I Learned the True Nature of Nxivm Intensives From Kristin Keeffe Amid Her Harrowing Flight From the Dangerous Keith Raniere

A longtime reader, one who I believe was here since about the very start of Frank Report, made the following comment and asked me a question:

By a Reader

Mr. Parlato’s analysis of Mark Vicente’s description of the Intensive process, starting with a personality disorder questionnaire, then the destruction of students’ confidence in their self-worth, then redefinition of morality via confusion followed by replacement by a new morality that served the cult leader’s desires, seems spot-on.

But Mr. Parlato has written that during his time as a consultant to NXIVM, (he never did an Intensive, although he was urged to), he didn’t recognize any destructiveness, except perhaps that high-rank members seemed unable to make basic business decisions on their own.

After Mr. Parlato was fired by Raniere for questioning Raniere’s real estate business judgement to the vital cash cows of Clare and Sara Bronfman, he basically just walked away.

But characteristically, Raniere harassed him through his minions with civil lawsuits and eventually criminal indictment (on trumped-up charges by an allegedly corrupt US attorney). The Frank Report started as a counterattack to that.

There was already a rich literature on misbehavior by Raniere and NXIVM, and early Frank Report articles (understandably) largely re-hashed that.

We know now that Mr. Parlato assisted in Kristen Keeffe’s defection with her (and Raniere’s) son. He may have learned more about the inner workings of NXIVM from her, but couldn’t report it at the time for fear of giving leads to finding her. But there was not a lot of analysis of how the Intensives broke people down and rebuilt them into Raniere’s unwitting servants/victims.

Of course, the big breakthrough was the DOS story, with reports from at first a few defectors, then a flood. But again, the reporting was on DOS and not on the Intensives.

So my question for Mr Parlato is to tell the story of how he came to understand the mind-bending of NXIVM. Is it recent, from reading the trial testimony and/or talking to the witnesses? Or were there other defectors (they need not be named), experts, or other sources?”


Keith Raniere about the time I was a consultant for Nxivm [2007-08]
By Frank Parlato

DOS – the branding and blackmail scandal – was, of course, the breakthrough for me as a journalist covering Nxivm.

Once I reported on that, I got many women and some men who left Nxivm – or planned to leave, because of learning about DOS – who spoke to me about the Intensives and I began to understand it far better.

Of course, the first person who really gave me insights into the nature of the Intensives was Kristin Keeffe.

She was the one who insisted it was all a massive hypnotic induction program devised by Keith with able assistance from Nancy Salzman. Frankly, I was not able to fully recognize the aptness of her vision, thinking that some of it was hyperbole at first.

But Kristin kept insisting – and this was before Frank Report was even launched.

She lived in the lower apartment of my home in the Florida Keys. She kept insisting and trying to explain that Keith was pure, 100 percent evil. I knew he was bad but I did not think he was pure evil as I [and others] later found out and exposed him to be.

At that time, I discounted a little of what she said because I knew he was out to get her and had millions at his disposal and, at the time, I was her only ally. I knew she was afraid and rightfully so, and needed to villainize him.  I came to learn that she was not exaggerating.

One of the reasons I said little at the time [2014-2015] publicly was to protect her safety.

Kristin insisted that Keith had actually gone increasingly insane – in recent years [from about 2009, onward.] Kristin left him around January 2014 and began staying under my protection by March 2014 and remained until the summer of 2015.

She stayed about a year and a half, until Raniere finally found her. He hired a private investigation team and spent, according to the head of the firm, who I interviewed at length on several occasions, about $1 million to find her.

They found her at my house and took pictures of her. But they did not actually accost her.

Curiously, the investigators were told that Keith just wanted to be with his son. That the purpose of the million dollar search was just so he could have some custody rights and see his beloved boy. The investigators were told that they needed to find Kristin just to serve her court papers for a custody hearing.

When the investigators found Kristin – they asked for the papers so they could serve her and Clare [who was paying the investigators’ bills] told them that they were now discharged. Now that they had found Kristin, they were no longer obligated to do anything further.

This made them suspicious. But they did as they were told and only later came to me to reveal all that happened.

After the investigators were discharged, a husband and wife team was hired and assigned to befriend Kristin.  They were paid by Raniere and Clare and their job was to befriend her [without telling Kristin that they were being paid by Raniere and Clare.]

It is not known what Keith had planned for next.

They approached Kristin, coming up from the back of my home, coming up the canal, on kayaks one day when Kristin was in the yard.

And they engaged in conversation with her and soon became friends with her.

In retrospect, Kristin felt that this was Keith’s perverse humor, using kayaks to approach, like Kristin Snyder supposedly used, to make her disappear, just like Snyder disappeared.

What the couple had in mind, or rather what Keith had hired them to do, is not clear. It may have been just to spy on her, and keep him informed or it may have been to do some diabolical mission, maybe even kill her, to make her disappear.

They succeeded in befriending her and she trusted them. Then Keith put into play a very diabolical scheme. He had someone anonymously text her repeatedly saying “We know where you and your son are.”

Kristin felt she had to flee. At firs,t she went to her new friends – Keith’s hired couple – which may have been his plan.

Somehow this couple, who gotten to know Kristin, decided not to engage in a criminal conspiracy. They chose not to betray Kristin – and told her to flee.  Perhaps they sensed they were leading her and her son to grave danger if they followed Keith’s instructions.

Kristin fled to New York. She stayed with Toni Natalie for a while. At the time, Toni was in trouble with her computer trespassing charges and it is a matter of record that Kristin helped her get out of her legal jam by providing essential information to her and the lawyers.

No sooner did Kristin help her, than Toni threw Kristin out of her house leaving her homeless. Kristin then went to another place, which I cannot reveal. I helped her and she is in a safe place now. She would later provide a great deal of information to the prosecution. And, I don’t think it is a secret, that she is the one who first found attorney Neil Glazer, and acquainted him with Nxivm.

To answer the question, then, it was Kristin who gave me deep insights into the Intensives.

Back in 2014, from the day she arrived in the Keys, she was working with me to help unhinge Raniere.  She released a lot of very potent information. She provided bombshell info to Rick Ross that effectively helped him win his civil case [it was dismissed]. She helped Toni escape prosecution and she sent warning letters to all the executive board – that outlined that Raniere was a criminal.

They chose to ignore it and at least Nancy and Lauren lived to regret that.

Over the years, I spoke with her extensively about the Intensives. But, when I was there working as a consultant, I only saw women and men who seemed to be happy to be there.

Most of them seemed to be just beginners in life – at least in terms of worldly wisdom. I did not think it was necessarily bad that they were taking courses that might improve their fairly weak and naive thinking skills.  To me, it seemed no worse than many religions that tell you how to think.

I declined to take the Intensives since I knew that there was nothing that I needed to learn from them.

As for Raniere, I liked him. Our conversations centered strictly on improving the organization, making it more business-like, more transparent with the media, getting out of problematic lawsuits, and fixing a myriad of problems culminating in the fiasco in Los Angeles, which got me fired.

As far as instruction goes from Raniere, I did not think for one second he had anything to offer me. Indeed, I thought I could teach him quite a bit.

I wound up teaching him, it turns out, some pretty good lessons, but not in the way either he or I had thought at the time.










About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most acclaimed investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.

Frank’s work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Rolling Stone, and more.

He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.


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  • The fact that Keith Raniere [hired PI’s] never went to the authorities to report the disappearance of his son is very telling.

    What was Keith Raniere attempting to keep out of the purview of law enforcement?

    Nothing strange about that. (Sarcasm)

  • Frank, you never went into details of what actually went on in these LGATs that made them mind-bending and destructive, like what type of techniques they used on people and how it changed them.

    • Anonymous,

      I would like to know as well.

      However, I believe Frank is concerned such knowledge would be misused. That’s my guess.

  • Great glimpse into the pre-Frank Report era.

    Will any of the intensives ever be published so we can see what one looks like?

    Now that the government owns them is it doable?

  • Wow. That is crazy about the kayaking friends. Anytime we get to peek under the Kristin Keeffe curtain, it’s valuable, and makes me think of a dozen questions I want to ask her.

    Thank you to Kristin for waking up and being courageous enough to not only escape – but to help bring down Raniere.

    • The “Kayak” couple is bizarre story.

      It’s says something about what Rainier was up to that the couple refused to go through with their mission.

      • They were witless hired goons, supplied by pro PI’s — maybe on the level Keeffe herself arranged a time or two — say, an Interfor Juval Aviv, self-alleged, ex-CIA noc, or a little favor Nancy pants arranged through her corrupt political clout on down to the likes of Roger KirSLOP. Undercover local cops? Maybe just INTERNS in the DA’s office!

        Totally, agree with Keeffe that the Kayaks are a classic Raniere trick to guilt her over her role in whatever went down with Kristin Snyder. Also a bit of blackmail in the Kayak message?

        Yes, I know it firsthand all too well. BTW, Kristin, whose idea was it to put that picture of me, Gina and Jeff with me cut off under the visor?

        • Can I second Heidi’s repeated attempts to get info from Kristin? Hell, Kristin, call her and talk privately. Don’t you think Heidi deserves it? Everyone fucking gets it. Now should be a time of helping everyone heal.

          • Thanks, Nutjob. Nice try. Guess Kristin’s gonna carry it to her grave. Very spiritual, “ever since I was a little girl,” that one.

            – The “bad” Heidi not to be confused with the “good” Heidi.

  • Mr. Parlato has followed through on his reply to my question on the contribution of Kristen Keeffe to his understanding of how the Intensives worked to bend minds.

    I wonder if there are more stories that can now be told about how other defectors helped him.

    And I also wonder if there are defector stories about the corruption of local and state law enforcement and government, perhaps by Raniere employing his harem to entrap people.

    This could be another public service by Frank Report.

    • This is an important serious issue…but I wonder if an investigation in this will come from the Nxivm case. I doubt it but can Frank offer any hope?

  • Hi Frank, isn’t the person who made the comment wrong when they said that you, “just walked away.” You couldn’t just walk away cuz you were named in that LA real estate lawsuit and were being interviewed by the press about NXIVM in 2010.

    You also said you talked to Odato for hours for his 2012 Times Union expose and even sent him documents.

    I’m curious to know, if you hadn’t been fired, at what point do you think you would have walked away from Raniere and his sex cult? Besides DOS, what is the thing that if you had known about it or discovered it, would have caused you to quit working for the sex cult?

    You said shortly after you started working for Raniere, you learned that he was lying about being a celibate monk and that he wasn’t just lying about being celibate but was sleeping with multiple students and board members. Do you regret not coming forward publicly with that information sooner? Even if you didn’t go public with that information, do you think if you had told Mack, Vicente, Edmondson that fact back in 2007, when they were still only a year or two into the cult, that they would have quit or do you think you would have ended up silenced like Synder, in prison like Tighe, or facing trumped-up criminal charges even earlier?

  • This was awesome. Perhaps the most interesting writing on the site in awhile IMO, well done Frank and the mystery contributor.

    I have never been able to grasp these intensives and so called EMs. I would love to see like a truly detailed recreation of one. Maybe you can put that on your list Frank.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Parlato was the lead investigator and coordinating producer of Investigation Discovery's 2 hour blockbuster special 'The Lost Women of NXIVM.'

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

Read more about Frank Report's mission.

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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