Court filing: Kathy Russell asks for contact with NXIVM members and keep it secret from Frank Parlato

Kathy Russell -she may become a famous ballerina yet. She just needs to get this nasty prison stuff behind her.

A letter filed with the court on Friday, September 14, 2018, seems to make clear where criminal defendant Kathy Russell stands. She stands by her Vanguard.

She also wants to see her friends in NXIVM – and maybe work for some of them.

Her attorney, Justine Harris, filed a letter with the Hon. Nicholas G. Garaufis, United States District Judge, Eastern District of New York, making the request.

Harris also mentions me – Frank Parlato – as a troublesome individual, who continuing exposure of all things NXIVM will require the Court to let Kathy keep her NXIVM friends secret.

Read the full letter here.

Here is a truncated version.

Dear Judge Garaufis:

We write on behalf of Kathy Russell to respectfully request that the Court rescind or modify the no-contact provision of her bond….

The no-contact provision provides that Ms. Russell “must avoid all contact” with “any current or former employees or independent contractors of or for NXIVM (including any and all affiliated entities) or with any individual who is currently or was formerly on the stripe path, subject to reasonable exceptions agreed upon by the parties.”…

It is estimated that the number of individuals that fall within this category ranges from several hundred to over a thousand. While the government has repeatedly asserted that no-contact provisions are routine in a RICO prosecution, here the scope of the no-contact provision bears no relation to the charged enterprise – the alleged “inner circle” of trusted advisors to Keith Raniere….  NXIVM is not itself charged as a criminal enterprise….  Yet the current no-contact provision prevents Ms. Russell from having contact with anyone who ever associated with the organization, including hundreds of people who have nothing to do with the allegations in the Indictment and whose only contact with the organization may have been enrollment in a series of courses.

While the government has consented to Ms. Russell communicating with the two sureties who signed a bond and posted cash security on her behalf … the broad and unlimited no-contact provision has effectively deprived Ms. Russell of her ability to see or talk to her close personal friends.

In 2002, Ms. Russell moved to Albany from Alaska to work for NXIVM. She has lived in Clifton Park ever since, and nearly all the relationships she has formed over the past 16 years have been with individuals affiliated with NXIVM. She is divorced, and her adult son lives out of state. In fact, she is in regular contact with only one family member – a sister who also does not live in New York. Thus, because Ms. Russell communicates only with two friends and one of her sisters, the no-contact provision has dramatically isolated her.

Simply put, during the most stressful and trying period of her life, Ms. Russell is alone most days and nights.

The no-contact provision has also effectively deprived Ms. Russell of her ability to work and earn a living. Ms. Russell has few economic resources. Prior to losing her job as a result of the bond conditions in this case, she was making $27 per hour.  She is barred from working at NXIVM, even though the company has asked that she consult with outside counsel and accountants to assist them in closing the books on several non-active entities and in complying with its tax obligations. She also cannot continue her freelance bookkeeping work, as almost all of her individual clients were at one time associated with NXIVM. Thus, if the current bond conditions remain in place, not only will Ms. Russell endure the trauma of this prosecution alone, she will go broke.

While Ms. Russell initially consented to the no-contact provision …. such consent was given with the expectation that she could subsequently request and obtain the government’s consent to have contact with close friends, despite their connection to NXIVM. However, after it became clear that the individuals who had come forward for Ms. Russell were subjected to unwanted media attention and heightened scrutiny from their employers and perhaps law enforcement, Ms. Russell now objects to any condition of release that requires her to identify the individuals with whom she wishes to have contact. Plainly, doing so will simply put those individuals on the FBI’s interview list, and earn them an entry on Frank Parlato’s blogs, Artvoice, andFrank Report.

… [I]t is unfair to place the burden on Ms. Russell to identify the individuals with whom she seeks to have contact, as well as to justify her need to associate with them

In light of the draconian impact of the no-contact provision and corresponding de-facto employment bar on Ms. Russell, and the fact that these conditions are unnecessary either to ensure her appearance in court or to protect the public, no particularized showing can be made to justify the broad restrictions currently in place. Ms. Russell has no ability or desire to control or manipulate potential witnesses, and there are no allegations that she directed or controlled any litigation on behalf of the company.

Indeed, the charges against Ms. Russell are extraordinarily limited: committing identity theft by providing a false identification document to an alien crossing the Canadian-US border in 2004 and conspiring to unlawfully access the email of an unidentified individual (“John Doe 1”) between 2006 and 2008. Given the discrete nature of the specific charges against Ms. Russell, as well as the fact that they allegedly took place more than ten years ago, there is no legal or factual basis to require Ms. Russell to justify her need to associate with a given individual when the government has failed to establish any legitimate interest in preventing such contact in the first place.

In short, as to Ms. Russell, the no-contact provision is punishing in its effect, both emotionally and economically. We therefore respectfully request that the Court either rescind the no-contact provision or require the government to identify the specific individuals with whom Ms. Russell should not have contact and proffer particularized evidence justifying the need for such restriction.


Editor’s notes: Karen Abney and [Name Redacted] are the two co-guarantors for Kathy Russell. It is not known if they used their own or Bronfman money as collateral. 

The letter says Kathy Russell makes $27 per hour. That seems high for her and for NXIVM – even though NXIVM would get most of it back in courses Kathy would be forced to take.  

I wonder if she recently got a raise, just prior to her arrest?  I love the fact that her attorney says she has been with NXIVM – and taking Executive Success Courses for 16 years and yet she is an hourly worker making but $27 per hour and “Ms. Russell has few economic resources.” In short, she is broke like everyone who took too many Executive Success Programs courses. It was designed that way by Keith Raniere.

The letter also says NXIVM wants her to help in closing the books on “several non-active entities.” Is “non-active entities” a NXIVM euphemism for ‘shell companies”?

Kathy well knows there was money collected for numerous shell companies at more than a dozen post office boxes, so she would be helpful in “closing out” these once very active “non-active” entities. She could also be helpful to the prosecution in identifying these companies and how the money was laundered.

As for the little swipe at me, I think this has the scent of a red herring. I suspect I am being used to try to broaden the scope of her contacts to everyone ever in NXIVM that the government does not specifically exclude.


Kathy’s lawyers argue the need because they fear I will publish the names of everyone she requests to have contact with – if those names are made public.  Kathy wants to be free to contact everyone who ever was in NXIVM unless the government excludes them – or, otherwise, she will be all alone. 

That last part is likely true.  She cut off her loving and distressed family long ago and she cut out everyone else who wasn’t in  NXIVM – to be in this destructive and exclusive cult.

She gave her life to NXIVM – at $27 per hour.

She is today – as it was always planned for her – a hapless fall girl – an aging, [and from the low-calorie diet] emaciated, balding, and a former harem member. She is now 60 and that too is scary, for women do not live long in NXIVM.  Once they hit their 60s – they run into health trouble in NXIVM. Think Barb Jeske, Pam Carfritz, and Nancy Salzman. 


Finally, by special request – a mention of Kathy’s ballet.

It’s true that Kathy has special reason to stand by her Vanguard. He has promised that she would become a top prima donna ballerina if she stuck with the Executive Success Programs long enough. She is now 60.

For years, she has been practicing in class and doing recitals with the Saratoga Ballet Company – a group of amateur ballet students from age 5 – to 16 years old. It was lovely to see Kathy appearing in recitals alongside a charming group of 12-year-old girls   – where parents – most of them younger than Kathy – would come to watch their little girls.

Kathy would leap in the air and do pirouettes and one could see that with just a few more years of practice – certainly not more than a decade – she would fulfill her ageless dream.

She was thoroughly enchanting in Sleeping Beauty. And there was not a dry eye in the hall when a 57-year-old Kathy, paying the forlorn princess who, on the day of her sixteenth year, pricks her finger on a spindle and seems to die.

A graceful fairy, who has not had a chance to bestow her gift, alters the evil fairies’ curse reducing it to a century old sleep. There were tears of joy in the eyes of every parent in the audience when Kathy, appearing as Sleeping Beauty, has her long-long sleep broken by the kiss of a handsome prince played by a 14-year-old boy.

Too bad someone could not kiss her in real life and wake her up from the sleepy stupor of the Vanguard.



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Frank Parlato


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  • “Ms. Russell now objects to any condition of release that requires her to identify the individuals with whom she wishes to have contact.”

    “HUMAN RICO SHEILD,” leaps to mind. Talk about “Draconian.” …Who “objects” to letting Russell identify whom she wishes to have contact with — when she’s supposedly so distressed, broke and lonely?

    All thanks to Frank Report and the FBI. “Red Herrings,” as Frank points out, is damn right!

    Couldn’t Kathy’s sister — I daresay she’s lucky to have one — presuming the sister’s not in NXIVM — go stay with her?

  • Must be all but impossible for what’s left of NXIVM to find anyone with Ms. Russell’s training and experience — in either “delicate” book balancing or dance — to fill her slippers and help “close NXIVM’s books” — at ANY pay rate — and at risk of having a judge & jury ultimately throw the book at him or her.

    Not to mention the job risk to Russell’s mental and physical well-being should she be “re-hired” by NXIVM.

    It’s believable that “Ms. Russell has no ability or desire to control or manipulate potential witnesses..” but it’s Ms. Russell, IMO, who needs protection from they who ARE able and DO have a demonstrable desire to control and manipulate Ms. Russell, who anyone that cares about her — or is honestly representing HER interests — oughta be concerned with.

    Kathy, it’s not easy for we more mature ladies to start over and find true friends, but you’d be surprised who might reach out to you when you’re ready to.


    • Its creepy how so many people are writing such nasty comments about a woman they dont know, and who has yet to be convicted of a crime.
      One might think that there are a bunch of alt-right trolls posting here.

  • This seems to open up a can of putrid worms – Her lawyer states “She is barred from working at NXIVM, even though the company has asked that she consult with outside counsel and accountants to assist them in closing the books on several non-active entities and in complying with its tax obligations.”

    Taxes? Closing books on non-active entities? More possibilities to do crimes for NXIVM? With outside counsel and accountants who do exactly what NXIVM members tell them. And need Kathy to shed light on how to do it right?

    Is Kathy actually trained as a bookkeeper, with credentials that others accept? Is there any possibility for a job for her in this field outside NXIVM?

    And for friends – maybe there are other dance and entertainment companies that she could work with – likely volunteer, but a way to meet people, stay busy and have fun. Pea has said she’s an agile, excellent dancer. 12 year olds are not the best friends for someone who is 60, especially a NXIVM member.

  • Oh no! Ms. Russell might have to make internet friends like other socially isolated commoners. Don’t worry Kathy, nowadays there are plenty if folks your age oine looking for friends to chat about hobbies, crafts, projects, events, nature … Oh wait, you only have one set oh interests: NXIVM “tech” and Keith’s little d. Might be hard to relate to your peers without actual hobbies! You could get a Netflix subscription and binge watch anything like other people who lack creativity. Try Dexter, I hear the protagonist is a lot like someone you know!

  • Kathy is an excellent ballerina. And there are roles for middle age dancers Kathy has a lithe body and she is very agile and very attractive and she can dance as well as the best.

  • “Thus, because Ms. Russell communicates only with two friends and one of her sisters, the no-contact provision has dramatically isolated her.”
    Her isolation is caused by NXIVM – not the courts. NXIVM intentionally tried to separate individuals from their families (and succeeded) as former members have described – including Catherine Oxenberg in her book.
    Hopefully Russell will wake up and reunite with her relatives before it’s too late.

  • While to most remotely intelligent people it might seem moronic to ask for something they already have, who can blame Kathy Russell’s lawyers for wanting to get involved in all the cha-chings going around ? They are just trying to use up their piece of the pie, and see if they can get more, too.
    I give props to the lawyer who quit. Most respectable of the bunch.

    • What follows is a little critical review of a small portion of the Frank Report. Call it a microcosm. My father always said that “Nature abhors a vacuum”, so call this my response to the absence of the oh so cutting edge (bad pun) “Knife of Aristotle” a/k/a “The Knife”.

      The subject of my inquiry is an article recently posted on Frank Report regarding Sara Bronfman deleting her Twitter account (and thanks to Frank Parlato for making the point that the true tragedy of the Bronfman sister’s involvement with NXIVM/Raniere is that all of the money which was given to NXIVM could conceivably have been donated to scientists and scholars who really could have made the world a healthier, more ethical place).

      A search of the “Sara Deletes” article reveals that there is not a single reference therein to Allison Mack. There are 58 comments to the article, 16 by Shadowstate (27%). Three of them mention Allison Mack, who was NOT mentioned in the article which the comments were appended to. So no matter what YOU might think of him, my opinion is that Shadowstate is still flat out, dangerously,* spittle coming out of the side of his mouth OBSESSED with Ms. Mack. there is a thin line between love and hate, and when it comes to Ms. Mack, Shadowstate stands on both sides of the line, and on the line itself.

      Before Shadowstate accuses me of being related to Ms. Mack, or some huge fan of Smallville, let me make clear that (a) I have never watched a single episode of Smallville (and do not plan to) and (b) I had never heard of Allison Mack until I began reading the Frank (much the way Shadowstate would never have heard of NXIVM/Raniere/ESP were it not for Allison Mack’s involvement with same).

      * I am not implying that Shadowstate poses any danger to Ms. Mack. Most of the wounds created by Shadowstate’s obsession are self inflicted.

      • What a waste of a math education.
        Before Ms. Mack rose to power NXIVM was just a typical self-help scam covering for a sex harem.
        It was run by Pam Cafritz, a bisexual pimp who was Raniere’s girl friend and managed the harem women without overt violence.
        As Cafritz slowly faded away from cancer, perhaps with a little help from other NXIVM members, Mack rose to power and brought with her a brutal regime of torture, blackmail and coercion topped off by brutal brandings of the slaves overseen by Pimp Mack herself.
        Women were paddled and forced to sign life time vows of Fidelity to Vanguard.
        And Ms. Mack worked overtime to collect blackmail to enforce those vows.

        And Ms. Mack committed all this mayhem under the cloak of “female empowerment.”

        Analysis of NXIVM in June 2017 when the first branding story was published would reveal that NXIVM was controlled by the Unholy Trinity of Keith, Clare and Allison.

        Allison Pimp Mack rose to power because she sold her soul to three devils.
        Keith Raniere
        Clare Bronfman and
        Sara Bronfman

        And in the process Allison Pimp Mack became a devil herself.

        Selling your soul to the devil is as old as the Bible itself.

        • “Before Ms. Mack rose to power NXIVM was just a typical self-help scam covering for a sex harem.
          It was run by Pam Cafritz, a bisexual pimp who was Raniere’s girl friend and managed the harem women without overt violence.”

          I would agree with that statement, with the exception of the all the brutal,vexatious litigation inflicted upon departing members during Pam’s tenure. That in and of itself is a form of violence, as is bankrupting people and interfering in their bankruptcies to add insult to injury. The victims’ letter to the Judge in response to Clare’s application for modification of release terms tells the story, as does Frank’s exhaustive list of lawsuits from a prior post.

          Had they not terrorized so many through the legal system, you might have been right. The collateral, starving, systematic sleep interruption, branding (disfigurement), and forced labor started later, I think.

  • No friends outside NXVIM, same as Clare’s attorney stated. they may as well just tell the court no friends outside the cult.

    • I thought the same thing. No other group of friends to play with? At all? I’ve worked at the same employer for 17 years. I have RARELY socialized with any of my co-workers. And I’ve liked 99% of them. But, I have other circles that I socialize with.

      Clare and Kathy have NO other friends outside NXVIM to provide social interaction?

      I think that it shows the power of the cult – stick with the group and the group only. All others get pushed aside.

  • What is it with these NXIVM zombies who have no outside the cult contacts?

    Guess they must be singing “I’ve got friends in low places”.

    It hard to feel sorry when these zombies have attacked so many ex-members who had to start life all over. NXIVM dragged them through the legal system only for them to come out the other side broke and broken themselves.

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.

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