Sylvie Decides to Leave Nxivm

This is our next in the series on Sylvie, covering her testimony in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. She was the first witness to be called.

In our last post in the series, Sylvie testified how Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson left Nxivm and told members about DOS. She also testified that many Nxivm members found out about DOS from Frank Report, which caused Nxivm to implode, as many people quit the group after learning about the bizarre and cruel practices of branding and blackmailing women.

On Frank Report in the summer of 2017, I made it a point to reveal that Raniere was behind DOS, despite his denials.

AUSA Moira Penza is examining Sylvie.

AUSA Moira Kim Penza

Q   At that point [after the publicity about it in Frank Report] did DOS change?

A   Yes, things sort of started to….  something that had charged is that Monica had said that I should now just say “M” in the [text] chat rather than “master.” Like little things started changing…..  I didn’t get any more assignments….  I wasn’t asked to recruit anybody else so things sort of slowed down.

Q   After DOS came out [in Frank Report and through the whistleblowing of Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson] or after?–

A   Can I just say one other thing, sorry.

Q   Of course.

A   The other thing that stopped  [is] I don’t remember getting any readiness drills anymore, those stopped happening as well.

Q  …  so at that point were people in the community talking about DOS?

A   Yeah, well, not openly but there was conversations about it and people reading the Frank Report and I had quite a few conversations with John [Sylvie’s husband] about it, but obviously him not knowing that I’m in DOS, and so we would talk about it. When I would try and allude to, well, [and I would say] “I think it might be true” and like these kinds of things, he didn’t believe it.

Keith Raniere walking with DOS slave Dani Padilla. Sylvie met him on the street one day walking and told him she thought he was a good person.

And a lot of people didn’t believe it or they kind of thought the [DOS] women that were coming out were lying …  because that was the kind of thing we had been taught–  that women, they lie and they are out for themselves, and all this kind of stuff. So a lot of people were kind of questioning it, the people that were still loyal to ESP.

Q   At that time was John still loyal to ESP?

A   Yeah.

Q   At that time, when there is this discussion within the community, did you have any further conversations with the defendant [Raniere] about DOS?

A   Not that I remember, no.


Q    But did you ever have a conversation with the defendant about kind of the aftermath where people were talking about it?

A   Yeah  … into the summer [2017] … I was walking around Knox Woods and so was he, and we…  bumped into each other… walking around Knox Woods. And he said to me….”you can sort of play a movie with like comedic music and people would see it as a comedy, or you can play it with horror music and they’ll see it as a horror film.” I was sort of like, okay, like I felt like he was alluding to what was going on with DOS. And I don’t remember what prompted me to say this to him but I remember he was looking me in the eyes, I said something like, “no, don’t worry, I know you’re a good person,” or something. I just wanted to get him away from me and like appease him in some way, so I said something like that to him.

Q   Do you know whether the defendant ended up staying in the Albany area?

A   No, I know at some point he left. I think it was towards the end of that year, maybe November, I’m not sure exactly when. I just knew that he had left the area. [Raniere left in mid-November for Monterrey, Mexico

Q   Did you know where he went?

A   No.

Monica Duran left Albany after Frank Report made DOS untenable in Nxivm Village

Q   Did anyone else leave the area?

A   People started spending a lot of time away. So the people I remember were like Nicki Clyne and Allison Mack. Clare Bronfman was traveling a lot more. Like people just seemed to be away lot and actually Monica left around that time too, she went back home to Mexico, to her family home I mean.

Q   At some point did DOS garner national media attention?

A   Yes.

Q   Do you remember approximately when that was?

A   I’m not sure when the New York Times article originally came out [October 17) actually, but — yeah, I don’t know exactly the date of that, I’m sorry.

Q   At that time did the defendant release a statement about DOS?

A Yes.  A statement went up on the website… and there was a community meeting too.

Q   What do you remember about the statement?

A   On the website it said something — I don’t remember – I didn’t read the entire thing because at some point he stated that he had no association to the group and I remember that … I just thought that was like cowardly, honestly, because it was a lie.

Q   I’m showing you what’s in evidence as Government Exhibit 1009. Are you familiar with this?

A   Yeah, that’s the letter or statement.

Q   Can I ask you to read the sentence beginning with “Additionally.”

A   It says, “Additionally, I feel it is important to clarify the sorority is not part of Nxivm and that I am not associated with the group.”


Q   At some point did you make a decision to leave the Nxivm community?

A   Yeah, I think it was around March that year [2018] me and John started having conversations about moving back to England and I … got my green card … so that meant I could leave the country and I wanted to get away from the community and so we agreed that we would move back to England.

Q   Did you ever ask for your collateral back?

A   Yeah, around that time or it might have been a bit later, Monica was no longer in Albany, and it was clear she wasn’t coming back. She actually was moving out of her house and we were arranging for her dog to get sent back to her, but her cousin was going to pick it up, so she basically she wasn’t coming back. I asked her where our collateral was and whether Keith had any of it on his phones or computers. Because I think by that point he’d been arrested as well, and I wanted to know what happened to all of our collateral. And she said –she was trying — again, I felt like she was trying to comfort me. She [Monica] said, “Oh, don’t worry, it’s all in a safe somewhere and don’t worry…. if it was on Keith’s phone he got rid of it anyway so no one has it.”


Sylvie got out of Nxivm, perhaps largely because it imploded. Thanks go to Mark Vicente, Sarah Edmondson, Bonnie Piesse, and Catherine Oxenberg – who all worked with me and then later with the New York Times – to unhinge this diabolical organization.

It is interesting that lies and secrets and loyalty to Keith and Nxivm superseded loyalty to family.

John, Sylvie’s husband, did not believe that DOS was true and that my stories about DOS were lies. Yet, Sylvie knew damn well it was true.

John was loyal to Keith. But had he known that Sylvie was in DOS, was a slave to Monica Duran [who he knew] and that Keith had performed oral sex on his wife – I wonder if John would have remained loyal.

Sylvie withheld critical information from her husband which led to him mistakenly believe the cult was still a good thing. Nxivm always expected loyalty and tribute to the leader to supersede loyalty to family.

Raniere put out a statement that he had nothing to do with DOS. Sylvie knew this was a lie, as did many of the DOS slaves.  Sylvie thought him a coward. Lauren would later testify something similar. That he was a coward.

Yet Sylvie still did not tell her husband that this was a lie. Nxivm was Orwellian in its nature.

Here is Keith Raniere’s official statement:

Dear Members,

I am deeply saddened by the recent news relating to our organization, a number of key people involved, and past friends.

The picture being painted in the media is not how I know our community and friends to be, nor how I experience it myself. However, as an organization and as individuals, we felt it was imperative that we hire experts to ensure there is no merit to the allegations.

Over the past months, there have been extensive independent investigations performed, by highly qualified individuals, and they have firmly concluded that there is no merit to the allegations that we are abusing, coercing or harming individuals. These allegations are most disturbing to me as non-violence is one of my most important values.

Additionally, I feel it is important to clarify the sorority is not part of NXIVM and that I am not associated with the group. I firmly support one’s right to freedom of expression, so what the sorority or any other social group chooses to do is not our business so long as there is no abuse. Our experts, a forensic psychiatrist of international repute, psychologists and ex-law enforcement, say members of the sorority are thriving, healthy, happy, better off, and haven’t been coerced. Furthermore, the sorority is proud of what they created and want to share their story. I am confident they will be addressing you very soon.

Today marks our first step forward. It is our hope, as much as we might be part of the problem, to a greater extent, we will humbly seek to be part of the solution. Moving forward, we will communicate better. We will inform better.

Keith Raniere


A most cowardly statement from a cowardly person.

Keith Alan Raniere’s world fell apart on June 5, 2017 when I broke the news of his secret sorority. He tried to lie about his participation in it, but it failed. This ugly monster was on top of the world. But for some reason, he felt it necessary to attack those who left him or that he fired. That strategy worked out quite badly for him in the end.


MK10ART’s painting of Keith Alan Raniere in a setting where he belongs. And he can’t lie his way out of it either.



Other posts in this series:

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

Part #8 Sylvie Joins DOS, Is Assigned to Seduce Raniere, Sends Him Naked Photos and Her Father Finds Them

Part #9  Raniere Calls Sylvie to His Place, Takes Naked Pictures, Then Shocks and Disgusts Her by Going Down on Her

Part #10 Sylvie Describes Disgusting Collateral She’s Forced to Provide Slave Master Monica Duran

Part #11 Sylvie Recruits Slaves and Lies to Them Too – Not Revealing Raniere’s Involvement

Part #12 Sylvie Is Saved From Branding Thanks to Mark Vicente, Sarah Edmondson and the Frank Report

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Frank Parlato

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Mexican Lady
Mexican Lady
3 years ago

Good reporting, Frank!
It is kind of scary when you think that a lot of the upper class from the US and Mexico were in this group and they accepted that women lied and were of course always to blame. Do many in the upper-class share this world view? It makes you feel fortunate to not have to deal with several of those billionaires.

I think also in Keith’s mind he thought he had a network so strong nobody would see through his lies. He had gotten away with it for decades. He truly believed that nobody would believe the women.

3 years ago

” So the people I remember were like Nicki Clyne and Allison Mack”
And she lie…Allison’s travelling is well documented and she was barely there (in NY state in 2017)…
It happened BEFORE the story exploded and for the rest of the year, Allison scheduled this BEFORE the story exploded…

She was invited in different conference…
Actually, in 2017 (since novembre 2016), she was almost half of the year in LA.
Then she was forced to come back when the story exploded.
Then she was partly there during summer (in NY) but left for another couple of week to LA again
In September she was in Paris, then she directly go to South America (i forgot were, i think it was for a convention).
Then end of the 2017 year, she left , again to go to her family in LA…

So saying ‘she was spending more time away’ is not true…before the story exploded, Allison was already avoiding NY…
And when she was there, she was rarely in Knox Wood (she was spending time around NYC and it’s borough)

Now for Nicky, it’s true and she spend most of her time close to raniere (bronfman, i have no idea)

Allison was genuinly considering to leave the cult before it exploded.
But then , she was called back due to this story and she accused (wrongfully for 99% of the story) and forced to stay with the cult.

He behavior during the whole year (and therefore ,BEFORE the story was released) show that she was not willing to continue.
She needed the courage (as her she knew her career would be destroyed by raniere and al.) and didn’t found it in time.

“I’m not sure when the New York Times article originally came out [October 17) actually, but — yeah, I don’t know exactly the date of that, I’m sorry”
And it’s also BS as it was clearly seen that it’s (and i’m sorry to admit it) fr articles that shaked the whole cult…
While many didn’t believed this story (and they were partly right as the story was sort of true…i don’t blame Franky but the people who accused without understanding the WHOLE situation.

Although, i have to say that while i defend Nicole as a victim, she isn’t better than some of the monster as she perfectly knew about the collaterals that Allison had to give, she also saw Allison being abused and starved but yet, she blamed her.
All this while she was doing exactly what Allison was doing.

“Yeah, I think it was around March that year [2018]”
So she left when he was arrested…she try to make it sound she understood anything that was happening but she was following the sorority until the last second…
She definately have no sense of responsability.

“Sylvie got out of Nxivm, perhaps largely because it imploded. Thanks go to Mark Vicente, Sarah Edmondson, Bonnie Piesse and Catherine Oxenberg,”
First part, definately agree…she left at the last second which breaks a bit the “i’m a victim and i couldn’t accept this anymore”

So to say, she knew about the story in october 17 and knew some of it was true…but she decided to go along with it until raniere was arrested (or almost)

But i’m a bit fed up of hearing a “thank to mark , sarah and bonnie”…
None of them deserve a parade!
They all participate and worst, 2 of them left partly because they didn’t got what they wanted!
When you hear bonnie, it’s mostly because of being ostracized (while many victim would have love it…especially when you know the truth)
And she blamed a victim without knowing one thing about what happened
mark, he ignored the suffering of one of the biggest victim (and i maintain it as Allison was not only victimized to the same level as other victim and worst but was also blamed by everyone …all the monster did, raniere, bonny, DA)

Excuse me, but when someone is sane (mentally), if a victim is accused of being the culprit by the real known culprit, should you believe his accusations?
Yet, everybody is using Allison as a scapegoat!

Cat, well, she did try-ish to do something and she managed to get a free pass for her daughter despite the crime she committed.
but she refuse her responsability, used this to make money on the back of many and accused someone who was a victim herself!
Worst yet, she blame that same person for HER (cat’s) mistake!

She also use everything that Allison was a victim (undisputably) to defend her daughter who committed the same crime BUT she refuse to acknowledge this when it come to anyone outside her daughter.
So from her point of view, only india was a victim , only india was brainwashed and this despites the trial showing that Allison was abused further than India!

None of those listed deserve to be seen as heroic…
Some embraced the crime for decades and one of them(cat) is oblivious to the fact and talk about it only based on unsupported rumors.

“John, Sylvie’s husband, did not believe that DOS was true, and that my stories about DOS were lies. Yet Sylvie knew damn well it was true.”
I agree , once again…she knew it yet left at the last second…she wasn’t even accused of being related to anything so she could have left WAY before (like around the time of the NY time article)
But nope…she stayed and not because she was forced by the rumors to stay!

But all this doesn’t change that she was a victim and that the coercion is a powerfull weapon…
The proof is that even those who left early participate some terrible things (one way or another)

Nicole was abused for months before she decided that raniere was going too far…
Jayes almost participate the crime as she was about to recruit…
Sarah was participating way before she was a member of DOS and she was deep in the crime organization (well cult,in reality but you know, DOJ BS)
India was participating fully until she left…
Allison was also forced to participate the crimes until she was arrested.

So i wouldn’t fully blame sylvie (thou she is a fricking liar (like with Allison being gone due to the story…)) as she was coerced.

Frank, you are the first to point that many were scared of the litigation machine and here, you have people (including, i insist, Allison) who were in an even worst position.

While some should have left before, you have to remember the coercive side and this is more than powerful.

This is why he was not just aiming at the victim themselves but their family!
I would have been easy to accept that you made a mistake, take the risk of the release of the collateral if it was concerning only the girls.
But raniere made sure that they would put their family in the line of fire !

Best powerful motivator for not leaving.

Actually, he even (raniere) did it on purpose as with Allison, someone who saw the mails from raniere was talking about this.

Allison told him “i gave you everything!” and he started to ask her to bring her family in the story…
For the record, the mail was in 2013 and it took her 2 years of manipulation,starvation, abuse and drugging before Allison put the name of her family in line.

And mostly (from what she said) because she knew she was stuck forever with them.
She was just hoping it wouldn’t get worst (which it did for her as soon as her collateral was given)

The starvation, sleep deprivation and drugging helped to take control on the mind (and life) of the victims but also made them (and it’s scientifically known) unable to make proper decisions.

It’s usually at that moment, when they are almost death on the ground that he could get the most of them and especially the collaterals.

her family tied collaterals are the “last vow” as the authorities have clearly stated…it’s the moment where Allison was on the ground (and it’s verified in many way by her friends but also visible on her writings)

Anyway, i really thing you should stop trying to find a way to blame anyone but raniere…or if you do , do it on the real long time supporter like lauren , nancy and the other like cafritz,undereiner and such.

Stop trying to find a way to blame the victim because the coercion is an extremely powerful weapon!
For some,it’s more efficient than a knife on the throat…and never forget that this knife was in the hand of raniere.

3 years ago

The same dynamic happens in Amway and other MLM scams when it comes to believing the person at the top. When Scott found out about Amway’s tool scam in 2005, he met on two occasions, in person, with his only active downline at the time, a couple by the name of Tom and Johnnie Beaudin (Johnnie was, and presumably still is, a woman) from Glen Rose, TX. At that point they lived about 100 miles away, as Scott and his wife had moved to Plano, TX, so they met somewhere about half-way between. Scott’s downline decided to stay loyal to their common upline instead of him. They even submitted a form for Scott’s signature to change their line of sponsorship, from Scott to one of their common upline. Scott declined to sign the form, as he wanted them to think through the fact that they had both (actually everybody in any downline) been getting scammed for over a decade, a decade in which Scott put in considerable time, effort, and money to help Tom and Johnnie. This resulted in them using the alternative method, quitting for six months and then rejoining with the upline. The term used in Amway is “edification,” which essentially means kissing a$$ no matter what. Eventually, they joined another group after that and then quit again. All of Scott’s upline quit/got kicked out in 2007 (that’s a story in and of itself), with the exception of the top guy, Dexter Yager, who died a year or two ago.

Mexican Lady
Mexican Lady
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

how come scott no longer posts on FR? Should we put out an amber alert for him? Where is he???

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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