Superb ‘Curtain Raiser’ by Albany Times Union – ‘Raniere Stands Alone’

Keith Raniere stands alone on the front page of the Albany Times Union on Sunday May 5, 2019.

One of the best and most comprehensive of many ‘curtain raisers’ on the upcoming Nxivm trial was published today in the Albany Times Union.  Written by Brendan Lyons, the story is entitled “Raniere Stands Alone”.

And, in fact, he does stand alone.  The man who used women as his shield, as his marks and dupes, who made them into his adoring followers, and semi-starved and branded sex slaves, has now found that they have abandoned him. He is the sole defendant facing trial in the case – a case that once had six defendants – him and five women.

All five women took plea deals. Some, if not all of them, will be testifying against him.

This great thinker, who claimed he was one of the top three problem solvers in the world, put title and ownership papers to everything he controlled in other’s names – mostly women – in order, as he often told his inner circle women, to avoid a persecuting and jealous government that was trying to stop his greatness by any means possible.

This, in the end, did not stop that government from seeing through his ruse – and rightfully putting the blame squarely on him. He faces life in prison if convicted on all counts.

His codefendants all face considerably less prison time.

Sentencing guideline for them are:

Nancy Salzman: 33-41 months.

Kathy Russell: 6-12 months.

Clare Bronfman:  21-27 months

Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman face 36-60 months but since both are expected to testify against Raniere and have signed cooperation agreements, they may see significantly less time.

[It is ironic that the wealthy female leader of Nxivm, the odious and brutal Clare Bronfman was able to purchase enough ‘justice’ from the Department of Justice that she faces a far lighter sentence than her co-conspirators.]

Brendan Lyons

The Times Union tells the story well and from the point of view of a reporter, Brendan J. Lyons, who knows the topic thoroughly.   Lyons joined the Times Union in 1998 [the same year Nxivm started] as a crime reporter – and was later assigned to the investigations team. He became editor of the investigations team in 2013 and joined the Capitol Bureau in 2017.

The Times Union, by the way, is not a Johnny-Come-Lately on the Nxivm scene. They have been reporting on Raniere and Nxivm since at least 2003. More than any other publication, Nxivm’s hometown newspaper served the function of informing the public about their local cult, alerting the public, consistently reporting on curious and dangerous elements of the group that fleeced heiresses, sued defectors, conducted human fright experiments, and branded and blackmailed women – and whose leader raped girls.

If law enforcement official in the Capital Region were lax, either out of stupidity, ineptitude or corruption, the Times Union is unimpeachable. They had Raniere’s number for more than 15 years.

In 2012, NXIVM’s activities were revealed in an award-winning Times Union series. “The stories exposed Raniere’s alleged sexual abuse of young girls, cited an expert who called NXIVM an ‘extreme cult,’ and detailed how the organization used Bronfman’s money and high-paid attorneys to punish its critics with relentless litigation,” according to the Times Union’s summary of the series.

Now Raniere heads to trial tomorrow [final jury selection] and the Times Union offers him a hefty tribute, in the best manner a newspaper can – giving him front page placement – and perhaps 100 column inches of copy.

Read their latest story online and all their stories over the years – and I think you will agree they served the truest function of a local newspaper by exposing this monstrous evil called Nxivm.

Their contribution is incalculable and the number of lives they saved – people who read about Nxivm and ran the other way – might be measured in the thousands. Who knows that, but for the Times Union’s coverage over the years, Raniere might have grown his organization in the Albany area tenfold or better.

He certainly wanted to – and often lamented that the Times Union was his enemy. I was hired, in fact, in 2007 to try to improve relations with the newspaper, something I agreed to do. provided Raniere would be transparent with the reporters there, particularly Jim Odato.  I was fired before I could get the opportunity to test Raniere’s stated willingness to be honest with the media.

He did not speak to the media for some 14 years.

All of us who care about the ultimate demise of Nxivm, and the sequestering of Keith Alan Raniere to a place [a cage] where he can no longer prey on people, owe a great debt of gratitude to the Albany Times Union, to its reporters Dennis Yusko, James Odato, Jennifer Gish, Brendon Lyons and, most recently, Robert Gavin, who will be, I understand, covering the trial in Brooklyn for the Times Union, and its editor, Rex Smith, and publisher, George Randolph Hearst III.

Here are a few excerpts from today’s article:

[T]here has been no plea offer for the 58-year-old Raniere, according to a person close to the case. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted on the sex-trafficking charges listed in the indictment.


Now, even as Raniere’s trial is set to begin, the investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York is ongoing. Federal law enforcement agencies are continuing their interviews and sifting thousands of digital records seized from computers, cellphones and other electronic devices that had been kept at Saratoga County residences used by Salzman and Raniere, as well as storage lockers rented by Bronfman.


If additional criminal findings are unearthed in the ongoing investigation, it’s possible Raniere could face more charges in the Northern District, according to a person briefed on the case.


The government’s witness list includes [Sarah] Edmondson, [Mark] Vicente and Lauren Salzman. They may also call Kristen Keeffe, who was NXIVM’s “legal liaison” before she slipped away from Raniere with her young son in 2014. Keeffe subsequently provided details about NXIVM’s alleged multitude of criminal acts to law enforcement authorities and has been prepped to testify by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.


As his trial begins, Raniere will enter a courtroom that is expected to be filled with some of the people who have alleged he destroyed their lives.

[Catherine Oxenberg, Toni Natalie, and Barbara Bouchey are expected to attend. Frank Report will also be in attendance.]


The list of people who the Albany Times Union identifies as those who “could be called to testify at Keith Raniere’s criminal trial includes”:

– Lauren R. Salzman

– Mark A. Vicente

– Kristen M. Keeffe

– James G. Loperfido [a former NXIVM accountant and associate of Joseph O’Hara. He is identified in the federal criminal case as “John Doe 1.]

“Loperfido, 67, of Cayuga County, did accounting work for NXIVM in the early 2000s. Federal prosecutors have accused NXIVM officials of conspiring to place a ‘key-logger’ on Loperfido’s computer ‘so that his email address and password could be obtained and his emails monitored.’”

– Sarah Edmondson

– Karen A. Unterreiner

– Jane Doe 4 [the Mexican woman who was confined to a single room for 23 months. Her sister is Jane Doe 2, who is ,alleged to have been sexually exploited by Raniere when she was 15. The alleged exploitation included him taking naked photographs of her.]

In addition, Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, and Kathy Russell may be called to testify.


Finally, I would not be much of a publicist and self-promoter if I failed to mention that the Times Union gave Frank Report and myself a bit of credit for helping take down the gruesome one. 

The Times Union reported:

It was those allegations that in 2017 triggered the unraveling of Raniere’s tightly controlled organization. That summer, Frank Parlato — a Buffalo blogger who had once been NXIVM’s publicist but was now its enemy — began posting photographs and stories of women who had been branded with Raniere’s initials as part of their involvement in an ultra-secretive “slave-master” club that cast itself as a women’s empowerment group.


In October 2017, Parlato’s accounts of the branding ceremonies became the subject of a front-page story in The New York Times. The article drew the attention of the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, which assembled a task force and began interviewing people who had been involved with NXIVM for years.


In addition, The New York Times, in its curtain raiser last week, a story written by Barry Meier, entitled “Once Idolized, Guru of Nxivm ‘Sex Cult’ to Stand Trial Alone, also offered me a little credit, which I am pleased to repeat here:

“Word of the branding ceremony first appeared on a website run by a critic of Nxivm, Frank R. Parlato Jr., a Buffalo-area businessman who was once close to the group.

“Then, after The New York Times ran a story in late 2017 about the group’s practices, the Justice Department launched an investigation.”


By the way, Meier was the man who wrote the story that aroused the interest of the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.  His October 2017 blockbuster story was entitled Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded.

What perhaps was thought of by the editors of the NY Times as merely a bizarre and eccentric story about some creepy people before they published it, turned into a game changer for the victims since it inspired the DOJ to do something about this group and its incomprehensibly villainous leader, Keith Alan Raniere AKA Vanguard  AKA Grand Master AKA Master.

Adios Vanguard.


Keith Raniere stands alone on the front page of the Albany Times Union on Sunday, May 5, 2019.

About the author

K.R. Claviger


Click here to post a comment

Please leave a comment: Your opinion is important to us! (Email & username are optional. To leave a name, click on the email icon)

  • From NYT : The diet he insisted female followers adopt was so severe that some of them stopped menstruating… Yeah, so his “pleasure train” didn’t stop. He Is SO GROSS!! He LOOKS like he stinks!

  • It sounds to me like a bunch of bored, rich girls who knew what they were getting into. The whole bunch of them are sick, liberal trash. I don’t know if there are any victims here. They are all empty and morally bankrupt. The left keeps blathering about equal rights for women, but when they suffer the logical consequences of their own actions they want to be treated like children.

      • if that is your point of view, then why the hatred against allison if according to your own words. “These NXIVM women want rights but no responsibilities.
        They want to be treated like adults but act like children. “So the other women were not their victims, so why do you treat them like children

        • What is your point exactly-
          NXIVM was about 80% female in membership.
          Raniere is a sybaritic slob who spent his days sleeping, eating and fornicating.
          The dirty work of running NXIVM’s many scams was done by the women.
          The middle management of the cult was predominantly female.

          Allison Mack held a special place in the hierarchy.
          As an actress with skills in theater as well as a certain charisma and following among young women, Allison Mack seduced young women into joining a sex slave cult under the guise of “female empowerment.”
          In the words of cult expert Rick Ross Allison Mack was the “Tom Cruise of NXIVM.’
          What’s so difficult to understand about all that-

    • So this guy Raniere convinces countless women to given up access to all of their body parts, and not only that but he convinces other women to help him collect women willing to do this, and not only that, he convince some women to bankroll his sex cult… If he had only stayed away from underage girls and actual slavery he could still be doing this.

      The women are instead described as “independent, smart, curious adults” in search of “happiness, fulfillment and meaning.
      All we hear about in media, entertainment, academia etc is how females are the superior, smarter, stronger, better, soon-to-be-dominant gender. Then a story like this comes out and all of a sudden, this flawless, incredible gender has no agency or resilience whatsoever.

      Of course didn’t someone just sell eighty million copies of fifty shades. Women ate that shit up. I worked with a couple of the hypocrites.that raved about that book.. They also loved Billy Bullshit Clinton and O-holebama. No coincidence.

      • Exactly. I was at an Amway international public relations meeting in Prague, in the Czech Republic in the spring of 2008, and overheard a couple of middle-aged Amway women employees discussing Barry. They were swooning as if he was a movie star to them, and they remarked how he has such a nice smile. The man with the least background in our country’s history that would qualify him to be President gets elected later that year. The rest is history, a total disasterous eight years.

        • >>The man with the least background in our country’s history that would qualify him to be President gets elected later that year.

          That qualifications feat was quickly topped.

          • By who. Obama was and is the worst fuckin President in the history of the country. He will be tried by the military along with Hildabeast for treason

            Donald Trump is easily one of the most qualified for the Presidency. Compared to Trump the little pipsqueek O-hole was a complete and utter failure.

      • “All we hear about in media, entertainment, academia etc is how females are the superior, smarter, stronger, better, soon-to-be-dominant gender.”

        Very good points.
        All we hear about in the media is how the “oppressive patriarchy” enslaves women and denies them their rights.
        Look at the popular TV show “The Handmaid’s Tale” showing an America that does not exist and never existed.
        If women want to see what real oppression is all they have to do is travel to Islamic countries where women are compelled to wear burqas.
        Islamic countries that practice Female Genital Mutilation.
        Islamic countries where women who are raped are frequently put to death.
        Of course the media and academia regard any truth telling about Islam as Islamophobia.

        American Men are not trying to oppress women.
        American Men are not trying to deny women their sexuality.
        If anything American Men are trying to encourage women in education, the arts the sciences and in business.
        In the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) there is an open push to promote women.

        All these so called empowered women of NXIVM had to do was to cut off Raniere’s money and stop Pimping for him.
        But the empowered women of NXIVM were too spineless and gutless and brainless to even do that.
        Heaven Help America if the American Male is ever emasculated by “empowered women.”

      • –All we hear about in media, entertainment, academia etc is how females are the superior, smarter, stronger, better, soon-to-be-dominant gender.

        I have literally never heard this said anywhere.

    • I’m not sure NXIVM necessarily fits anywhere in particular on the ideological spectrum.

      Raniere’s social and political philosophy was based in Ayn Rand’s objectivism.

      Raniere’s inner circle and harem of women operated much like the FLDS, and similar fundamentalist Christian cults. The ideas being promoted were essentially “traditional values” notions of the differing roles of the sexes and women’s subservience, not really feminism.

      It was a very strange hybrid of sorts.

      • Intellectualism is obviously 3 steps above your pay grade. You give yourself away with your anti Christian bigotry while ignoring Islam among others. Your two faced hypocrisy is not fooling anyone Sparky.

        Let’s look at your left wing friends for more of your anti Christian brotherhood

        CNN: 23 stories on Covington Kids, none on Philadelphia Muslim kids celebrating head-chopping for Allah

      • More anti Christian bigotry. Raniere operated more like a radical Islamist, but you leftist bigoted hypocrites are scared shitless of Islam.

  • Didn’t James Odato have to leave his job at the Times Union due to the relentless harassment he was receiving- I wonder if the public has any idea of the price many of this people, including Frank, have paid to shine a light on this story.

    • Some people use their real names because they know it’s worth the risk. If I recall, there were lawsuits against the Times Union and Odato, more financial intimidation and trampling of the First Amendment, “thanks” to Bronfman’s deep pockets.

    • “Didn’t James Odato have to leave his job at the Times Union due to the relentless harassment he was receiving-”

      Many good people suffered at the hands of NXIVM and the monsters who ran it.
      Jim Odato
      Rick Ross
      John Tighe
      Sarah Edmonson
      Catherine Oxenberg
      Joe O’Hara
      Frank Parlato
      and numerous others including the branded slaves.

      And the top five ringleaders on trial
      The Salzman women and
      won’t receive nearly enough punishment for the pain they inflicted.

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