part 2: Karen Unterreiner Tells Fascinating Story to Sarah and Nippy

The Karen Unterreiner interview for ‘A Little Bit Culty’ with Sarah Edmonson and Anthony Ames is informative for those who study the ESP/NXIVM phenomenon.

Here is part 2 of our edited and abbreviated version from ‘A Little Bit Culty.’

Read part 1.

Listen to the podcast to hear the complete interview.


Consumers’ Buyline was huge. The company doubled in size every two months. It was growing so fast, which is what supposedly scared the different groups, because we were shipping so fast. We could have swayed the vote in New Jersey.

It was definitely multi level marketing. Every member was both a customer and a distributor. Everything was set up so that you bought products and then you sold memberships.

They had a slogan, ‘just get two people’. A lot of money was made by the people at the top of the tree, and very little money at the bottom.

Toni Natalie

There was something in between we started around 1994.

Toni Natalie was involved. Keith started going into some health care products, vitamins and things like that.

He and Toni created National Health Network, which was basically stores that sold vitamins and things like that. Toni was developing that with him. It wasn’t doing that great. It wasn’t growing very fast.

Keith met Nancy, so there was a little overlap. National Health still existed when Nancy and Keith atrted ESP.

It’s funny, Toni Natalie’s book is called The Fall of NXIVM – but Toni wasn’t actually in NXIVM, she was in ESP for about six months to a year.

Keith would meet Nancy at the National Health Network, so there was a little overlap. Nancy and Keith were starting up ESP, and he must have known that the business with Toni was not going well, because he was starting up the next one, before National Health crashed.


Keith Raniere and Harem

Keith Raniere with some of his devoted followers. First row Sara Bronfman — Monica Duran, Karen Unterreiner,– Second row, Barbara Bouchey, Keith Raniere, Lauren Salzman, Pam Cafritz

‘These women, they all thought they were the one

You can tell, when you listen to some of the women – Toni Natalie or Barbara Bouchey, or me, up to a point, they all thought they were the one.

Some still don’t realize that while Keith was with them, there was a lot of other sex going on – a lot. Abortions, and everything else, were happening while he was with them.

Some of them still don’t get it.

Barbara Bouchey got that he was with other women while he was with her, but she doesn’t understand the extent. That’s a hard thing for many of us to own — that we were never special to him.

Some people knew coming in, but some of us thought we were the special one, or that he had left the others. That’s one of the saddest things, because I know there are people whose healing isn’t full because they haven’t realized that yet.

Colleagues at Consumers’ Buyline and at NXIVM, Keith Raniere and long-time girlfriend Pam Cafritz in the early 1990s.

I listened to some of them. They don’t quite get how bad it was. Keith had threesomes, foursomes.

The worst part is what they call ‘the devaluation phase’, because you’re replaced. He became a threesome with Pam and Mariana, at one point.

Mariana had stolen a cake out of the fridge. So Keith, and I set up a camera to catch her. You know, it was like a joke. But I looked at the film, and I see Pam and Mariana kissing in the kitchen. I show it to Keith.

Keith then disappears in their room for two hours. I felt so humiliated. He got turned on by seeing them kissing on the film, and then he just went off with them and left me sitting there.

Nancy Salzman AKA Prefect

Nancy Kept Women in Line

So you’re always trying, thinking, “well, maybe if I’m good enough. Maybe if I get skinny enough. Maybe if I ‘whatever’ enough.”

You’re left struggling and trying to get that back.

We also couldn’t talk about our issues. You couldn’t mention any displeasure with Keith. You couldn’t mention any kind of unhappiness.

If you did, then the others would come, the other women would get you like Barbara. Pam wouldn’t attack.  Then later, you had Nancy.

If you saw a red flag with Keith, and you were upset about it, you went to Nancy and got an EM.

Nancy basically helped you feel bad for seeing the red flag or having a problem with it, and she got you to feel okay with it.

Nancy Salzman in The Vow

When she describes in the Vow how she was sent in to put us back in line – she acted like it was something that was bad for her, which it was. I understand that. But she doesn’t look at what she did to us. The lies she told us.

One of the worst things anybody said since I got out was ‘Well, the women around Keith were thriving’. I cried.

We had to make believe we were happy. I was always in trouble because my ‘state’ was too low. I was depressed.

“You’re harming Keith, because your state is too low” is what we were told. You’re supposed to act like you’re happy about your situation. But we were not – none of us. We were pretending. Nobody was happy.

NXIVM taught Executive Success Programs.

Beginning of NXIVM

I quickly went in and started developing the computer system that held the thing together – that charged people, and did basically everything.  That was my role. That and a little administration, because it was tied to my computer system in the beginning.

At some point, I couldn’t deal with running the operations of the company anymore because Keith had me running things with my  hands tied.

You couldn’t compensate people for work. You couldn’t hire people to do things. You had to hire people we knew – who were not competent – because we didn’t want to hire people that we didn’t know because he was paranoid.

It became an impossible job. At one point, they offered me to give the administrative work to Clare Bronfman. I said, ‘Sure, take it’.

We don’t know what was going on in his head. I saw it at the end. As things were falling apart, I was putting my fingers in all the holes of the dam. He kept us busy, trying to keep things going in such a bad environment.

You were spinning your wheels all the time, trying to make things happen. You always felt like you were told it was you – you’re the reason why things weren’t succeeding.

So you felt bad about yourself and you’re very busy – that’s someone who’s really controllable. I think that was the motivation.

He wanted it to be a mess, so that he could keep things spinning, and also keep us feeling like we’re shit. Because it’s not his fault that things are a mess. It’s ours.

Keith changed his ‘ideas’ depending on who he talked to.

Keith’s Inconsistent ‘Theories’

Keith told different stories to different people.

Like I’m a scientist, my religion is science. Then you’ve got people who are very much the opposite. When he talked to them, he’d buy into the ‘energy’ and all that kind of stuff and made it look like I was just spiritually deficient.

So, whoever he was with, you saw the discrepancies in how he talked to people.

In some ways, Mariana saved me. Because Keith and I spoke about integrity. We talked about you can’t move up the stripe path unless you earn your way.

When it came to Mariann, that discrepancy between what he said and what he did really stood out – because it was right in front of me.

He let her throw a temper tantrum and feed into it. I’d be like: ‘With everyone else, that’s a bad thing. But with her it was okay.’

She was promoted a number of times when she didn’t have the qualifications because he wanted it to happen. There were just things in there that weren’t consistent.

Too many inconsistencies around Mariana that just didn’t go along with what he was teaching. I could not come up with a rationalization for what he was doing.

He’d say: “It’s more complicated.” That would be his answer. “It’s more complicated than your little puny brain can understand.”


About the author

Paul Serran


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  • I’m sorry, but I have been trying to to find the second and third parts to Karen’s interview, but I can only find the first, which I already heard. What am I missing?

  • Yes..his main complication being that Marianna had the goods on him…knowing he had sexual relationships with both her sisters .one being underage ..and their abortions…he had to give her what she wanted..including the baby…for fear of her exposing him. Don’t think she was any more special than any of you…she had much more ammunition!!

  • I appreciate her insights. You can see there was nothing unique about what Keith did to Karen and other women. It’s straight from the malignant narcissist playbook.

  • Frank,

    Wasn’t Karen one of the few cult members who was aware that Daniela was being kept isolated in a room despite her suicidal ideation and strong desire to be freed?

    Didn’t Karen (to use the Nxivm verbiage) “work with Daniella” in order to keep her compliant?

    Frank, if you know some redeeming facts about Karen or extenuating circumstances maybe you should make them widely known? Like many other commenters the picture Karen is painting of herself isn’t very positive to this observer.

    If Karen was around heavily during the crimes against Rihannon why didn’t Karen find it odd and concerning that her shared boyfriend (whom Karen knew to be a total perv who couldn’t control his sexual impulses) was spending regular alone time with a random 12 year old girl?

    It’s absolutely wonderful that Karen woke up to the truth about her Vanguard. But it seems there’s a lot of unanswered questions about Karen’s time in this criminal organization.

    • I interviewed Karen extensively. She woke up and realized Raniere is a louse – after 40 years.

      She told me the Frank Report helped her. She said he had to hide it on her phone for no one was allowed to read the Frank Report, but many did.

      I will get into Karen’s journey. I do not believe she was a villain but a good person who thought she was doing good things for people. Maybe she was.

      As far as Daniela is concerned, I do not know if she knew about her being in the room. The curious thing is that the parents, Adrian, Camila, and Mariana, all knew about it and even acted as enforcers for Raniere.

      They all thought it was a good thing for Dani – because Keith said so. So maybe Karen thought that too. Like Daniela is messed up [Keith said so] and we have to help her get better.

      Of course, I do not agree, but I understand the dynamic. If I were around, I would have told Keith in the strongest language to let Dani out or force her to get out of the room.

      When I was a consultant, I had no hesitancy telling him what I thought. Of course, I did not take any NXIVM courses – so I was not beholden to him in tribute.

      At the time, I did not know his perfidy.

      • Thank you for your response, Frank. Am open to hearing more about Karen and possibly understanding her better.

      • Frank-

        You left out the part when Pam was acting as Raniere’s procurer of young women.

        So Karen didn’t know anything how very convenient.

      • Frank I think you are right about Karen. All that knew the truth about Dani thought that Keith knew best. This is what I learned anyway listening. Others thought she had gone back to Mexico, and those who knew differently let people believe that.

  • Karen Unterreiner seems like a real winner. Willingly spent her life with Loser Raniere, now she is a victim? She is dumber than pocket-lint.

    • I agree. Somehow she seems reporting about her decades with Keith as if it’s somebody else’s life.Hello! It was you Karen! You were there. It’s your life. Your decisions. Incredible dumb women, all of them. Dumb and dumber, the sequel: with an all female cast…….

      • I think perhaps the missing part is that she believed in his mission. She believed he had a noble person but was just unable to be with one woman. The missing ingredient, I think, is that he got the women to believe his mission would change the world for the better.

        • All of them collectively
          Thats why people should STOP throwing them all under the bus & wish them well.
          Happy NEW Year

        • IDK ’bout that Frank. Let’s get some perspective here. Karen was with keith for two decades even before this so-called mission to change the world for the better.

          She was with him since college and witnessed keith con folks through an illegal MLM that made a few rich and a lot poor, like all MLMs do. keith was a shitty student that lied about damn near everything in his life. Karen said he was sticking his dick into any hole he could find, and when NXIVM came around, she let the lie persist that the disreputable rake was actually a celibate renunciate, which she allowed to be promoted to prospective members. I don’t see anything noble about that.

          I’m very glad she woke up and is speaking out like this, I will always root for that, but there’s only so far I’m willing to go.

        • If she believed in this asshole’s mission, that just proves she’s dumb as pocket lint.

          Only fools join cults. These people’s testimonials, their lame attempts at excuse-making, lay out their foolishness in detail.

          • I’m sorry, but I peacefully disagree with you that only fools join cults. Most people who have come to escape cults that I have had the pleasure of chatting with (including Karen), are very intelligent people. Cults don’t want a bunch of idiots doing the dirty work for them. Look at Mike Rinder and Leah Remini and so many others from Scientology. Sarah and Nip are not idiots. Just good people with the hope to make things better and get lulled into thinking they are doing the greater good.

  • A more pleasant story than reading about the NXIVM clowns.
    British 2 Year-Old Tries Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the First Time!!

  • If you saw a red flag with Keith, and you were upset about it, you went to Nancy and got an EM.

    Nancy basically helped you feel bad for seeing the red flag or having a problem with it, and she got you to feel okay with it.

    Sarah, Nippy : Did u hear that?
    Why did u drop Nancy from the civil suit? Is it because you also gave EM’s?

    • Did Nancy brainwash them with NLP? What was the goal of “EMs”??

      Were EMs to help NXIVM members? Or, were EMs to change thoughts, feelings, morals and actions?


      “… If you saw a red flag with Keith, and you were upset about it, you went to Nancy and got an EM. Nancy basically helped you feel bad for seeing the red flag or having a problem with it, and she got you to feel okay with it. …”

      “… When she describes in the Vow how she was sent in to put us back in line …” Huh?

      “… The lies she told us. …”

      “… We had to make believe we were happy. I was always in trouble because my ‘state’ was too low. I was depressed.

      “You’re harming Keith, because your state is too low” is what we were told. You’re supposed to act like you’re happy about your situation. But we were not – none of us. We were pretending. Nobody was happy …”


      There’s something about NXIVM we don’t know yet. Will someone tell us?

  • What a manipulative, piece of shit douchebag. Yet, the female brain still repeatedly fall for these documented freaks of nature when there are literally dozens of good guys out there to each one of these ass-clowns.

    Send him to Supermax and throw away the key.

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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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