Sylvie Joins DOS, Is Assigned to Seduce Raniere, Sends Him Naked Photos and Her Father Finds Them

This is Part 8 of our series on Sylvie, the long time Nxivm member, who became a DOS slave.

In Part 7 we learned that Sylvie had written a letter addressed to her parents that she had been a prostitute – something that was factually untrue – as collateral – in order to learn about a very special project that was supposed to help her with her problems.

The woman who told her to provide collateral – and to whom she gave the collateral – was one of the DOS First Line Masters, Monica Duran.

In this excerpt from her trial testimony, Sylvie relates how she was introduced to DOS by Monica – and how she gave additional collateral. Then she relates her first assignment – to seduce Keith Raniere.

This is the first day of the trial of Raniere, May 7, 2019. Sylvie is on the witness stand being examined by AUSA Moira Penza.

Part #1:  Sylvie Explains What Nxivm Course Was Really Like – Rare Glimpse Into the World of Nxivm Cult

Part #2:  Sylvie Explains Her Struggle With Anorexia and How Nancy Salzman Ordered Her to Gain Weight

Part #3: Raniere Teaches Sylvie That Men Should Have Sex With Multiple Partners and Women Should Be Loyal to Only One Man 

Part # 4 Women Wearing ‘Little Princess’ Outfits or Cow Udders – Sylvie Explains the Humiliation of Women in SOP – Nxivm’s Men’s Group

Part #5  Sylvie Being Trained Insanely by Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman

Part #6 Keith Raniere Lets Sylvie Get Married, but ‘No Sex’ With Your Husband for Two Years! 

Part # 7 Sylvie Describes Her Collateral – a Letter to Her Parents That She Was a Prostitute

Moira Kim Penza examined Sylvie

Just prior to this excerpt, Sylvie testified that wrote her false but detailed confession that she had been a prostitute and placed it in a stamped envelope addressed to her parents, which Monica said she would hold as collateral in order to ensure Sylvie’s silence about the secret that Monica was about to tell her.

Moira Penza asked Sylvie if Monica [and Lauren Salzman] thought the letter was sufficient collateral to reveal the secret project to her.

Sylvie answered:  Yes, she thought that was strong enough. So, she invited me to meet her at her house and then when I got to her house, I needed to go upstairs, she asked me to go upstairs, and I had to provide a picture to go with the collateral.

Q   And what happened when you went upstairs?

A   She asked me for it to be, like, a full-frontal naked photo and she had set up a camera in her spare bedroom for me to do that.

Q   And did she tell you anything about what would happen to the picture?

A   She said she was going to put it in a safe and I remember her saying she wasn’t going to look at it because I was, like, wow, I was embarrassed, but she tried to minimize my feelings, like, no one’s going to look at it, like, it’s no big deal type of thing.

Q   So did you take the pictures?

A   Yes, I did, on her camera – and gave her her camera back.

Monica Duran was a longtime assistant to Clare Bronfman. She became a leader of DOS under her direct slave master Keith Raniere.

Q   After you gave her [Monica] the pictures, what did she tell you?

A   So she told me what the special project was and she called it the Master/Slave project and she told me that she would be my… my master and that I would be her slave. Do you want me to go into detail about what she said?

Q   Sure.

A   So, then she told me about what that would mean, like, that she would be giving me special assignments that are designed to make me push through my fears and… make me do things that I probably wouldn’t want to do but they would be, like, good for me and make me stronger or, like, better in some way. And the — yeah, basically, that I needed to do whatever she tasked me to do.

She told me that I would need to do acts of care for her.  So these would be just things that she needed done and I could anticipate things she might need done to try to make her life easier basically. I can’t remember what else she told me in that first conversation.

Q   At that time, did you feel like you were already in this special project?

A   Yeah, definitely.

Q   Did you feel — at that point, did you feel like there was an option to get out of it?

{Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo: Can she [Penza] not lead through this part of the testimony?

PENZA: Your Honor, if Mr. Agnifilo could just say “objection.”

AGNIFILO: Leading.

THE COURT [Judge Garuafis]: Rephrase the question.

PENZA: Thank you, Your Honor.

Q   Sylvie, at that time — when you were told — at that point, what did you believe what the collateral was doing?

A   I thought I was in the project and the collateral would basically keep my mouth shut about it and do what I — yes, so now I was Monica’s slave and she was my master and the collateral was in place to keep that going.

Q  Later on, did you ever have other conversations about collateral with Monica?

A  Yes. So at some point, I don’t remember when exactly but she told me that the collateral needed to be made stronger month by month…. that I would need to bring her new collateral that was… more damaging and that it would need to basically make my commitment stronger and stronger.

Q  And was that something you did?

A   Yes.

Q   When you joined, did you know you would have to provide additional collateral?

A   No.

Q   You mentioned that Monica said that this would help you with your fears?

A   Yes.

Q   What type of fears did you have at that time?

A   I wasn’t really sure…  what my actual fears were, I’m not sure what she was talking about, but my –

Q   What did you perceive as things you wanted to improve at?

A   I wanted to be a better wife and a better partner. I felt really incapable of being just, like, honest with people about my feelings because I always felt like I needed to do what was pleasing to people so I was hoping to be a more honest, be able to, you know, be more myself with people, I guess.

Q   At that point in time, how did you feel about what had happened with your career?

A   I don’t really have a career anymore…. I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was working on The Knife [one of Raniere’s groups]. I was still doing work for Sara [Bronfman].  I was still kind of running but I didn’t think I would ever make it as an elite athlete anymore and I’m pretty sure …  I didn’t feel like I had a proper career.

Q   Did Monica tell you anything else about what would happen as part of the Master/Slave project?

A   In that first meeting?

Q   Yes.

A   No.

Q   …did you learn anything else after that?

A   … I got assigned to do things.

Q   What about other than — we’ll talk about the specific assignments in a second.

A   Okay. Yeah, I learned — you’re talking about branding,  giving her a vow. So I learned about several other aspects over time but, yeah, not in that first meeting.

Q   How about your communication, your daily communications with her?

A   …. Monica asked me to create a secret chat with her ….so I needed to invite her to a secret chat in the messaging app Telegram.

Q   And what is Telegram?

A   So it’s an app that you download on your phone and they’re encrypted messages. So it’s encrypted end to end but then it also has another feature where you can make the chat secret….  basically it’s even harder to get into it or to be able to see what’s in it.

Q   At that time, did you start participating in something called “readiness”?

A   Yes. So the secret chat was going to be used for communication from Monica to me and vice versa. And so, basically, there were things called readiness drills in the Master/Slave program where I needed to have my phone with me at all times. I was never allowed to not have my phone on me. She said there was no going dark, which was something that you could do in a different organization called SOP [Society of Protectors].

There was a concept of being ready and you had to respond to a drill on your phone, when you were asked whether you were ready, you had to say, “yes, I was ready,” but you could go dark in that [SOP] organization, in that [SOP] I could say, “I’m not going to have my phone with me today, I’m not reachable,” whereas Monica told me in this, in the Master/Slave program, there is no going dark so you need to be available 24/7.

Q   What times of day would you receive readiness drills?

A   Often, like, three in the morning. It was… all times of the day or night but, definitely, it happened through the night several times and I had a loud buzzer thing for it to make sure I could hear it because if you were late in readiness, you had to do something called a penance.

Q   And what was your understanding of penances?

A   It’s — you do something that’s physically painful to you to motivate you to do better next time or to make sure you didn’t fail again.

Q   What was the next step in the Master/Slave project?

A   So after …  two weeks…  Monica asked me to meet her because she told me she had her first assignment for me.

Q   Did she use the word “assignment”?

A   Yes. And she said my assignment — when we met in person, she told me that my assignment was to seduce Keith.

Q   And how did you…. feel when she said that?

A   I think I, like, almost thought of laughed in shock because I was, like, “What do you mean, seduce him?” And she went on to explain what she meant by that. And I was, like, “Oh, God, like, this is not what I want to do,” but my understanding was it was an assignment from my master and I didn’t have a choice, so I was freaked out basically.

Q   When you say you didn’t have a choice, what do you mean?

A   Well, I thought I didn’t have a choice. She told me that …  she was my master and that I needed to do whatever she said and I had given her this collateral so my understanding was that I had to do what my master said or my collateral would be released.

Q  …. but you said that she gave you more of an explanation. What did she tell you?

A   She was, like, you know, how you would seduce any guy, like, that you wanted to date or something, just like how you would seduce them. So I didn’t…. want to do it anyway, but I was kind of just, like, “Oh, God, like what does that even mean?”

Q   And then what happened next?

A   I didn’t do anything for a little bit about it. I’m not sure how long it was but I just sort of didn’t do anything and then she came to me and prompted me that I needed to start my assignment. And so, eventually, I sent Keith a What’sApp message saying something like, “Your glasses look hot” or “You look hot in your glasses” or something like that.

Q   And did he respond?

A   Yeah. I don’t remember what the initial exact response was but we were What’sApp’ing back and forth and he said something at some point along the lines of, what I remember to be, “You are going to have to do better than that.”

Q   And what did you think when he said that?

A   Well, I think at the time, I was kind of, like, “oh, that’s weird, it seems like he knows what I’m supposed to be doing. I thought it was a secret.” I didn’t know….  whether he knew that I was supposed to seduce him. I was hoping that maybe he didn’t know that, that this was from Monica, and so I thought that was weird.

Q   What happened next?

A   Over the course of an evening, I don’t remember how it started, but I think that he suggested, I think that he suggested that I send him a picture and I started off sending him a picture of my face. And then I think he was, like, prompting me to be more vulnerable or something were the words that I remember being used.

I just want to say I did delete all these messages so I don’t remember exactly what I said or exactly what he said so this is from my memory, but what I remember is that the pictures — that he was suggesting pictures become lower and become more vulnerable and more vulnerable and more vulnerable, and in the end, whether it was that night or the following day or in the course of the next few days, I was sending him naked pictures.

Q   How explicit did the pictures get?

A   In the end, they were literally just photos, like, of my vagina basically with not my face, like, nothing.

Q   And were those suggested by the defendant?

A   Yeah. I think at times, he gave me actual poses that would be good to do, but, yeah.

Keith Raniere loved to look at and collect naked pictures of women, and particularly close up shots of their vaginas.

Q   Did you want to send those pictures to him?

A   No. I thought it was part of my assignment, that I had to do it.

Q   What was the impact on your life of having to send those pictures?

A   Well, I was spending all this time in the bathroom trying to get, I don’t know if you would call it a good picture, but, like, it was a freaky thing that I had to do in secret and, obviously, I lived with John, my husband. It was really affecting my psyche now having this weird side assignment that seemed to have turned quite dark. I was, like, very anxious and cagey. It was, like, an extremely weird, stressful time.

Q   At that point, were you still honoring your celibacy with John?

A   Well, yeah, me and John were not having sex, so, yeah.

Q  …. for how long were you sending the defendant these types of pictures?

A   I think it was a really long time. …. It must have been a few months because the date — I mean, I can remember the time frame that it stopped because of an incident that happened with my dad.

Q   So what happened?

A   My dad contacted me on Facebook and said something like “You’re going to have to get your own iCloud account,” or something like that, because I didn’t realize the iCloud accounts — I knew that he had — he had given me access to his iTunes library and that had somehow linked to iCloud account, and so when I was deleting these photos, it was creating a deleted photos file or something in the iCloud and he must have gone in there and he sent me another message saying, “I found you medical pictures” — he called them medical pictures — and so I was just, like, absolutely horrified.

Q   And so what happened next?

A   I begged him not to say anything to anyone and I, like, apologized because I assumed he thought I was sending them to John and I definitely didn’t go into details about what was happening with him, I didn’t want to — you know, I just begged him not to tell anyone basically and said,” I’m so sorry,” and then I stopped sending the pictures.

End of Excerpt


Many readers might fail to see much coercion here. Sylvie joined DOS voluntarily. She did not have to write the letter to her parents saying she was a prostitute. Many would have drawn the line right there.

She did not, when she went to Monica Duran’s house, have to take a naked picture of herself. Quite a few would have said that’s a deal-breaker.

But Sylvie evidently thought this would help her in some way.

Still, when Monica told her that she would have to be her slave, Sylvie could have still walked right out the door. She was not required by Monica to join DOS after she heard about it.

The collateral was given at first only to learn about it and to ensure she kept it a secret. Sylvie had the option of not joining DOS. She chose to do so.

She was not forced by the collateral she had given – the false confession and the naked picture.

AUSA Moria Penza tried to lead her into saying that she was pressured or scared because Monica had her collateral. But Sylvie does not seem to be scared. She wanted this guidance. And she voluntarily chose to join DOS, after giving collateral to hear about it and after hearing that it was a master/slave group and that she would be Monica’s slave.

It is clear and apparent that Sylvie was perfectly willing and wanted to be Monica’s slave – for whatever that means and whatever it says about her.

With about 12 years into Nxivm, it is not surprising that her world is upside down and she is not thinking clearly. No one that took the mind-fucking Nxivm intensives – especially women – ever got out unscathed.

The courses seemed to be designed to weaken the mind and make it less able to think clearly.

Still, it does not seem Sylvie was coerced in the slightest into DOS and perhaps not really coerced into seducing Raniere. She seems to say that she felt she had to do it because it was an assignment and not because she was afraid of the collateral being released.

Of course, Monica lied to Sylvie about Keith not being part of DOS. He was the total leader and he certainly knew about the seduction assignment. Knowing Raniere, no one was going to be assigned to seduce him if he did not agree.

Most likely he was the one who told Monica to order Sylvie to seduce him.

Sylvie was a very attractive blonde. [I met her when I was in Albany working for Nxivm]. She was slender and fit, and she was exactly Raniere’s type.

So he pulled it off – the rascal – he got her married to John to keep her in the country, then ordered her not to have sex with John for two years [for spiritual reasons he said] and well before the two years were up, he got her into a master/slave group he created, and with one of his slaves as Sylvie’s master. While keeping it a secret that he led the master/slave group.

Then he ordered his slave Monica to order her slave Sylvie to seduce him. Pretty slick.

He got his cake and ate it too. He wanted Sylvie for sexual purposes and he did not even have to seduce her.

Of course, one has to keep in mind that Sylvie was not the only woman he was interested in having sex. It was nearly his full-time job having sex with dozens of women.

DOS seems to have been created to provide more and more fresh women without him even having to work at seducing them.  He still had his harem at his disposal.

One wonders, of course, how badly Sylvie really felt about this. She spent hours in the bathroom taking nude pictures of herself and sending them to Raniere.  She may have felt compelled to do it and she seems to have had a long history of compliance, near-nsane compliance with her insane master Clare Bronfman and Raniere, checking in our her weight, her training, her food intake, etc. She was obedient for years. She even agreed to be married only with Raniere’s permission and even then with a vow to be celibate for two years.

She had been trained to obey.

On the witness stand, after being coached by the prosecution, Sylvie was very effective.

Her story had the effect of making the jury hate Raniere. But she seems to have most willingly did much of what she did – at least up until this point in her testimony. It gets worse as we go on.

And, it cannot be said enough times: She was lured into DOS by total fraud. Monica told her that Keith had nothing to do with it. Would she have still joined and taken naked pictures etc. if she had known that Keith was at the head of this?

One more point. Her father showed some discretion calling the naked photos he found of her on the Cloud her “medical pictures.” This part of the testimony surely must have made the jury sickened, a father finding his daughter’s naked pictures.

I suspect Keith Raniere lost the case right about at that time, on day one of the trial. And yet there was no crime he had committed that had been revealed to the jury as of yet. I think they just grew to hate him.

Looking at him at the defense table, this ugly little cross-eyed man with the ill-fitting clothes, furiously writing notes to his lawyers, looking like a dirty sniveling chipmunk – being revealed as a lecherous pervert.

Sylvie was a very sympathetic witness. Soft-spoken, vulnerable, humble, attractive, and clearly a woman who had been used and manipulated for years.  The jury liked her and, through her, they grew to hate Raniere.

I was there and I saw it.

Sure, many of us would have spurned such things as Sylvie agreed to – but she was a soft and a vulnerable woman who put her faith in others. She evoked sympathy from the jury.

She was a brilliant choice to put on as the first witness.

As we shall see, Sylvie is led to do much more than just send naked pictures to Raniere.

Stay tuned for the next part in our series on Sylvie.











About the author

Frank Parlato


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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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