could have helped expose Raniere by writing about him in his own newspaper back then as well but chose to remain silent even though the Bronfmans had already filed a complaint against him in Feb. 2011 and on March 27, 2011 the Buffalo News wrote, the following:

      Parlato stopped short of criticizing the Bronfmans. He made it clear, however, that he’s prepared to take them on if they pursue a lawsuit against him.

      “I haven’t been served,” he said of the sisters. “There is no lawsuit. But if there is, I’ll give tit for tat with compound interest.”

        • Very easy now for one like your anonymous self to talk crap hiding behind Franks column, but before Clare and Keith were in up to their necks in do do they would and could sue you on a whim.
          Thanks Mr. Frank

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com