I Don’t Think Karen Unterreiner Had Anything to Do With Enabling Raniere’s Hebephilia

A reader made this comment and within it, he or she posed a reasonable question:

Frank — Are you retracting what you have written previously about Karen Unterreiner?

Previously you wrote, ”Karen Unterreiner has been with Keith Raniere since he was in his 20’s. She has brought him scores of women and helped him have sex with underage girls. ”

Now you are saying, “Karen, who I have come to know, is the last person I would expect to groom anyone underage for Raniere.”

In 2018 you published an article titled, “Karen Unterreiner, Another Evil Woman, Should Not be Forgotten!

From the civil suit. “Thereafter, he and members of his Inner Circle, including Defendants Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman and Karen Unterreiner began a campaign of extreme isolation, harassment and other abuse that lasted years, culminating in her confinement to a room with virtually no human contact for nearly two years, during which her pleas to be let out were either rejected or ignored.”

tubby raniere
Keith Raniere

To answer the question:

Back in 2017 and 2018, during the time when the fate of Keith Alan Raniere and Nxivm were still uncertain, and Karen was still a member of Nxivm and his follower, I wrote a lot about her.

I had known her slightly when I was working as a consultant for Nxivm in 2007 but had not seen her since.  It was my impression then that she must have been part of the grooming operations for Raniere.

In 2019, I met Karen again and spent time with her, asking her a wide range of questions during multiple, multi-hour interviews, many of which were recorded with her permission.

By probing deeply and asking pointed questions – none of which she refused to answer – I came to form another impression of her.  That she was a victim of Keith Raniere, perhaps his first victim.

This is my understanding of Karen today:  She met Keith Raniere at college. She is a little older than him and they were both teenagers when they started dating. They met in the late 1970s.

Karen, Keith Raniere, Pam Cafritz and below Barbara Jeske.

She thought she was his girlfriend for a number of years, while Raniere secretly cheated on her, telling her that they were a monogamous couple. She may have had suspicions that he was not faithful but, she says, it did not become obvious until he started an openly amorous affair with Toni Natalie in the early 1990s.

By that time, Karen was an integral part of Consumers’ Buyline and had dedicated more than 15 years of her life to supporting his plans. For quite a few years in the 1980s, she worked as he stayed home and, as it turns out, bedded women by day in their house – as Karen went out and earned the money for him to have this lifestyle.

They purchased a townhome together – at 3 Flintlock Lane, in a subdivision called Knox Woods in Half Moon, New York.

During these years, the sex-addicted Raniere had not only Karen, but other women believing he was in a monogamous relationship with them. When Ranere fell “madly in love” – or so it seemed – with Toni Natalie, Karen realized they were no longer in a monogamous relationship. In time, Toni became his public girlfriend.

Karen remained loyal to the work and to her friendship with Keith. She also discovered around that time that Keith was also sleeping with Pam Cafritz.

Pam had been around for several years and Keith made it out that Pam was just a friend, and to some, he said that she was lesbian. Karen admitted she learned they were having sex by reading Pam’s diary.

Maybe Karen should have left. She says she honestly believed that Keith, despite his philandering, was a sincere man who truly was interested in the welfare of society and was a rare genius who had the ability – with the right help – to improve society.

She wanted to help him.

Top row: Barbara Bouchey, Keith Raniere, Lauren Salzman, Pam Cafritz. Below Sara Bronfman, [?,] Monica Duran, Karen U and [?].
Pam Cafritz, Karen and Keith Raniere at a party.

Karen says she never helped Keith with his take-home IQ test, but thinks it’s possible that Gina Hutchinson and others may have helped him. She also recalls Keith talking to her about it and believes that Keith did figure out some or all of it himself.

She recalls also that at RPI she and he both took some kind of IQ test and both scored extremely high. There is no doubt that Karen is one of the higher IQ people of Nxivm.

Nancy Salzman, with top teachers of Nxivm: Mark Vicente Alex Betancourt, Karen Unterreiner, Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman, and Emiliano Salinas – all wearing their colored sashes indicating their rank.

For many years, she lived with Raniere knowing he was not monogamous. They shared the same bedroom for years. But anyone who knows Raniere’s ability to lie and compartmentalize, knows that it is possible that he could deceive anyone, especially those who wanted to believe in him and would overlook his deceptions as of less importance as his greater overall mission.

Karen was a believer and Keith was an expert at only revealing what a believer would be willing to accept.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Karen told me that she never saw Keith with any underage girls in any inappropriate way.  She told me so many true and verifiable and insightful things about Keith and Nxivm that I am inclined to believe her.

I believe that Karen would not have approved. Therefore, Keith would have hid that from her.  Overall, Keith did a lot to minimize her knowledge of adult women since she was not particularly happy about him being with other women. She would, she said, have objected to underage girls.

She understands that Pam Cafritz would have thought differently about it, and Pam was the one [not Karen] who secured little 12-year-old Rhiannon’s services as a dog walker – in order to lure her to the home, where Keith could seduce her.

Karen worked by day and was not home when the child was being groomed. Gina Hutchinson and Gina Melita were seduced at their own homes and at Keith’s father’s house in NYC.

Karen said she first learned about the possibility of Keith being a hebephile through the Albany Times Union story, In Raniere’s Shadows.

tubby raniere
Hebephilia is the strong, persistent sexual interest by adults in pubescent children who are in early adolescence, typically ages 11–14. This is not the same thing as pedophilia which is adult sexual attraction for prepubescent children. Jeffrey Epstein and Keith Raniere are often called pedophiles, but actually there interests seemed to be that of a hebephile, not a pedophile.

Karen approached Raniere when the Times Union story was published. She asked him about the police report they published as part of the story that showed evidence that a teenage girl claimed Keith had committed statutory rape against her in 1993, when she was 12-13 years old.


The police report Rhiannon signed. Note that she said she had “sexual intercourse with a man named Keith Raniere. This occurred when I was approximately 12-13 years old and occurred either at Keith’s townhouse at 3 Flintlock Lanes, Clifton Ny or his business located at Rome Plaza Clifton Park, NY”

This police report was made when Karen was with Keith and just prior to the time Keith began his relationship with Toni Natalie.

Keith told Karen, she says, that it was not a true police report but a forgery and that the Times Union paid various people, including Heidi Hutchinson, to make up false allegations about him.

Not only did Karen believe this, but this was the official narrative that successfully persuaded most of his followers to believe it also.

The Times Union was out to get Keith, the narrative went, and the newspaper was willing to spend a lot of money to create this false narrative.  Of course, we know this is another of Keith’s lies but it worked for a time.  In fact, it worked until June 2017 when I broke the branding and blackmail story.

That would not have been persuasive either, except that two longtime Nxivm members, Sarah Edmondson and Mark Vicente, backed the story up when various members questioned them.  In Mexico, Toni Zarattini backed up the story and soon a network of ex-Nxivm members verified the story was true. This led to more than half the members quitting the cult.

Still, a lot of long time devotees stuck with Keith.

Karen was one of them. She stayed until March 2018. In fact, she went to visit Keith in Mexico at his villa in Puerto Vallarta just a few days prior to his arrest. He seemed relaxed there, she said, and was talking about rebuilding Nxivm, once the bad publicity passed. This was Karen’s last visit. She stayed a few days and left.  He was arrested a few days later and she has not seen him since.

During the last few years of her membership in Nxivm, she worked primarily as a proctor – an instructor of Nxivm intensives. She seemed to have found her niche as a life coach and teacher of what she thought was a good program to help people.

Keep in mind that thousands of people took the intensives and never joined the cult per se. Many of those thought they got something good out of the courses and quite a few of them were Karen’s students.  Karen seemed to have taken a gentle, caring approach to teaching and was always accessible to her students.

She also did fairly well financially from it, meaning that she made a middle-class income from it.

I am convinced she thought she was doing good for people and she loved her work. She told me that it was by secretly reading the Frank Report [it was forbidden by Keith and Nancy for Nxivm members to read the Frank Report] she gradually came to realize that Keith was not a good man and that he had deceived her – for more than 40 years.

She was the first to join him, and one of the last to leave, but she left.

During her sojourn with Raniere, I have not found anyone who said she actively worked to destroy them. In this respect, she was different than some of the other women, women who have been described by the term – I believe first coined by Susan Dones – as the “Wolf Pack.”

Was Karen part of the wolf pack? If she was, it was not as virulent as Nancy and Lauren, and others.

Yes, Karen supported Raniere and probably did work on persuading women who were thinking of leaving him to stay. This was, I think, because she thought his teachings had great value. I am not saying it was totally unselfish. It was her living, but I am saying she did not believe it was evil or that Keith was out to destroy the very people she was trying to keep from leaving him.

She did not even realize Keith was trying to destroy her. She did come to realize that though.

I met Karen again in 2019, through another proctor who had left Nxivm. We met at a diner and the first thing Karen said to me was “I want to thank you. You saved my life. It was the Frank Report that made me realize that Keith is a psychopath. ”

Of course, this was a flattering thing to hear. But we turned on the recorder and I began to interview her to determine if she had really left and why she left and how she had come to realize that a man she had been faithful to for 40 years could become in her mind suddenly a monstrously evil man.

I am convinced she is telling the truth. That she believed and then she no longer believed in his goodness.

While she believed in his goodness, she naturally thought she was doing good to promote and support his work.

I don’t care if others believe it, but I don’t think she had anything to do with enabling Keith’s hebephilia.

So to the extent that I formerly speculated that she might have done that, I do retract it.

Lastly, and this is interesting to me, and the commenter at the beginning of this post suggested it: Karen, who is one of more than a dozen Nxivm members being sued by the Nxivm plaintiffs represented by Neil Glazer, is accused of having some responsibility in the captivity of Daniella.

There was no testimony by Daniella in court and Daniella never said anything to me during my interviews with her about Karen having any role in her captivity, which lasted almost two years.

Daniella spoke of Keith and Lauren Salzman having the main role in this bizarre episode. Curiously, it may have been the publication of the Albany Times Union stories in Feb. 2012, that may have led to Daniella’s leaving.

She decided to go on her own, it seems, but Keith, I am told, was very eager to ensure she left and may have encouraged her father, Hector, to pave the way for her getting back home.

















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Frank Parlato


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  • In the TV program “The Morning Show” with Jennifer Aniston, there is sexual “abuse” at the workplace and no one “knew” about it.
    Like Karen saying she did not “know” about it. You don’t hang around a psychopath for 40 years and never suspect anything is askew.
    Please! There were no signs of anything bent? Oh really…

  • The man and woman in the background were the owners of Purchase Power, the company Keith almost destroyed.

    I completely accept everything Frank has said in this article. It is easier than you think to be betrayed and tricked – for four years or forty. Glad for those who think it could never happen to them.

  • Karen is a rat. She had him first, she had him the longest, and she betrayed him.
    Judas is a better name for her.

  • When considering all of this info about Karen having been uninvolved in the abusive or criminal actions of her group of associates, one would think that her good character would be known to the sewers (soo-eees, is that a hog call?) okey-dokey, plaintiffs – and that she would be remembered by the ones involved in the civil lawsuit as a non-Wolf.

    $o why pick on the Good Karen?

    One can see that the Karens of the world are kinda screwed these days. The Karens, for now, are 2020 version of Becky with the good hair. But come on!

    Karen is not a f*cking Karen!

    At least she passes muster in the updated gospel according to Frank. He investigated!

    And the very idea that Toni Natalie is a “plaintiff” in this situation is downright comical, a genuine theater of the absurd move. I mean, who screwed whom? Let’s hear the details.

    Hum hum hum a-hum. Anybody hear those crickets?

    What would be the reasoning behind naming Karen Unterreiner for any damages in this lawsuit? Wouldn’t it be a lot more pragmatic to leave her out of this? Here, Karen could be a fly in the ointment.

    • Agree with you, Shivani, on the absurdity of Toni NataLIE being a “plaintiff.”

      If Karen ever had a chance of claiming her stake — however bloodied — as Keith’s CBI, Concept School, ESP, any Raniere business co-creator or part partner, it was Toni who first snuck in and stole that from her after Karen legit earned it. Karen invested money, time, sweat and tears partnering in business with Keith. She first supported his cheating ass working as an insurance actuary, while Keith was ‘conceiving’ their future business based on both their a High-Q genius-ness and Socratic, NLP sales teaching techniques. The AMWAY phase was more R & D on how to structure a pyramid scheme than earn income but Karen ran Keith’s downline cell which did also support their household. Pam Caffritz’s $10k month allowance contributed there in time but Pam never usurped Karen’s partnership with Keith on the business end. Kristin Keeffe was always happy to share for her fair share. But Toni demanded the scepter to herself, knocking Karen clean out of any hard-earned partnership role and tried to cash in (to this day) on her way out. Toni, of course, cleared the way for Queen Nancy while Keeffe secretly snared the Avatar seed to secure her standing.

      Karen became an outcast, like some kind of spirit that lingers around but has no influence on matter. I’ll buy that she was not truly privy to the later crimes, trouble is the earlier ones were just as criminal and a lot of the subsequent crimes were done to cover-up those when “transparency” — as even the Dalai Lama called for — might have and might still change lives for the better. Or even save them.

      You all owe the true, innocent victims in this that much.

  • And another thought you may or may not see fit to print:

    The waning sympathy I’ve felt for Karen all these many decades is rooted in my belief that she is a deeply hurt, emotionally damaged and I’m certain physically/sexually abused woman who did worship the ground Keith walked on from the time he hooked her at age 17…supposedly.

    As expedient as it may be for one to welcome a tad of amnesia, early Alzheimer’s, senility, whathaveyou — under the unenviable circumstances poor, homely, forgotten Karen finds herself in — I’m sorry, it’s just not gonna fly with anyone who knows anything about NXIVM.

    Here’s the truth: Karen was sold on Keith’s beliefs in polygamy, white male superiority, rape, statutory rape — all the misogynistic philosophies Keith espoused. And made no secret of to either his most trusted, inner-circle or anyone who signed a confidentiality agreement. The proof is in the pudding — in the Rational Inquiry “tech,”
    the courses. One thing I really admire about Catherine Oxenberg’s book is that she tells on herself, what she witnessed and participated in — Jen sleeping on the floor over the breach with her husband, for instance — that SHOULD have set off and internal alarm but didn’t.

    I believe Karen and others rather forcibly ‘internalized’ the psychotic misogyny and Chauvinism they mirrored in Keith’s shattered psyche.

    But for Karen, anyone, to feign utter ignorance and innocence —especially now that a 10 year old could fit together these NXIVM jigsaw pieces — and continue to try to recreate a new reality from the past is really just too pathetically tragic to comprehend.

    Take it as you will, Karen. It’s meant in as much love as I can muster without hating.

    “To thine own self be true,” for starters.

    • Your comments are both lucid and sobering.

      Furthermore, I get your residual anger toward men given what you’ve gone through losing your sister, being investigated by Nx operatives, and struggling to be taken seriously.

  • So Karen U. knew nothing about Pam Crafitz procuring young girls for Raniere’s sick sexual desires for over 15 years?

    I find the very idea of her naivety to be absurd, and believe her to be disingenuous.

    Frank, pretend you don’t know anything about Keith Raniere and I told you all the facts regarding Karen U. and

    …Then I asked you if you believe Karen U. is unaware of the events involving the young girls.

  • Thank you for this article, Frank. I’ve wanted to hear from Karen for awhile, but you telling us what Karen said works for me.

    I didn’t know Karen extremely well, but I always thought she was great. Quiet, almost timid, smart, with a good sense of humor, and enjoyable to be around. I wholeheartedly believe this article. I commend Frank for his open-mindedness. I commend Karen for opening up and talking so much with Frank.

    To me, this is the key phrase from the article – “Karen would not have approved. Therefore, Keith would have hid that from her.” This idea of Keith compartmentalizing keeps showing up on Frank Report. However, no matter how clear this compartmentalization becomes to some, there will be FR commenters who still want Karen and every NXIVM female to go down in flames.

  • Of course, the TU did not pay me.

    Further, I approached the TU — entirely independently I’ll add —not vice-versa.

    They were already covering NXIVM but did not appear to know anything about the statutory rape crimes. My only interest was to help prevent other girls and young women from meeting a similar fate as my deceased little sister, Gina Hutchinson, who was raped, groomed, used as a guinea pig, gaslit, harassed and, finally, suicided (or murdered according to Frank) by NXIVM from at least the age of 14.

    As NXIVM, Canaprobe, Interfor and God knows what other PI goons Clare had sifting through my bank accounts and panty drawers well know, I submitted about $200 total to the TU for some expense reimbursements accrued over 2 years — expenses like court transcript copying from the Precision trial. The reimbursement was a formality, a legal precaution TU insisted on bc I was working as a columnist for a different, Los Angeles publication at the time covering matters unrelated to NXIVM.

    Karen has always had my sympathy but I’m completely dumbfounded at some of what she’s saying. I believe she is deeply, desperately self-deceived despite her intelligence.

    Karen was Keith’s original partner in something they called “The Concept School” — a “mentoring” program whereby, it’s now apparent, Keith was covertly luring and grooming young girls for sex and servitude from the get-go.

    Karen’s high IQ, RPI credentials and endorsement, promotion of Keith as an ethical genius, a “renunciate,” was at least half of his successful recruitment of the ‘students’ early on. Karen never let on that she and Keith were romantically involved, in fact, I recall her denying it.

    There are dozens of instances I could recount whereby Karen apparently acted as a knowing enabler, accomplice, accessory what have you but as it stands today, it appears NO ONE but no one — from the NDNY DOJ (where these crimes were referred for prosecution by the EDNY in 2018) to Lifetime (who falsely claimed Camilla was 18 not 15 years old when she was raped) to even Frank here — really wants to “go there” in any meaningful way.

    It’s a shame bc that — Keith’s psychopathic sex perversion and the justification, enabling of that — is at the hard core of the entire NX story. Same as Jeffrey Epstein. Keith is just a poor man’s version.

    • Damn. “The Concept School” sure sounds like it should be a known concept in these here Frank Report parts… Maybe if we had one or two people who knew anything about it and were willing to share…

  • –…how she had come to realize that a man she had been faithful to for 40 years could become in her mind suddenly a monstrously evil man.

    40 years it took her to realize this and she supposedly quite high on an IQ test? I guess that kind of shows the value of IQ tests. LOL.

    Raniere is clearly incapable of love. In fact, he was so obviously sexually obsessed and parasitic over so many years you really had to be blinded by your emotions not to see it.

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com