Part 5: In-Depth: Dani’s Testimony: The Very Dirty Mr. Raniere


This is Part 5: In Depth: Dani’s Testimony.

Part 1 – In Depth: Dani’s Testimony – ‘Keith Had a Plan to Save the World’

Part 2 – In Depth: Dani’s Testimony – Dani’s Ethical Breach and Her Punishment

Part 3: In Depth: Dani’s Testimony: Raniere Grooms the Virgin for Sex for Her 18th Birthday

Part 4: In-Depth: Dani’s Testimony: She Loses Her Virginity – or Does She?

In Part 4, we learned how Keith Raniere tried to persuade Dani that he actually had sexual intercourse with her at an office in Rome Plaza in Clifton Park NY.  She was certain he did not have intercourse.

The questioning continues by Assistant US Attorney Moria Kim Penza, who dives into more of the life and sex life t5he then-18-year-old Danihad with the then 43-year-old Keith Alan Raniere.


Q Daniela, after the incident at Rome Plaza, what did you think your relationship status was with the defendant?

A … I was a little unsure. … no terms … had been discussed. He had explained to me what it was like with other of his long-term girlfriends, but as far as me and him, I wasn’t sure.

Q … did you have a discussion with the defendant?

A Yes. … I was raised and brought up with very traditional conservative values….  I always wanted to be with one man, love one man and always just stay with that man…. So I sought a conversation with him to discuss that.

Q And what did he say?

A He said ‘we had already discussed that. That [there] was the three-year contract.’

Q Had you ever heard … a discussion of a three-year contract?

A … No we never discussed three-year contracts.

Q How did it make you feel when he said ‘three-year contract’?

A … I thought maybe he had [the discussion] with a different woman. Does he realize it wasn’t me? I felt really confused about the fact that we didn’t have that conversation.

Q And, so, what happened after that?

A  …that wasn’t resolved… we did have a conversation about… what the relationship was and that ‘three-year contract’ is not something I wanted….  it didn’t go in line with what I thought… a serious, formal relationship.…  it seemed a bit like a rental agreement. This was…  three years of sexual relationship and it’s not the way I saw life…. I … sought a long-term… commitment … like a marriage. If I’m … going to have sex …that’s a serious thing for me. I want it to be forever….. it was clear to me that he [thought he] now owned me…


Q After the Rome Plaza incident, did you continue to have sexual encounters with the defendant?

A ….  intercourse didn’t happen …  until … six months after, but …. there was other sexual contact…  shortly after that, I was in Flintlock with Keith, and he was laying down….  on the couch and I would sit by his … knees, and he would put the knees on top of my legs. And we’re sitting there talking and he… pulled his pants down and… showed me his penis. It was the first time I saw one of those… he had me give him oral sex. … [Thereafter] it’s the type of sexual contact that continued…  between us.

[Dani testified that these events occurred at 3 Flintlock Lane, a condo owned by Karen Unterreiner {and Keith}. Living there also were Pam Cafritz, Karen, Kristin, Marianna, and Keith.]

Q …. how frequently would the defendant have you perform oral sex with him?

A … that first time … I thought he liked it because … he said to me … ‘where did you learn how to do that?’ …to me [it], felt really offensive because he knew I hadn’t been with anybody else. But [giving him oral sex] became a daily thing. Sometimes it was like more than once a day. It was all the time.

Q Did the defendant have a specific place in the house where he would typically have you do that?

A Yes. In the downstairs, in the living room…  It would be on the couch. He would be laying down and I would [give him oral sex]  or it would be on the rocking chair …  facing the TV and a little monitor…. he had a little monitor that connected to a camera … pointed to the front of the house … so that he could see who was coming.

…. whenever he came into the house and I was there [alone], he would just … say a little something, drop his pants, sit on the rocking chair, [and] have … me give him oral sex, and he would be watching the monitor to make sure that nobody was coming in … [and] looking at the stairs, to make sure that nobody who was upstairs would be coming down.

Q …  did you have … discussions about contraception?

A … I suggested I should go on the pill…. He said that I should not…  the reason … was that the hormone change that the pill causes in women makes them gain weight, and I already was overweight. So he said ‘why don’t you just lose the weight and once you lose the weight, we’ll see about that.’

Q Did the defendant give you any other directives regarding sex?

A … the oral sex was never mutual. It was never reciprocated. Was always just one way. There was no other affection or kissing or nothing…. the sexual encounters [other than blow jobs] were few, but when he did have sex with me, sometimes he would ask…  how it felt…  What it would take for me to be able to cum and things like that…. I didn’t know. He would ask me and I would tell the truth; that I never had an orgasm [with him] ….  And he said that I couldn’t have an orgasm… [and] after questioning me, [he asked] ‘well, have you ever had an orgasm?’ and I [said I] had, with myself, through masturbation.

He said ‘that’s why you can’t cum with me. It’s because you are masturbating.’ So he gave me instructions not to masturbate.

Q … Did the defendant speak about sex in a mystical way…?

A  there was …  the weight and… how that connected to his energy…  There was also the reasons why … he could have sex with other women, but I … could not have sex with other men…  because that would hurt him. So that meant we had some kind of a connection through sex; that if I had sex with someone else, he would feel it….. it … would hurt him.

… the first time that he had me give him oral sex, … I didn’t know what … to do with the semen. I didn’t know that there was an option….  once I swallowed it, he asked me, ‘did you see a blue light?’ … I remember I looked to the ceiling by the lamp, and I [said] ‘no, I didn’t see a blue light.’ [He said] ‘Some women have told me they see blue lights when they have… had my semen’, which …was like this mystical thing … his …semen had.

Q .. did the defendant say anything to you about the fact that you had not seen the blue lights?

A Yes. He said … I wasn’t very sensitive… I wasn’t connected with that part of things.

Q Have you ever heard the defendant use the term ‘working with’ someone?

A Yes. ‘Working with’ someone or taking someone on. Yes, I’ve heard it.

Q And what would that mean?

A That means that he has started having sex with someone as a way to help them grow…. that’s another… — mystical thing….  if a woman very specifically is in the right weight and is following her program, then having sex with her, he can fix disintegrations by the mere act of sex.

Q Apart from sex, were there any other references to the defendant having any other sort of mystical powers?

A … there were many… disseminated through the community…  I heard [Nxians]talking about them, even when Keith was present, but I heard some of them also directly from him.… he … recounted to me that when he was a child… sitting in his living room… with his back to the TV…  he could hear the newscaster and he realized that just by hearing his voice, he… could see what he was wearing. He could feel what he was feeling. He could know what he was thinking… he had this superpower. And he realized it when he was very young.

He also said that he could see people’s disintegrations and … weaknesses in their body. … he said that to me directly, which I found very disconcerting.   I didn’t believe him, and I found it very confusing because the reason why I admired Keith and respected Keith was because I thought he was the smartest man in the world…. And that, to me, all that mysticism, if not in contrary, at least it’s not in line with what I believe science is….

The things that he said, as well as him allowing people to disseminate those stories and permit it to continue…  went against what he stood for and what the company or the mission stood for.

Q At some point after you started having sex with the defendant, did you learn that your sister Marianna was also having sex with him?


A  …  I was having sex with Keith. She was having sex with Keith…..  it was weird. It was … horrifying that we were having sex with the same man….  she told me that she was in love with him….  I told her… I also wanted to be with Keith and that I thought he was a great man…. we talked about,… how we both knew about his lifestyle, but it was definitely problematic…. we needed to talk about that. That was not something that was right with either of us and it needed to be figured out. And we’re like, ‘what are we going to do here?’ … we talked about it and we decided we could maybe handle it, but we needed to set some ground rules… we’re like, ‘okay, let’s go get a cup of coffee and let’s write down… just what is going to happen here.’ … so we …went to the center [on] New Karner Road… to … talk things out, and write them down and figure out what we’re going to do. And we ran into Keith. We were in the corner, almost by the admin office, where the big TV was, and he showed up…unexpectedly.

And he asked us, ‘… What are you guys doing?’ … I told him.… he didn’t seem to like that. And he started asking a bunch of questions…. [and] I understood …it’s not okay that we’re doing this…. [He] took Mariana away.  Mariana left with him and we never spoke about it again.

Q You and Mariana?

A Not openly. Not about, ‘hey, we’re sisters and Keith’s having sex with both of us.’

Q After you began having sex with the defendant, what changed?

A …  My life changed. I had full access to Flintlock, to him, to the inner circle. I was part of the inner circle, automatically…..


Q What happened after you started spending time at Flintlock?

A … I spent a lot of time with Keith. I was like a fly on the wall [with] my little laptop computer on the couch on the side, and people would come and go. I would just be there minding my own business. He would be on the phone… planning things, talking about things, disciplining people… talking to people, arguing with people, playing the stock markets…. I was spending my waking moments, all of them, at Flintlock….  I felt I was Keith’s friend. I felt like his little buddy. I felt like a best friend. I felt like he could be with women in front of me, I wasn’t jealous. I really wasn’t. And whenever he had free time, he’d go on a walk with me…. and [when] there was nobody there, I knew what my role was… I was to give him oral sex.

Dani testified about her life with Keith at Flintlock.  She started writing down things about Keith’s life.

Dani testified: I idolized Keith. I saw Keith as this figure of this great man…. the smartest man…  I thought ‘so he’s the smartest man, yes, but he is going to do some great things and sometime in the future people are going to wonder what was his life like. So I decided I need to write things down. I need to record this. This is historical….  that’s the degree of admiration with which I saw him.

Dani wrote things on her computer about what he said and did. Later she started recording with tape recorder and then a video camera.

I’d be recording him when he was talking to people, when he was talking to me, explaining some concept, and … videotaping him, riding the unicycle, playing tennis, playing with so-and-so. So I started documenting him.


Q Did there come a time when you had difficulty renewing your visa?

A Yes.

Q What happened?

A …. I flew back to Mexico and I flew back into the United States on that tourist visa on my birthday in 2004… I was with my father…  and we flew via Atlanta, and … we got stopped. And they withdrew our visas. …  we were held…  we had to wait a year to apply again for a visa. And sent back to Mexico….. I was crushed….  I no longer had any life in Mexico. I wasn’t going to school. I still had the expectation that Keith was going to teach me…. I was beside myself. …. a year… was a long time. I was very sad….

[Keith devised a plan to get her into the USA illegally.]

Dani: He told me he was … going to have someone have an [fake] ID for me …. He had a master plan for bringing me back.


Q … What does the defendant actually tell you the plan is?

A He tells me the plan is that I will fly to Canada….  he would send someone to meet me…. Kristin would bring with her a fake ID for me and I would be crossing the border …  to the U.S. as an American.

So it was going to be with a fake ID….  the plan was that this was to happen on Christmas Eve, so the holiday rush … things would be busy, maybe there [was] … the likelihood of it succeeding…


Q So what happened?

A … I flew to Canada, a day or two before Christmas Eve….  the plan changed. Kristin did not show up. The person who showed up was Kathy Russell.  So I met with Kathy Russell and she gave me my fake ID … it was terrible. This fake ID looked so homemade. …I was very frightened. So I thought Keith had devised all this plan and… I was putting my trust on him, on this plan.  And when I saw that ID, I was just so afraid because it looked like amateur hour. It was a sheriff’s ID. It had my picture but it didn’t have my information. The name that was there… was Lisa Chinoa.

[Kathy] gave me my ID… that I was going to use for crossing.

Dani testified that she got across the border with the fake ID.

Q And then what happened when you got to the — got back?

A When I got back there was — … a Christmas get-together because it was Christmas Eve. I remember I was happy to be back…. all that was talked about… was the triumphant story of having successfully crossed the border and I was back in the U.S.

Q …- was the defendant present for the conversation?

A Yes.


Q Why do you think Keith didn’t just come get you?

A That’s not how he works. No. Keith — Keith would never put his name or his person at risk in any way. That’s just not how he operates.


Q  Who else would operate on his behalf?

A Well, I did. Kristin Keeffe would. Let’s see. Kathy did. Karen. Everybody would operate on his behalf. He gave the instructions. He plotted. He gave the instructions, but he would never be one doing it. He would never be the one with his hiney on the line.

Q When you entered the country, did you know that that was illegal?

A Yes.

Q And why did you do it?

A I — I really wanted to make it back. I didn’t want to wait a year and I wanted to make it back.


Q Going back to the actual night when you came back, what happened later that night?

A So later that night, at some point it was just Keith, my sister, Marianna and myself….  we were hanging out in the downstairs of Flintlock for a while and then he wanted to… take a nap with both of us, which was very strange. Like, I’d never napped with Keith, just the two of us. I never slept with Keith, napped with Keith. It’s not something I did. So — I don’t know, it was my sister, but I felt like invited into something special. I went upstairs. He brought us upstairs and we laid down, and I quickly found out it was not napping. All of a sudden…  it was sexual… And it was my sister.

… It was just like all of a sudden,…. he’s kissing her and he’s touching me and I start crying. She starts crying and — not like — crying like, ‘what is going on?’ This is messed-up crying. And he stopped…. Marianna is out of control. I’m also like crying like horrified. … it felt dirty. It was bad. It was wrong.

And he got up. My sister got up with him and he took her and they went to … 8 Hale Drive. And I stayed there… just crying. And that was Christmas.

Q Did you ever discuss that incident with the defendant?

A We never spoke about it again. I didn’t speak about it with him. I didn’t speak about it with my sister. I just pretended it never happened and he did exactly the same.

Q Do you remember what level of undress the defendant was in during that incident?

A …  he had his pants down. I don’t remember my clothes coming off or my sister’s.


Stayed Tuned for Part 6

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • There are some people in NXIVM who knew about how Keith operated – that he was so sleazy with women and did nothing about it. Turned a complete blind eye. Some of the higher-ups I’m sure. Whoever those people are, shame on you. I hope your conscience destroys you. And stupidity isn’t an excuse.

  • I don’t think Keith has ever followed a rule in his life. Rather, he strives to break all of them. I can’t wait to see him put away for good.

  • This is all very bizarre. To me, one of the strange highlights is in this note:

    “Dani testified that these events occurred at 3 Flintlock Lane, a condo owned by Karen Unterreiner {and Keith}. Living there also were Pam Cafritz, Karen, Kristin, Marianna, and Keith.”

    3 Flintlock had been the home of Raniere and his harem, and his romper room for young playmates, since the late 1980s. It shows up in property records as a modest 3 beds and 2 baths (one a half bath) at 1,270 sq ft – not much room for all those people. And Karen Unterreiner still lives there to this day – with Raniere as a co-owner (I checked property records, and he still is), which will probably result in some trouble when people start coming for his assets.

    Vice has a good piece with some insight about how Raniere groomed and broke down the young Daniela, who was only 16 when her involvement began (Unterreiner was reportedly only 17, and vulnerable after having just lost her father, when she met Raniere):

    “Prosecutors on the Raniere case have indicated they intend to introduce expert testimony on how perpetrators “often use ‘grooming’ techniques on adult and child victims to normalize sexual behaviors and make their victims more susceptible to assault.” Former federal sex crime prosecutor Krishna Patel told VICE the first step in this kind of grooming is getting around parents. Patel, who now works on justice initiatives at Grace Farms Foundation, said predators can do this by ingratiating themselves and making themselves useful to the parent, and/or, as in this case, by physical separation. Though Daniela’s parents took NXIVM courses in Mexico, it would be several years until they relocated to Albany permanently.
    Daniela described the crude, boundary-pushing ways Raniere interacted with the women in his inner circle, something Patel pointed to as a grooming technique she saw across many of the sex crime cases she worked on. Raniere would grab women’s crotches in front of others, make jokes about their “camel toe” or the amount of hair around their vaginas, the witness said.

    “The most important thing a predator does is completely destroy healthy boundaries,” Patel explained. In living situations, men who groom young victims will introduce pornography, or walk around the house naked, to change the child’s ideas of what’s normal, she added.

    “The problem is that for the adolescent brain, or even younger, it is so deeply influential,” Patel said. “It’s coming at the time you’re supposed to be teaching healthy behavior—what we would consider healthy in this society. When you break that down for a child, and destroy that, that is very powerful and very effective, and it doesn’t take very long, actually.””

    It sounds as if we may not appreciate how even somewhat older adolescents are still developing, and in some ways more vulnerable than we might have thought. Modern brain research also shows that adult judgment doesn’t full develop until around age 25, which has further implications for how we view even young adults.

    • Heidi:
      What would you say to the young woman in NXIVM DOS who was coerced by Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman into engaging in lesbian sex acts including Rimming and Fisting?

      May 22, 2019 at 6:36 pm
      Lauren and Allie made some of us do horrible, horrible disgusting things. I only like men, but those two made us try every lesbian act you can imagine with them and others and we feel sick to this day about it. Never heard of ‘rimming’ or ‘fisting’ before meeting Mistress Allie and Mistress Allie but I feel soooo gross and used by those women :(. Please pray that they will regret what they done to so many nice girls. I feel no man will want me now am so ashamed

      How about it, Heidi?
      Maybe you can meet Mistress Allie sometime and Allie can show what what rimming and fisting are.
      Heidi, will you say a prayer for this young woman who was sexually abused by Allison Mack?

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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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083