Keith Raniere with his followers in the heyday of Nxivm. [Photo courtersy Barbara Bouchey].

Guest View: Some Questions for Barbara Bouchey

By Tom

This is in response to Barbara Bouchey’s article Bouchey: The Facts Surrounding Mark Vicente’s Enrollment Into Nxivm.

Dear Barbara,

Thank you for your honesty. The tragedy of ESP/Nxivm is that it had noble intentions but underneath, it was motivated by power, narcissistic adulation, delusion, greed and lust.

I don’t understand why you and others stayed so long.

Didn’t you realize there was something wrong with someone claiming to be the smartest man in the world? Everyone knows such a thing does not exist and should have been a warning sign with someone with a narcissistic messianic complex.

Wasn’t it concerning to you that the financial structure was a pyramid scheme with the goal of enrolling people being more important than knowledge and true personal growth?

Why weren’t you concerned about the negative review in Forbes? Forbes does their homework very well.

Didn’t you see you were being kept on a string by Keith and he kept others on a string as well?

Why did you put up with that for so many years?

What fantasy did you maintain about Keith that kept you so locked in?

The story you tell about Dr. Capra and the physicists is heartbreaking. You put so much work in, but you got blamed for its failure. Didn’t you see it was a pattern of Keith and Nxivm to project their own internal difficulties on to others and blame them for mishaps?

Why did you stay in light of that fiasco?

And, what about your financial relationship with the Bronfmans? Didn’t you benefit handsomely from that?

Was that a reason why you didn’t act until that relationship fell apart?

I have no doubt that Keith is totally messed up. He’s narcissistic, arrogant, self-centered, malicious, abusive and has committed criminal acts. You deserve credit for helping to make the world knowledgeable of that.

However, I don’t believe you, Mark Vicente or anyone else should be elevated to hero status for doing only what should have been done much earlier. You made mistakes with believing in Keith and ESP/Nxivm when you shouldn’t have. These are your mistakes and it would be more truthful if you owned them. Ten years is a long time to discover and speak about something you now characterize as evil.

Furthermore, although Keith, Nancy and Clare deserve a large share of responsibility, everyone involved with Nxivm that did not leave early on or speak up early shares in that responsibility. Everyone contributed to the lie, to defrauding others, often for their own benefit, whether consciously or unconsciously.

It seems disingenuous to charge only a few people with a crime when so many played a role in fostering and enabling it.

What do you say, Barbara?

About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is the founder of the FrankReport, publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.


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  • Oh, and I’d really like to know who is in that photo. I can’t find that it’s ever been posted, with a list of those portrayed.

    I don’t recognize long-timers like Cafritz, Unterreiner, Jaske or Salzman in it, and most of those people are so young, I can’t readily identify if I might know them from how they look in the more recent photographs commonly seen. And is that really a female couple holding hands very suggestively over on the right? I also note that Raniere himself is doing a very possessive lifting of the shirt to expose and place his hands on the bare flesh of Barbara, I presume.

    And speaking of old hands, is Russell in there? I have yet to see a picture of her from anytime before the trial.

  • Wow, this is utter victim-blaming nonsense, it is inappropriate and it is cruel. No matter what her answer is, you will still try to blame her. Or Allison Mack, or whoever. This ignorant attitude is why more victims don’t go public or report.

    Barbara, however, DID go public and report.

    When people see inconsistencies, often times they do not know they are red flags until after the fact when they reevaluate in hindsight. At the time, honest people fill in the blanks or make sense out of the inconsistencies by projecting their own honest intentions into the situation. In other words, they project what THEY would do or think into the situation. Furthermore, there is the powerful influence of other people you trust, who you believe are honest, who support a plausible explanation for a red flag. Still, Barbara questioned Keith and called people out.

    The problem here is that you are focusing on the prey, not on the predator. Example:

    “Keith”, the predator, deceived and exploited Jane, the prey.

    In this sentence, the focus is on what Keith did to Jane. That is proper. This focus, however, can morph:

    Jane was deceived and exploited by Keith.

    (Now Jane is the focus of the sentence.)


    Jane was deceived and exploited.

    (Keith is no longer in the sentence.)


    Why was Jane deceived and exploited?

    (Focus is on what Jane did wrong, not Keith.)


    Why did Jane stay? Why did Jane allow this to happen to her? What is wrong with Jane?

    (The predator, Keith, is now completely out of the conversation, and people are focusing on what the prey, Jane, did to “deserve” to be harmed by him.)

    This victim-shaming and blaming helps no one, other than helping you to feel superior. Let’s be kind and gentle to all of NXIVM’s survivors. Please, let’s focus on the predator, on his tactics, techniques, deceptions, exploitations and manipulations. That is what will help people.


    • Thank you, Christine. Best post I’ve seen in months on FR. Hoping those she’s speaking to will reread her post and marinate on it.

      • Scott – That is exactly the issue. Bizarre that we can’t have a conversation about “how much of a victim and how much of a predator” someone was. The topic on FR seems to be relegated to “were they a victim or were they a predator?”

        Also, some were part victim and part stupid/tricked not to eject.

    • That’s a great exposition of the nuances, and even paradoxes of it.

      As “Jane” sort of got at, below, it’s rather in the nature of cult involvement, that those who get in can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak, until they reach the point of getting out.

      I do think it’s fair to ask questions about, for instance, when some of those involved may have become predators themselves, to at least some extent. NXIVM was complex, and it’s possible that Raniere wasn’t the only sociopath or psychopath in the inner circle. For example, if Mack really did come up with the idea of branding on her own, and owned in proudly as an example of how hard core she was, then that cruelty, and the victims of it, are on her – though that example also points to the fact that at this point we don’t have enough clear evidence to be coming to real conclusions about such things, either.

    • Christine,

      I (and most people in the courtroom) overheard Barbara Bouchey having a conversation in court Wednesday while the legal teams had been sent out to talk about a disagreement they were having regarding presenting evidence.

      I was horrified and discussed with what Barbara Bouchey said.

      Bouchey talked about Pam Cafritz swimming with Marianna while she was underage and taking showers with her. Who takes showers with a minor child who is capable of showering on their own?

      Bouchey also shared that Marianna would film Pam Cafritz and Keith. It appeared the way Bouchey was telling the story, the situation had a sexual nature to it.

      Bouchey went on to share that she and Raniere were wrestling on the floor and Marianna was filming them. Raniere pulled Bouchey pants down and Bouchey said to him that Marianna was just a child. Sure, she confronts him in the moment, but it ends there.

      Not once did Bouchey bring these concerns to the authorities while Marianna was underage. Not once did Bouchey share her concerns with the NXIVM community.

      Bouchey continued to maintain her relationship with Ranierepersonally and professionally for years after those events. She had full knowledge that inappropriate behavior was happening to a minor child not only with Raniere and Cafritz but within the NXIVM community.

      To call Raniere out about a child in the room at the time of the event but not take any other action says Barbara Bouchey was condoning and ignoring a very serious problem.

      This is not victim shaming, this is Bouchey aiding a predator’s acts on a minor child.

  • That is not how cults work. Instead, you just don’t know what appears obviously to others outside. you can’t really blame the people who are inside it. It is like a battered wife who won’t leave her husband or a kidnap victim with Stockholm Syndrome.

  • Barbara got sued into oblivion. Simply opening her mouth from 2009 to 2018 would have caused her many issues. It seems she woke up to the whole situation slightly before this. The lawsuit machine that NXIVM became stopped many from saying the truth about the company. And it’s not like the authorities listened anyways. It took the NY TIMES article by Barry to get the engine started on stopping this criminal enterprise. While I do think there were significant signs for many – and they kept recruiting people, I also think the kool-aid was strong and turning a blind eye to the evil parts, even refusing to believe they exist became the norm. Barbara was arguably one of the first to speak out against NXIVM but all the lawsuits stopped her from continuing.

  • Most of us have been bamboozled sometime, by a family member, a lover, a politician, a boss, a friend, a teacher, someone. It’s easy to see when it happens to someone else, but hard to see when it’s you yourself.

    • Agree with this. What made it even worse in NXIVM is you have this ARMY of seemingly normal, even upstanding people confirming over and over what a magnificent person KAR is and what a great organization he has. At the end of the day, it’s very hard to look in the mirror and say, yes, I was completely fooled. You don’t want to believe it, much less accept it.

      To be fair, I’m not sure a lot of folks knew the details of his prior CBI scam, which should have been a clear signal of his desire to deceive people and obtain their money.

      • Raniere’s CBI judgment was on the internet and Rick Ross kept a good running tab on all of Raniere’s scams.

        The Times Union did an excellent job writing articles about the NXIVM scam.

        Barbara Bouchey even attempted to get one of the reporters fired for writing about NXIVM. The only thing that saved his career was the Forbes article.

        It’s not that the information wasn’t out there; people were unwilling to see it until they had a situation happen that caused them to want to seek out other “data”.

        • It’s fairly typical that those involved in high control groups or cults are unaware of critical information, or even discount it if it is less than overwhelming – it was only when the branding and sex slavery were revealed that many were shocked enough to really start to question the reality of what was going on versus the appearance. The organizations are pretty practiced at explaining away articles and even cases as just unwarranted attacks – playing on distrust of the media – if people even do know about them, plus the people they recruit probably tend to be less skeptical and less likely to do their own research.

          Not everyone is a rigorous critical thinker and diligent investigator. Some people are even rather dull and credulous. I think we can have at least some sympathy for them.

  • Great questions.
    Wanna bet she won’t respond?
    I would like to know why so many stayed when Keith spouted his logic for pedophilia being a good thing.

  • Tom,
    Your post asks important questions. Some have been asked before.

    If you have been a follower for the Frank Report for any time, you should know by now that Ms. Bouchey will not answer such questions.

    Ms. Bouchey will give anyone a big Thank You for saying nice things about her. She still has so many unanswered questions from past posts that readers of the FR would like to know.

    Many have often wondered just how many of the 1700 would have been saved the trauma of Salzman and Raniere if Bouchey had done the right thing and used her influence to shut down NXIVM by being honest about Raniere’s manipulative sexual relationships, his loss of her millions, and his lying to her before he had the power of the Bronfman’s money.

  • “I don’t understand why you and others stayed so long?”

    What does it say about the members of NXIVM that they were too spineless to get up and walk out the door?

    What does it say about a Jewish woman like Nancy Salzman that she would just sit there and take it while Raniere claimed she was the reincarnation of Hitler?

    Since most of the members of NXIVM are Liberals I have to conclude that Michael Savage is right:




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