How Far Could Raniere Have Gone Before He Hit Tilt?

Keith Raniere w

I remember very clearly the first thought that went through my mind when I heard about the branding that was going on in DOS: “That’s game over for Raniere”.

I knew it wouldn’t happen right away – and I wasn’t exactly sure who would take him down – but I felt certain that Raniere’s days were numbered.

Given that no law enforcement agency in the Albany, NY area had ever taken on Raniere’s crime syndicate, I wondered if any of them would finally be forced into action by the sheer repulsiveness of the branding.

That answer turned out to be “No” – which is, in retrospect, unfuckingbelievable.

For a long while, I thought it would be the father, husband, brother or uncle of one of the branded women.

But that didn’t happen either.

Finally, the investigators and prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) stepped in – and restored my faith (at least temporarily) in our justice system.


“The way we make things meaningful is we hurt for them. We pain for them. And the strength of a community is how much effort that community will put against adversity in any of these things”  Keith Raniere

But, what if?

What if Raniere hadn’t decided that branding his initials on women’s pussies was a good idea?

What could he have done – how far could he have gone – and still avoided being prosecuted?

Was it the branding itself that caused his demise?

Or was it the branding and the location of the branding that did him in?

Or was it the trifecta – i.e., the branding, the location, and the fact it was his initials that were branded on the women – that led to his current predicament?

How much could Raniere have gotten away with before some part of our justice system rose up to stop him?


What if Raniere had decided to have the DOS women tattooed instead of branded?

Would there have been as much outrage about that?

Would that caused Moira Kim Penza and her colleagues in the EDNY to open up the investigation that could now result in Raniere spending the rest of his life in prison?

My sense is that tattooing would not have been a “tilt”.

While many people would still have been upset, had Sarah Edmondson been displaying a tattoo in that infamous picture of her in the New York Times, I do not think it would have had the same effect as the branding did.


What if Raniere had decided to have the women branded on a different area of their bodies?

Would an ass-branding have sparked the same outrage?

How about a boob-branding?

Or how about someplace innocuous like an arm?

This is a tough one to sort out…

My sense is that branding a breast would likely have had the same impact as branding a pussy.

But I’m less certain that an ass-branding would have been so repulsive.

And I think an arm-branding might not have resulted in any investigation whatsoever.


And what if the brand was something other than Raniere’s initials?

What if it was a peace symbol?

Or one the elemental symbols: fire, water, air, earth, and spirit?

What about a heart – or a cross?

Would those brands have been less objectionable?

Would Sarah Edmondson have even quit over one of those brands?

This is another tough question to sort out.

But something other than Raniere’s initials would likely have caused less of a visceral reaction – at least for me.


Keith Raniere being interviewed by Grace Park in a video for the Conversations with Keith Raniere. Park asked Raniere’s organization to remove the video after Frank Report broke the branding story. Surprisingly,  the videos were removed,

So, how far could Raniere have gone before he hit tilt?

I think he may have gotten away with women tattooing his initials – or some sort of symbol – anywhere on their bodies.

I think he may have gotten away with women being branded with some sort of symbol just about anywhere on their bodies (I think it’s still possible that any type of pussy branding would have resulted in some sort of investigation).

The only thing I’m really certain about is that having women branded on their pussies with his initials was definitely not the best idea that the “world’s smartest man” ever had.


I‘m looking forward to hearing what readers of the Frank Report have to say about this topic…

About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • Any real “good” person or “man” knows what has happened. In hind sight, should kindness and mercy rule, or should our constitution rule? Should a man sacrifice his own law? These women seem to have sacrificed their own bodies. And thank God they did. They have inspired freedom in the strangest way, have they not? Maybe our fore founders never thought that beautiful ladies would succumb to such a Pagan act and or cattle banding, in simplicity you are loved. Period.

  • I must admit at the point Toni Natalie and Frank Parlato reached out to me to help expose and bolster the branding news —clear back in the Spring of 2017 — I was so cynical about the corruption stronghold NXIVM has among power brokers in and well beyond the Empire State Capital — between the Bronfman billions, the PRI Mexican Cartel ties, compromised figures from within the DNC, to Hollywood Comicon starlets, to Hellery’s old NY Senate district seat occupied by another #metoo U.S. Presidential hopeful hypocrite with NX stains on her petticoats — Kristen Gillibrand — I didn’t think it would make a difference if Megan Markle had KAR’s monogram forcibly seared a foot wide across her clit while pregnant and she’d died during the procedure.

    I was still being hunted and harassed over a certain perception that I was among the Chief NX “enemies” or “suppresives,” and was also being set up in a bizarre NX scheme to criminalize me along with other outspoken critics.

    I thought saying “no” to Toni and Frank — at least staying off the record — was not only the wise thing to do given the apparent hopelessness of the mission to stop NX but might even make the harassment I was undergoing come to an end if I weren’t among any new group of suppressives to preoccupy them.

    I’m still a bit tentative that truth and justice will fully or anywhere close to prevail in this, frankly. A lot of the rot yet ferments in NDNY and Albany, NY and beyond and now we have to depend on them to prosecute the albeit stark child sexploitation evidence?

    We’ve, sadly, seen what comes of counting ones chickens before they’re hatched when we involved in the 2009 – 2012 effort to expose KAR’s pedophilia and NX’s other crimes, fell flat. Not to mention put a few innocent people in jail, etc.

    Since we’re playing magic “what if”…….

    What IF AUSA Mark Lesko had succumb to Avenatti’s (and Geragos’) alleged offer and swapped out for Clare’s freedom?

    What if NIKE attorneys hadn’t contacted or cooperated with the FBI and DOJ?

    What if FR were sued civilly by Avenatti, too, and shut down over some kiddie porn that popped up on Frank’s confiscated hard drive?

    It could, has, happened!

  • There ‘s a good chance this gang will stand trial more than once.
    With very good prospects of consecutive prison sentences.
    And I also believe that judge N. Garaufis will go quite far beyond
    the sentencing directive.
    Viva Executive Success!!!

  • I think he could have gotten away with branding, even in such an intimate spot, if it hadn’t been his initials. His monogram indicates ownership and turns the branded women into cattle to be used as the owner sees fit. To me, that seems like the true sticking point. It’s horrid that those women endured that, but given what was probably on the horizon for this escalating asshat, I’m grateful that was enough to finally wake up some authorities. There are already enough questionable deaths/disappearances associated with this group.

    And I am certain that brand is KAR’s monogram and his monogram only. The coincidence of it also being seen as AM’s initials probably really appealed to him since it could be used as a plausible deflection and denial. When he looked at his monogram on someone’s body, he saw his toy and no one else’s. ‘Scuse me while I go retch – he makes my skin crawl.

  • Very interesting question. It may also have been pivotal that DOS branded not just women, but pretty women, and pretty celebrity women in particular – plus wasn’t the mother of one of them, celebrity and nobility herself, Catherine Oxenberg, key in drawing attention that finally led to action?

    I’d initially taken the title to be asking the question, if Raniere had gotten away with the branding, what further escalation of abuses would finally have drawn the attention of the authorities? But that’s perhaps something to consider another time….

    • A major reason why people are paying attention to NXIVM is because they like to rub shoulders with celebrities, even if only indirectly and electronically on this website, and however minor a celebrity they may be. Why be concerned about millions of regular folks getting scammed by hundreds of other MLM scams when you can make anonymous comments about a handful of pampered semi-celebrities and rich b!tches?

      • There’s also, unfortunately, a lack of concern for the many “regular folks” caught up in high control groups or cults, particularly those in isolated communal living and work situations, who are being scammed and even abused by devious organizations like NXIVM that have figured out how to either bend the law to the breaking point, or to use their influence, power and wealth to get away with actually breaking it.

  • Guys some of you are missing the point of the article!!!!!!!!

    I’m glad so many of you actually answered Krclaviger’s one question he had for Frankreport visitors&commentors (Sarcasm).

    After all the hard thankless work Krclaviger has done……

    ………..I Think everyone can give him an intelligent answer to his question. We owe him that much at least.

  • The branded woman sacrificed themselves for the greater good. Thanks to their loyalty, at least one child will live life and with that one life, the whole course of the universe just may be a better place. It seems in this case the branding pen is mightier than the sword.

  • Did keith actually brand these woman him self? If this practicing doctor did the branding, was she breaking the law by doing so?

    • No. Point of fact, nys renewed her license {damn them Cuomo runs a cesspool is a cesspool unto himself}

      • Branding is not illegal in NYS. The Governor alone does not make and pass laws!
        Stop blaming one person for the evil known as Keith Raniere.
        cuomo has not been Governor for 30 years when this scum Keith started abusing children and women

  • I think that the branding became a symbol of unity in which it stands for justice at this point. These are clearly broken woman under hypnosis, brainwashed and let’s not forget starving half to death.

  • “For a long while, I thought it would be the father, husband, brother or uncle of one of the branded women.”

    I am kind of shocked nobody ever tried to put a bullet in Raniere’s head to be quite honest.

    Mr. Salzman would have been well within his moral rights as a father.

    • Mr. Salzman is smart enough to not spend the rest of his life in prison for doing something the authorities could and should of done a long time ago.

      • Anonymous,
        I was not knocking Mr. Salzman. God only knows the hell he endured watching his two little girls get corrupted by a little freak and his shit bag ex wife.
        I feel bad for him and mean no disrespect.

    • @NoisyMouse As if monograms cannot be brands! :-)) But I see you want, insist in fact, on being fundamentally technical here, NoisyMouse. I like your fervour! If I were you, I would not limit myself to shouting online. I’d reach for the axe and smash the stupid #U&K! Literally!

  • Krclaviger,

    Excellent observation, I had not entertained that thought until now.

    I have not read a single comment, none have been posted as of this posting…..

    I do not believe the American people or for that matter the world would ever have had the ‘visceral’ reaction that took place on Oct 17, 2017 had the branding not occurred.

    Every major news outlet in the world took the New York Times story and ran with it. The Department of Justice was forced to act.

    If the branding had not occurred, I seriously doubt this discussion would even be taking place. I believe strongly that you are correct. How are you not correct in your observation?

    I would love to read a dissenting viewpoint because I can not imagine one exists. You are right period the end.

    A sensationalist story sells and in this case caused an incredible amount of social outrage around the world. Raniere’s ego and sick proclivities brought him down.

    Thanks Krclaviger for the illuminating observation.

    A somewhat similar situation occurred during the Carter Administration in the 70’s when a heroine dealer appeared on the front cover of the New York Times magazine, ironically enough. Carter viewed the cover in disgust and immediately contacted the Department of Justice to take action. The heroin dealer is it going to prison.

    60 Minutes actually covered the after story.
    The dealer had a corrupted the local police force to the point only the federal government could take him down. Sound familiar?

  • I agree krclaviger,

    I also think the collateral and the types of collateral had made a difference since it added to an extortion type of situation from the DOS slaves. Women were fearful not to get the brand and more than ever to leave NXIVM after turning over collateral.

    I believe Raniere pushed and pushed to see how much he could get away with until the long arm of the law came in to stop him. He had no need or desire to stop until he was forced to stop.

    No one in NXIVM was going to stop him.

    No one at the Saratoga or Albany County DA office was going to stop him

    No one in the NDNY law enforcement was going to stop him.

    No one at the NY State Troopers was going to stop him. No one at the

    NY Attorney General’s office was going to stop him.

    No one at the NY State Tax office was going to stop him.

    No one at the NY State IRS was going to stop him

    No pissed parent was going to stop him

    No one has taken notice or talked about the fact that Raniere didn’t ask his male followers to get branded near their penis or turn over collateral to prove their devotion to him. It was all about women, and he wasn’t sexual with all of them. If men had come forward with claims of sexual abuse, branding, collateral, forced labor and confident – would any of the above offices do something sooner?

    If not branding, confinement, forced labor, tax evasion, money laundry, sex with underage girls and child pornography (among the other illegal things the Raniere criminal organization did), what is left? What else would he try to get away with?

      • Was the poisoned dog a test pilot for the future?
        Putting the dog in the freezer to look at it every day! What kind of an evil person does that?

        NDNY needs to make amends for their past failures. Start investigating the “suicides.”

  • I left a long time ago. There was the Sutton family tragedy, the suicide in Alaska, the woman being admitted to a psychiatric ward in NY, the Forbes magazine article, Rick Ross, Saratoga in Decline…

    The only way you could avoid it was if you had been tranced into believing that the independent third parties were lying and you followed the Nxium community advice “don’t read any media reviews”

    Plain and simple, Edgar and Omar only care about the money making machine Nxium will be for them without Keith! These people have NO ETHICS they don’t even have a clue what that word means!

    • “The only way you could avoid it was if you had been tranced into believing that the independent third parties were lying and you followed the Nxium community advice “don’t read any media reviews”

      But NXIVM members had to at least know of these articles. Did you leave before or after Keith Raniere was exposed as a rapist pedophile in the Times Union expose in 2012?

      • Before I saw early on there were many inconsistencies. I had heard about Keith’s many accomplishments including playing at concert pianist level. It was a big red flag when I heard him play the piano at the level of a middle school child taking piano lessons.

        I am friends with a famous pianist and I know the sound of an authentic concert level pianist!

        I assure you it is not Keith!

      • If someone follows the directions to not read any media reviews, how would they become aware the articles exist? They live in a non-information bubble. All MLM people are told the same thing. Plus, they are so busy doing their “thing,” there isn’t even enough time to become aware. I know this, I was in Amway and experienced it personally.

  • “Would Sarah Edmondson have even quit over one of those brands?”

    She stayed on another two months after being branded as she wasn’t offended. She did it all voluntarily, including holding down other dumb women to be branded and she happily filmed it too.

    Only when she learnt whose initials were scorched above her beaver did she get angry. Fuck all the real victims of NXIVM from years past right? Only when SHE was affected did she leave.

    She knew there would be lawsuits against her if she left in a dramatic way as she knew what NXIVM did to defectors. Something she didn’t care about. That’s why she went to the press and pretended to be the naive heroine.

    On the podcast she did, the interviewer said friends of Edmondson were unimpressed by her and said she went along with it all for the money. She was asked if she should give the money up and refused to say yes.

    • I said that when the story came out. Sarah Edmondson stayed in as long as she was not personally affected in a meaningful way. NXIVM was her employer and I bet she made some good money running one of the most successful franchises. And after years – at the point when she was personally affected – she came to the conclusion that all of NXIVM was a scam. All the things she worked on were lies. Did it really take a branding to convince her of that or was she closing her eyes as the paycheck was better than what she was making with her acting career? It is a shame that not one of the media companies asked her about that coincidence.

      But let us be fair here. She has been part of the problem for maybe something like 15 years and was very much the first and only cult member who came forward and put the truth out. No other member of NXIVM, SOP or DOS had the guts to make this move and put his or her face on the front page of the New York Times and say: ‘I have been fooled’.

      • It’s a common pattern that many dedicated members of high control groups or cults, don’t have their faith shaken enough to finally start to question things and get out, until they themselves experience something terribly wrong. Some are mostly unaware of things that are wrong and chalk up what they see that it, to the inevitable faults of organizations and human behavior; others fall into the ends-justify-the-means groupthink and rationalize away things as being eclipsed by the more important mission. Plus a few more sociopathic personalities may just take advantage of the situation as long as it benefits them.

        It’s also typically the case that the further away members are from the centers of power, the less of the abuse practices they experience or know about. I haven’t see good enough information to form a clear judgment of just what was going on with Edmondson, to tell to what extent she really hadn’t been aware of what was going on in Albany until she herself was branded there, and how much she was willfully blind.

        We also see from someone commenting here anonymously on this piece, that some in the groups, and perhaps many of those who have a bit of low-level involvement and move on, come to realize that things are wrong, notice the incongruities and hypocrisies, and leave. I think that tends to leave a hard core of the most credulous and gullible, though experts seem to warn against assuming that the people who get into these groups are all that different from the rest of us.

        • Scott, I doubt you don’t know the extended answer to your question. I say this is a teasing exercise from you! It’s too late to portray yourself as shallow. LOL

      • “She has been part of the problem for maybe something like 15 years and was very much the first and only cult member who came forward and put the truth out. No other member of NXIVM, SOP or DOS had the guts to make this move and put his or her face on the front page of the New York Times and say: ‘I have been fooled’.”

        Susan Dones, Barbara Bouchey, Toni Natalie, The NXIVM Nine, Joe O’Hara, victims of Raniere’s pedophilia…

  • He was escalating, as is common with sociopaths, IMO. Just look at Jim Jones. If someone told me KAR had committed murder, it would not shock me. Thank God for EDNY (Go, Brooklyn!). NDNY may now pick up the torch under new management. (Hey, they prosecuted John Tighe for child porn – why not Raniere?)

  • The elephant in the room for me is; what exactly were the circumstances of the three “suicides” Gina Hutchinson, Kristin Snyder and John Natali?

    What are the odds that one person would personally know three individuals who died from suicide within an approximate 5 year span?Coincidence, not likely. Perhaps this led to the “Suicide” module in the 16 day Intensive.

    My theory is that like Charlie Manson Keith ordered his harem to carry out his orders without ever soiling his hand. Perhaps this eventually led to the eventual untimely deaths of Pam and Barb Jeske?

    The very first night I met Keith I felt uncomfortable around him and my gut reaction was I don’t like this man.

    My gut tells me there is something rotten in these “suicides.” Someone knows the truth and needs to come forward. Gives these families the closure they need.

    Keith will likely be convicted and die in prison. Anyone with information please come forward!

    • Thank you, Anonymous. They can do so Anonymously if they wish through Frank Parlato and Frank Report or the EDNY or NDNY FBI and DOJ. Even small clues collectively help. For instance if anyone recognizes the handwriting on Gina’s death chart Frank published, can offer a writing sample of a similar hand? Such might help investigators, greatly. Thank you!

    • great point indeed especially in SUCH an esteemed SELF HELP grouping of enlightened entitled ….

  • The ancient Greeks believed that hubris or arrogance was the greatest sin.
    (in Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.

    A good education should impart in students not only a love of learning and knowledge but also the awareness that no matter how smart we are we are also supposed to be humble about all the facts we do not know.
    Raniere, for all of his boastful pride, is surprisingly ignorant.
    And his supporters, his enablers are also frighteningly ignorant and arrogant.
    Arrogance led Raniere and his minions to brand and enslave women.
    Sadly no one taught Raniere, Bronfman and Mack humility.

    Raniere thought that Bronfman millions could buy protection.
    And it did for a long time.
    Raniere and his friends did not count on the Federal government intervening.
    All that Raniere knows about the law he learned by watching the O. J. Simpson trial, the worst example of the American legal system in the last forty years.

    In ancient Rome they had a means of teaching victorious Generals humility in the celebration of their victories.
    As the General would ride in a chariot accepting the cheers of the crowd a slave would stand beside him saying, “Remember you are mortal.”
    In 2016 at V Week as Raniere was accepting the devotion of all his slaves, Allison Mack being the most fawning of them all, Raniere was at the peak of his power.
    Within 18 months Raniere ‘s empire had collapsed.
    Perhaps some of Raniere’s slaves should have stood beside him chanting, “Remember you are mortal.”

    In Ancient Rome, a slave would continuously whisper ‘Remember you are mortal’ in the ears of victorious generals as they were paraded through the streets after coming home, triumphant, from battle

    • In the news today:

      Webster’s just updated there list of synonyms for the word Verbose.

      Shadowstate1958 is now listed as a synonym for the word Verbose.

      Also in the News, Scott Johnson swears that if he reads one more article about Allison Mack by shadowstate his head will explode.

      • “Also in the News, Scott Johnson swears that if he reads one more article about Allison Mack by shadowstate his head will explode.”

        The perfect excuse for another article about Allison Mack.
        The world needs one less Amway salesman.

  • You know I heard about the branding and I thought it was horrendous, yet what did it for me was finding out that he had sex with many many women… all of them at a time while being his students… weren’t we all his students?? It’s the lies that did it for me.. it’s the abuse of power and lying beyond belief… I cannot fathom to understand how people like Edgar or Omar can still be in this thing supporting so many lies… Keith was sold to me like a Guru, like an honorable person or teacher that was “unified”. How does someone like Omar or Edgar or Marcelo justify all that lying and NXIVM going after his friends that left and tried to warn him and others..?? How???

    • I had a similar, but less dramatic experience, when I found out about the Amway Tool Scam and tried to tell our downline what was going on. It’s called the DREAM.

    • Omar, Edgar and Marcelo are still drinking the kool-aid and they want to make the money that comes with the kool-aid.

      You took the class on the toaster and the blender. They have to prove to themselves that choosing the blender was the right (oops, correct decision).

      My gut tells me it’s not just Omar, Edgar, and Marcelo that are working on NXIVM 2.0. There is a small group in Albany that is working alongside with them to fan the embers of the burnt ship so they can re-invent NXIVM 2.0.

      My guess (IMO) is it’s those who worked for Knife media, those who have not to contact or reached out to those who have left and worked to expose the truth. The ones who have remained so silents they still shun the freedom fighters.

      They would be the ones that have told their families they have left but haven’t taken the time to reach out to those who exposed the truth. They are waiting for the wings for the “cooling off of exposure” to re-brand and rebuild.

      The EM each other, they tech talk to each other, they hold each other to be “at cause” with one another. They still isolate with their group of friends even though during this time they might have moved home after the first couple of waves of arrest. They couldn’t get jobs in Albany. They are waiting in the wings for NXIVM 2.0. It will be called something very different.

      • “There is a small group in Albany that is working alongside with them to fan the embers of the burnt ship so they can re-invent NXIVM 2.0.
        My guess (IMO) is it’s those who worked for Knife media,”

        NXIVM is like a cockroach. It will prove surprisingly resilient.

          • I can assure you that government corruption in New York State will never change.

            Just google Nassau County government or police corruption in Long Island. Corruption is endemic throughout the state.

            The state is rife with corruption. There’s no way that Frank lived in New York state for so many years and does not realize that the corruption in the state is not ending. New York government is a cesspool from top to bottom on every level.

      • The Knife Media is gonzo. Rosa Laura Junco fled back to Mexico and Jens Erik Gould rented out his house last summer. Rapunzel aka Ivy Nevares was booted out of her condo and went south.

        It also appears Sara Bronfman’s mansion may be in pre-foreclosure status (it was also listed for sale last summer). Up until a few years ago, Sara had paid what was then the highest price for a residential home in Clifton Park.

      • Jim, I thought Omar was the lawyer and former member who had filed a class action law suit against Sara Bronfman. Here you claim he’s still a nxivm member. Is there another Omar, or am I missing something?

        • TO CONFUSED: the OMAR Jim Smith is referring too is OMAR Boone brother of Edgar Boone and spouse of Jimena Garza. Omar and Jimena actually hosted Keith and baby mama and son when Keith first fled to Mexico.IN fact, I believe it was said they moved out of their condo and in with Jimena’s sister Carola. The Kool-Aid runs thick thru their veins.

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