It’s Christmas. And for most, the world is a place of good cheer.
It is also a time of thinking of the past.
In our case, here at Frank Report, it is a time to reflect upon Nxivm and its leaders, followers and victims.
This is Keith Raniere’s second Christmas in prison.
If he was a tenth of the man he pretended to be – the ethical, compassionate teacher who wanted to make the world a better place – he would be free today. But, instead, he is in a cage – and we are free with our families and friends.
It was Christmastime eight years ago that our battle began. I came to Albany to meet Clare Bronfman to ask her and Keith not to fight with me. Clare met me with her attorney, William Savino. They listened to my suggestion and chose to ignore it.
Three weeks later I had the FBI knocking at my door.
They wanted me indicted.
In return, I tried to get them indicted. I told the feds in the Western District of NY about the crimes Bronfman and Raniere had committed. But the feds at WDNY did not want Bronfman or Raniere. Instead, they wanted me.
I was indicted on November 20, 2015.
Since the WDNY would not listen to me about Raniere, I started a website called the Frank Report. It debuted on November 30, 2015. Perhaps someone else would listen.
The WDNY feds tried to get a gag order to prevent me from talking about my case and Bronfman-Raniere. The judge ruled against them. He ruled I had a first amendment right to write about my case and my accusers.
But in most everything else, Keith had it all by Christmastime 2015.
He had me indicted.
He had Joe O’Hara, Toni Natalie, John Tighe, and Barbara Bouchey indicted. Jim Odato had left his position with the Albany Times Union because of his lawsuit, never to return. Both Odato and Tighe, his two biggest critics, were not to write about Raniere again.
Every critic was silenced or under indictment by Christmas 2015.
Knowing he had the feds in his pocket and his enemies in trouble, he took the next bold step. Right after my indictment, he started branding women.
I did not know about it them, but I went on the attack. Most defendants in a criminal case shut up and let their attorneys do the talking. I chose to do otherwise. I chose to expose the crimes of my accusers.
I was shocked during Christmas 2015 to realize there was such corruption in government that an innocent man could be charged for crimes simply because influential people such as the Bronfmans and their attorney wanted it.
I was amazed at how Assistant US Attorney Anthony Bruce lied in the indictment. He knew he was lying, but he knew nothing would be done about it. He would not be punished for lying. Prosecutors rarely are punished. I learned he had done this many times to other victims.
No doubt Bruce thought I would take a plea deal; many were offered to me. I declined. I would never enable a corrupt system by plea bargaining to something I did not do. That is the whole secret of the dirty system: Overcharge, falsely charge and get frightened defendants to make a bargain. Get them to admit to something they didn’t do so they don’t risk spending years in prison. I can’t do that. It would be like selling my soul.
I had to fight. And, happily, the New York Times took up my story about branding – which led to another district of the DOJ – the Eastern District of NY – taking on Raniere.
This is Raniere’s second Christmas in prison.
He has been incarcerated since the day he was arrested in Mexico and brought to the US the same day: March 26, 2018. Poor Vanguard. He had been planning a group blow job with eight first line slaves. Instead, he got arrested.
Instead of bravely facing police who came for him, the frightened bully hid in the closet. They pointed guns at one of the women who only a few moments earlier was planning to orally service him, his minion, Lauren Salzman, and she gave away his hiding place.
He would never see Lauren again until they appeared together before Judge Garaufis in several pre-trial hearings. Later, she would appear at his trial in a Brooklyn courthouse to testify against him.
It was likely not a merry Christmas for any of them last year. And worse this year.
Last year, they had not pled guilty to any crimes. Clare Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, Allison Mack, and Kathy Russell were all under home arrest but they still had hope that they would not have to go to prison. Raniere was in custody at the MDC in Brooklyn where he is today, enjoying Christmas.
This Christmas, the others are still under home arrest – but now they are awaiting sentencing. All have been convicted. All are facing prison time.
Raniere is likely to never get out. He is 59 and facing decades of prison. The rest are enjoying their last few weeks at home. They will spend next Christmas in prison.
I wish them all a Merry Christmas.
Nancy caused many to suffer. She is likely to spend less time in prison than she deserves, if prison were meted out commensurate with the pain you cause others.
Allison Mack seems to have gone berserk. I don’t think of her as a beast. She has some talent, beauty, charm; some desire to help the world. She got into the hands of Raniere. He brought out the worst in her.
She did not kill anyone. Mostly, she lied to women about Keith and got them into a blackmail situation. She hurt women badly but I think only a part of her wanted to be cruel. Mostly, I think she wanted to be good to others.
I wish her a Merry Christmas, one filled with hope. She is only 36. If she gets five years in prison [which I think is excessive], she would be barely over 40 when she gets out. She would still be younger than any of the other defendants are now. Had she not been arrested, had Raniere not gone down, she might have spent the rest of her life with him.
Then there is poor Kathy Russell. I hope she gets the lightest sentence. While she joined in lots of “reindeer games,” as Susan Dones calls the deeds of the minions of Raniere, her crimes were not of cruelty. She helped Dani get in the country illegally. She had nothing to do with Dani’s two years’ confinement.
She hopped into threesomes and rented a place for Raniere to [mind]fuck Cami – but she did not seem to participate in the cruelties.
Hell, she even cleaned Raniere’s sex lair after he made merry with other women; hoping for an occasional invite to hump aboard.
She is just a little lonesome dunce who did not know better. I hope she finds a place in the world; a life after Raniere. She is more than 60, and dead broke. Maybe when she gets out, she can find a decent job somewhere and spend her days quietly and gently.
As for Lauren Salzmam, she loved the power and converted herself to be a victim only when the time was opportune. Still, she is a broken woman, like the judge said. I hope he sentences her lightly.
She did help put away Raniere. I think she realizes she did wrong by following a monster for her entire adult life. Of course, she may still be following a monster – her mother. But if her mother’s going to get a light sentence, I think it would be the height of injustice if Lauren got a longer sentence than her.
Next, we come to Clare. She and Raniere were the authors of my legal troubles. Clare – along with her sister, Sara – filed the criminal complaint with the FBI. Clare then went before the grand jury and lied about me.
Poor Clare. She used her wealth not to build and love, like she claimed she wanted, but to destroy others. I know she must be shocked that her wealth could not buy her out of her legal problems. She is likely to go to prison for a lot longer than the two years she thought she was going.
Like Nancy and Keith, it’s hard to imagine she will change. Still, Clare without Keith seems not too dangerous. It was the combination of the two that really wreaked havoc. He was just a conman grifter without the Bronfman wealth. And Clare and her sister, Sara, were just two little harmless wastrels before they met him. Just riding horses or in Sara’s case riding a jockey. Flitting about, doing nothing serious. Then they met Raniere and Nancy Salzman.
And the destruction began.
Clare is different than Allison, I think.
Allison wanted to do good. She liked people. Keith brought out her evil side. She hurt people inadvertently. I think the fool actually thought DOS – because Keith invented it – was helping women – even though plenty of evidence suggested otherwise. I think her intentions were good.
Clare also wanted to be good but never liked people. Keith brought out her evil side – and emboldened her to hurt people with purpose. She enjoyed hurting people. She enjoyed using her wealth to hurt people. That is the difference between Allison and Clare.
Finally, there is Keith – monster of monsters. I wish him a Merry Christmas in his cage.
I wish he could come out but that wouldn’t be right. He would only hurt people again the minute he was free.
I had some help, of course, in my fight against Raniere.
Sarah Edmondson was a victim, yet she stepped up and showed her brand to the world and helped take down Nxivm. She wrote a book. She appeared on podcasts. I hope she made a lot of money.
She was the only DOS woman to put her name behind her being a victim and because of her, Nxivm is no more. She is a hero in the takedown of Nxivm.
And Mark Vicente. He put his name on the line to stop Raniere. He was a victim who did not shirk or look to be hidden. He gave the feds a lot of their case. He should be proud this Christmas. He and his wife, Bonnie Piesse, contributed a great deal in the takedown the cult.
And Catherine Oxenberg. She called a bunch of media people trying to get the word out and wound up with me. I got the word out.
Catherine had to choose between saving her daughter by exposing her to ridicule and shame or keeping it hidden and let the abuse continue. She chose to be bold. It worked. She took the cult down. Her daughter left the cult. Catherine is a hero in the takedown of Nxivm.
I hope she made a lot of money with her book and movie, but I know the original motivation for her was not money. I was there. We fought together. I spoke with her every day. She is a good fighter. And good fighters don’t think about money while they fight. That spoils everything. You collect the purse after you’re victorious.
Another brave fighter is Joe O’Hara. He had his life almost ruined by Raniere and Bronfman. He spent two and half year in prison on trumped up charges. But he made a comeback. When he fights, he fights with strategy, and in his own name. He is a great ally to have in battle, as all who have fought beside him know.
And there is Susan Dones. She was a victim. But not anymore, although I think she may qualify for victim restitution [and I hope it is a lot.]
A good woman who thought she was doing good when she was in Nxivm. She was sufficiently removed from Albany [in Washington State] to not see all the dirt it had. She left. They attacked. She fought back. And won her own victory.
She may be traumatized still. But she did one thing. She stepped forward and did not play the coward. She helped take down a cult in her own name. She is a hero of Nxivm.
This Christmas she should be proud.
And my friend, Heidi Hutchinson. She is a true victim of Nxivm. And she fights still to get justice for her sister, Gina, another true victim.
And bear in mind, it was Heidi [and not another who claimed it] that was responsible for exposing Keith as a pedophile to the Albany Times Union – and she spoke on the record, using her own name. That knowledge helped in my fight against Raniere, to know about Gina and other girls that he raped.
And John Tighe – Merry Christmas. John lost everything in his fight against Nxivm. Happily, this is his last Christmas in prison. But he fought bravely and it seems he was likely set up and silenced.
And the family of Kristin Snyder – Jonnie and Kim. They are victims and came forward to help. Merry Christmas.
And a blanket Merry Christmas to all who left Nxivm and are recovering for their lost time.
And Merry Christmas to the Nxivm perpetrators who did not get indicted. The likes of Brandon Porter, Danielle Roberts, Jim Del Negro, Esther Chiappone Carlson, Nicki Clyne, Sara Bronfman, Emiliano Salinas, Alex Betancourt. Enablers who still follow or only recently stopped following only after Raniere was exposed and arrested.
Merry Christmas to all. I hope redemption is in your future
And finally, I am thinking about Raniere’s victims. They had a bad time. Some of it was their own doing. Much of it was that they allowed themselves to be manipulated and cheated by monsters.
It’s too easy to say they were stupid. But who would agree to be a slave to another? Or agree to give blackmail material and lie about your family – or agree to get branded?
The moment they were told to give graphic nude pictures, their self-respect should have kicked in.
The moment they were asked to lie about their family and others, their basic integrity should have kicked in.
There is no way in the world a good person would handover blackmail material that involved others – that could destroy their family or friends if released.
I don’t care how much selfish purpose these victims had in mind – about their growth in this sorority – the fact that they would lie about others – such as that it could destroy others – and give that as collateral to anyone shows me that the victims were highly flawed too.
I ask you, any of you readers – for some purported gain [like DOS was supposed to be for these women] – would you give such collateral as we have heard was given – videos of yourself condemning your family, your husbands, your parents, your lovers and ex-lovers, your children, your nieces or nephews, your coworkers, your bosses – and that could destroy their lives?
Would any of you have done this? Given collateral to someone that would destroy others with lies – so you could join a sorority that would help you grow?
What kind of growth is that?
It is easy to wallow in sympathy and treat the victims like they were children. But they were adult women. We shield their names. We absolve them of all responsibility for their actions. It’s all too black and white.
They gave collateral, instead of saying no. They gave it at first for personal gain. I agree that after the first or second collateral it became increasingly coercive. But the time when integrity called – when they were asked not for nude photos of themselves – but to say damaging things about others – that’s when their integrity and honor should have kicked in. And for many of them, it didn’t.
Nothing warrants putting in another’s hands material that could hurt someone other than themselves.
If they were good people, they would have drawn the line.
These victims were perfectly weak but not perfectly pure.
And until they admit that and stop hiding behind the wall of grief and self-pity, they will never be strong.
My wish for them is that they resolve never be a sucker again. Stand on your own legs. Never think again of seeking a Vanguard or a Prefect to teach and lead you. Lead yourself. Grow yourself. You need no guru.
Stop thinking of yourself as a victim. Realize that 99 percent of what happened to you was your own fault.
If you caused your own problems, it stands to reason you can solve your own problems. If somebody else caused them, then you are their victim and can be the victim again of others. Since others seem to control your fate.
I am tired of victims. There are so many who were involved in Nxivm that now want that status. And not just DOS victims. Many members of Nxivm who now are out want to claim they were pure victims even though they did much to enable the monster. I don’t think there were many pure victims.
In my case, if I was a victim of Raniere, it was because I chose to be his victim. [Don’t be mad if Raniere taught something similar. He was occasionally right in his teachings, even if he did not practice what he preached].
I am no victim of his. I was not smart enough to recognize the monster when I saw him and went to work for him. It was my mistake.
I tried to do him and his group some good. And if I was stupid enough not to realize what a swine he is and that he would turn again and rend me – then shame on me. But I don’t call myself a victim.
After he got me falsely indicted [which is arguably every bit as bad as being branded], I decided not to be his victim.
I chose to thrash him. And I thrashed him pretty good.
Merry Christmas, and this time I won’t end with Viva Executive Success.
And Happy New Year.