Guest View: Rebutting Suneel’s View of Certain Legal Issues in Raniere Case

Keith Raniere has had a checkered past.
Jane Smith, who says she is lawyer in another country, shared some interesting thoughts about a recent post by Suneel Chakravorty, a friend and supporter of Keith Raniere.  [Editor’s comments are in bold and in brackets.]
By Jane Smith

I fundamentally disagree but am happy to hear these views.

[In Suneel’s post, he said that there seems to be a belief in the U.S. that “the one thing we must never do is question a victim.”] 

Wrong. We can question victims. We do it all the time. Some people, usually male, might like to think every rape victim is always believed and no man is ever guilty of sex with a 15-year-old, but most men know there are real cases where girls are harmed and that some but not most men can be extremely predatory.

KR [Keith Raniere] specialized in victim-blaming and fed into a general view some men like to hear that men get a bad deal (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t) but KR obtained a lot of male support by feeding into the line that all men are exploited financially and probably in other ways by weak, manipulative women.

In trials, we question victims all the time, but we don’t only need their testimony. We prosecute violence against a spouse (male or female) even if the other spouse refuses to give evidence because there can be other external evidence. There is plenty of evidence that is not from the victims which proves KR broke the law — even if you leave victim testimony entirely out of it.

[Suneel addresses Keith’s arrest in Mexico by six armed, masked men with machine guns. He essentially says that, at the very least, it shows that we “have a government willing to kidnap its own citizen.”] 

 On the first point about Mexico, most people can see there was nothing done wrongly there. As for golden moments with his son, I thought he packed off the mother so he could have a group oral-sex session with other women, and he had not paid child support ever to his other child.

He is hardly father of the year. He is in jail because he had sex with what, in law, is a child. He could have easily only had sex with women over 18. He put his love of very young girls above much else and pays the price.

[Suneel wrote, “Abortion records of some of his romantic partners should not have been introduced at trial and I believe this is one of the issues of the appeal that is soon to be filed.”] 

I don’t agree it was wrong to bring up abortion records of his partners. It was part of a pattern that he persuaded women not to have children and strung them along for years to a point when I think several were too old ever to have a child – in a sense he took away their chance ever to do so, to lead a normal life – not a crime, but indicative of how awful the man is.

[Suneel wrote “jury members typically wore comfortable, casual clothing, which would make sense for individuals sitting for 6-10 hours per day.” So why then, on the day the jury began deliberation, did they all “wear their ‘Sunday Best,’ as if they were going to church or a hanging?  Had the jury already made up their minds before they began deliberating?” Suneel also opined that “It would not be possible to determine the facts of a six-week trial in less than three hours.”]

The fact the jury decided quickly is not unusual, and there is no requirement for them to spend a lot of time. Mentioning the clothes they wore is the kind of small irrelevant point those deluded by a cult tend to mention. The bottom line is KR was prosecuted for about 1/1000th of his wrongs only.

[Suneel wrote of how DOS and other of his companies were being “unfairly” labeled as a pyramid scheme in court.]

 Pyramid scheme – DOS where women brought other women in etc. etc. and there was the collateral – I don’t see any problem with calling it a pyramid scheme – it was that.

[Suneel refers to the “sexy” texts from Nicole, a woman who later claimed to be a victim of sex trafficking, and the allegations of forced labor and identify theft.] 

When he talks about the texts, he does not really understand how women caught in a controlling relationship like this (or young boys at boarding school abused by a male teacher – these issues are gender-neutral at heart) have to do just to get by – yes, they might send a sexy text as required by the person controlling and owning them – that does not mean the woman or young boy is not a victim.

Forced labor – he plays that down, but it is was pretty bad, and salaries not paid which had been agreed [upon] and that kind of thing, never mind the loss of business of those who left and had to leave their coaching business behind. 

The FLDS making 12-year-old boys leave school and work all the time for just about no pay, or The Order having all member funds go to the group etc. is typical in cults, and unless we go after them for forced labor, it will never change.

[One of the charges against Raniere is that he used the late Pam Cafrtitz’s credit card. Pam, who lived with Raniere for about 30 years, left her entire estate to him. She had no children.]

Why would anyone use a credit card of someone who had died? I don’t understand why this is regarded as a wrong part of the decision. Why would you even take money from the estate of a follower? Give it to her parents or siblings instead, like any decent person.

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  • Thanks for the comments below. I just wrote it quickly below the original post with my quick thoughts. It is interesting to hear the views of those still committed to KR. I have no skin in the game as it were, other than a general interest as my sister was in a cult a long while back and I found KR interesting (and indeed the FLDS group/Warren Jeffs).

    I don’t really have time to go through every point. More generally it is very hard to prosecute cults as they skirt around sometimes on the right and sometimes the wrong side of the law and, therefore, the only way to get any kind of justice tends to be to find the few areas where they broke the law: e.g., sending girls from Utah to Canada to get married at 15 or having people work without pay or whatever the particular group does wrong and yet, in a sense, you are skirting on the margins as the greater wrong is the mind manipulation and the way it ultimately damages people. The interesting bit is where you draw that line between free will and mind control.

    The bottom line is many a cult leader has gotten in trouble because he is lead by his nether regions not his brain – and had he just married one wife and stayed faithful, the particular cult concerned probably would have avoided all trouble. Perhaps the main religions’ principles on fidelity are not too off the mark at the end of the day…. although even that we could challenge – the Roman Catholic code of canon law has age 14 or older if the country’s laws require that – for girls for marriage.

  • “Guest View” writes above – “He is in jail because he had sex with what, in law, is a child”. This is a very important point you make. That the most damning evidence is that he raped a child. This is the very reason the court should rule a mistrial. Your claim is false in that there was no rape charge brought. There was also no testimony given at trial for this claim. In fact, there were no sex crimes claimed by the prosecution against Mr. Raniere at the trial. So why do all of the inmates, news media and Frank Report readers believe he was convicted of sex crimes? Because people, who did not testify, were allowed to read victim impact statements without being questioned and in no way could be held responsible for any lies. In fact 13 of 15 so called victims were allowed to enter their information without risk of perjury or cross examination to expose any potential lies. Even if they are all telling the truth…don’t you agree that this process cannot be just?

    • I will leave it to others to respond to your broader questions. But I do want to correct your erroneous statement that “…there were no sex crimes claimed by the prosecution against Mr. Raniere at the trial”. Perhaps you are not aware – or perhaps you’ve simply forgotten – that Keith was, in fact, convicted on Count Five: Sex Trafficking Conspiracy, Count Six: Sex Trafficking of Nicole, and Count Seven: Attempted Sex Trafficking of Jay. Those, by any reasonable definition, are “sex crimes”.

  • Jane Smith, you mention in your article that Keith is in jail because he had sex with a minor. Are you aware that there is not a single charge against Keith for having sex with a woman let a alone a minor?

    • Camilla was a minor. He had formed his pedo tendencies long before he had sex with her when she was 15 and took photos of her genitals. You may think this is fine, [perhaps your definition of minor is someone much younger?] but it isn’t. It is against the law. Stop with the fibbing.

  • Asking Albert you structure your comments so much like another Nxium loyalist with a silly name who pretended to be just a neutral soul.

    Is this your “rational thinking” technique?

    While I have you here. What kind of empty person tries to take something as ineffable as a human soul down to a one size fits all as dry as a dinosaur bone formula?

    What a life void of art, magic, awe, beauty and so much that makes the human experience divine. Maybe the same person who claims all women suffer the same massive character defects. Really? 50% of the. World population is all the same?

    I would never, ever, say all Mexican people suffer from the same character defects. Or all men. Individuals. Unique. Not defined in character by a vagina. Or skin color. Or religion. Look into it. It is a concept most of us are at least glancingly familiar with in 2021. Catch up!

    • I agree with you that the human soul is to be guarded and protected more than anything else. I wonder how you think you’re protecting the human soul when you call someone empty or when you make fun of them.

      People are posting on this site out of their own free will and with their own opinions. To mock someone for doing so does not protect the human soul. Also, Mexicans, black people, women, men: All these groups have things in common that make them distinct from other groups. This is the nature of culture.


      • So, you’ve met all black people? All women? “rationally thinking” how else could you know your “data” to be true?

        Have you even met one woman from every single country to even begin to state definitely that they all possess the exact same cultural “character defects”?

        Besides, who made you the judge of all other people? Have you met all black people? Do you not understand that in addition to being [redacted]? Holding the belief that all women are dishonest, unreliable, weak, etc. Is disgusting. And there is a difference between mocking someone’s beliefs (that are insulting dangerous stereotypes about others) and mocking the person. Because I don’t know you. See how that works? But I do know your beliefs (now). I was referring to Keith. Are you Keith? But if the shoe fits – wear it! No one is mocking a person for posting [redacted]. Do you Vanguard diehards not cast aspersions on the judge, prosecution and jury? Constantly? Every day?

        Why is that okay by your purported reality?

        Are you not worried about the care and protection of their souls as you malign their character daily? And how do you think you were born into the world? By one of those weak, unreliable, dishonest women lugging pounds of you around inside of herself for months before being in agonizing pain beyond anything you can imagine and practically split in half so you could arrive safely.

        How selfish of her. How uncommitted. You do that for someone else and then get back to me with opinions on women not being strong. Not being giving. Not being dependable.

  • “There is plenty of evidence that is not from the victims which proves KR broke the law — even if you leave victim testimony entirely out of it.”

    I would like to know what is the “plenty of evidence” referred to here. I have read the transcripts and for me, I am trying to find evidence of crimes other than victim testimony (besides the hard drive which I understand may have been tampered with by someone and should not have been admitted into evidence according to legal/tech experts.)

    Can you elaborate?

  • Odd rebuttal. If generalizations like these are all there is to incriminate Raniere, I am deeply concerned that there are no rational, data based analyses (based upon Raniere’s actual actions) supporting the prosecution’s charges against Raniere.

    • You don’t understand how your response marks you as a NXIVM true believer, do you?

      Living in the echo chamber of The World’s Smartest Man™ for so many years has damaged your ability to hear your language from the perspectives of people not in your tiny bubble.

      You guys are funny.

      Insecure narcissism is a bad look.

      • NXIDVMDVM – please don’t misunderstand a logical response with supporting Raniere. It’s insulting!

  • Nicole did more than send sexy texts to Keith and this was not done because she was in a controlling relationship. She was after him for a while. She has a lurid sexual past, hit on many men in the community and designed the sexual challenge for herself that was between her and a woman that somehow passed as a sex trafficking charge in court.

    Regarding using his partner of decades’ credit card once she passed, he did not “give her money to her family like a decent person” because those were not her wishes. She left her estate to Keith.

    • This is shameless victimization. Keith is a manipulative, grifting, jackass who abuses his intelligence to help conjure up these sexual scenarios with the help of his minion women in such a way that verbal “consent” is achieved through fraud, coercion, deception, or whatever other twisted mechanisms that may or may not be laced with some truth, so he can eventually get into the pants of a woman he desires. He thinks that no one can see through his bad intent which is obvious to anyone with a functioning mind who isn’t isolated in his controlled, cult environment. If he had any sincerity in his heart–if he even has one–he would be straightforward and wouldn’t have to set up these “long game”, contrived scenarios, but he knows he can’t get the sex, control, and jollies he desires without it.

      The recent, constant posting in these comments throwing gaslighting doubt onto everything in opposition to the behavior of Vangrifter by obvious members of NXIVM is getting tiresome. The worst thing you can do to help–and I use that term very loosely–a narcissist is to continuously give him a platform to speak at the expense of his victims.

    • “really?”. Why do all you nxians know each other’s sexual pasts? It reminds me of this conversation documented in court.

      Mark tells Keith he’s worried Allison Mack is emaciated. Vanguard responds, “she’s still getting her period”. You know that is not a normal conversation for master Raniere and another male to be having about a woman in their community, right?

      Why are you so quick to judge Nicole’s (alleged) sexual history, but not Vanguard, the home pornography collector? If you want us to accept hearsay about Nicole – it’s fair to accept all the newspaper accounts of Keith’s many teenage rape victims. Correct? Rationally inquiring? Male and females getting equal treatment and all!

      Your attempt to sully Nicole by saying she was going after other men, only proves she did not fancy Keith the beast. Well done!

  • Jane Smith-

    Thank you for taking the time to write a thorough analysis and breakdown of Suneel’s last article.

    I enjoyed the good read!

    Please write more. 😉

  • Uff I was very interested in the title of the article, I was hoping to find an impartial analysis of the subject, but I only read opinions expressed from a partial point of view, it would be interesting to know other points of view of experts on the matter

  • I’m sorry but when I read the title I was so interested in actually learning an unbiased lawyer’s opinion on Suneel’s article but sadly I have to say I did not find any benefit from this, more than a lawyer she’s speaking from her personal points of view I believe. Frank, it would be great if you can get a lawyer to actually comment on Suneel’s article as I do believe Suneel made some really interesting points. I’m not a defender of Keith but I’m interested in learning more of both sides of the story and then having an expert in law comment on it.

  • Some people, usually male, [that’s sexist, do you have some stats on that claim? I think more women know other women are habitual liars, that’s why they are more critical of other females] might like to think every rape victim is always [the word “never” makes more sense in this sentence] believed and no man is ever guilty of sex with a 15-year-old, but most men [there you go again with the sexist comment] know there are real cases where girls are harmed and that some but not most men can be extremely predatory.

    He is in jail because he had sex with what, in law, is a child. [Raniere was not charged with, nor found guilty of having sex with an underage girl.]

    I don’t agree it was wrong to bring up abortion records of his partners. It was part of a pattern that he persuaded women not to have children and strung them along for years to a point when I think several were too old ever to have a child – in a sense he took away their chance ever to do so, to lead a normal life – not a crime, but indicative of how awful the man is. [It makes no difference what Raniere’s opinion was in the abortion evidence, the women probably agreed to have it introduced as evidence, Raniere had zero authority to decide what is admissible or not.]

    Pyramid scheme – DOS where women brought other women in etc. etc. and there was the collateral – I don’t see any problem with calling it a pyramid scheme – it was that. [Neither the author or the DOJ has a clue what a pyramid scheme is.]

    Why would you even take money from the estate of a follower? [How about because she gave it to him?]

    Are you related to Claviger, both of you are very weak lawyers, I certainly wouldn’t want you representing me.

  • WOW!! Jane Smith!! This was something else!! I am a huge fan!!

    I love Frank Report and how creative you guys are in involving your audience. This was super cool.
    Thank you!

    Happy new year, Frank Report. Kudos for all the great reporting!

      • That’s why AlisonWater I enjoy reading your comments despite the fact I usually disagree.

        You are the only one who argues from the other side intelligently and makes me question myself. I believe in self-reflection.

        Thank you

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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