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?”
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.