Artvoice publisher and editor in chief, Frank Parlato is credited by international news outlets, including the New York Times, NY Post, Fox News, Heavy.com, and others with breaking the story, and bringing to light through his publications which include Frankreport.com, Artvoice, and the Niagara Reporter, of the human branding, sex trafficking, forced labor and other crimes perpetrated by Keith Raniere and members of his notorious sex-slave cult.
On March 26, 2018, the District Court for the Eastern District of New York unsealed an affidavit and complaint when NXIVM, sex-slavery cult guru, Keith Raniere, was arrested in Mexico. Raniere is charged with felonies including sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor.
International news outlets credited publisher Frank Parlato with breaking the story of human branding, sex trafficking, and the Bronfman heiresses’ illicit funding and involvement in the multi-decade scheme of enslaving women, and using the courts to silence the victims.
Parlato first published reports in the Niagara Reporter, and on his blog, Frankreport.com, in June 2017, when he received reports from sex-cult members of being forcibly branded as part of initiation into the secret “sorority” DOS.
Inside Edition reported that Parlato “has worked for years to document the inner workings of the group, which purports to be a self-help organization”.
Heavy.com reported in October that “branding allegations published by the Times… first appeared online in June, when the anti-Raniere blog ‘The Frank Report’” launched its miniseries on human branding.”
Mirror.co.uk has styled Parlato a former “press officer,” now reporting on Mack’s and Kreuk’s status in the cult to lure in young women. Presently, Raniere is reportedly en-route to the Eastern District of New York where a determination of his bail eligibility will be held. Raniere is currently in federal custody.
Prior to Raniere’s arrest, the first mainstream coverage following Parlato’s expose series of the illicit cult was by the New York Times, publishing an expose “Inside a Secretive Group Where Women are Branded,” which described the cult, the human brandings, and, among other things, Sarah Edmondson’s induction into DOS and how she was misled into receiving a brand.
The article further reported that many of Raniere’s followers learned of DOS from Parlato’s website, FrankReport.com.
Federal law enforcement in the Eastern District of New York appears to have taken its cue from Parlato’s coverage of the cult via the New York Times, where FBI Special Agent Lever stated in his complaint against Raniere that several weeks after the New York Times publication in October 2017, the FBI began interviewing witnesses. The Albany Times Union also suggested that Parlato’s raising the allegations about human branding piqued the Eastern District DOJ’s interest in the sex cult.
But the actual dissolution of the cult began before October 2017. Inside sources, consisting partly of scared and defected cult members, informed Parlato that beginning in June, when Parlato published news of the branding, and snowballing after the publication of the October 2017 New York Times Story, outer cult members began a mass exodus, ditching NXIVM and its subsidiary groups. FrankReport reported that the2017 “V-Week,” (an annual celebration of Raniere’s birthday, who is called by members “The Vanguard,” from which V-Week takes its name) had an exceptionally low attendance following Parlato’s reports of human branding and the master-slave group. Victims of Raniere and the cult appeared on Dr. Oz in November.
On the show, Raniere’s ex-girlfriend Toni Natalie explained the abuse she endured by Raniere, including being raped by him; cult expert and deprogrammer, Rick Ross, who was sued for years by the cult for publishing stories that were critical of the cult, and trying to deprogram a cult member at his parents’ behest, told the audience about how the cult hired people to search Ross’s garbage. By October, actress Catherine Oxenberg contributed to the public awareness of the sex-slave cult’s crimes against humanity by sharing with People, and appearing on Megyn Kelly Today in an attempt to rescue her daughter, India Oxenberg. By December 15, 2017, ABC’s 20/20 aired an hour-long special, detailing allegations against the cult, with extensive interviews of Sarah Edmondson.
While largely ignored before, victim and ex-girlfriend of Keith Raniere, Toni Natalie, whom USA Todayreports Raniere has badgered and harassed with lawsuits, and a criminal indictment, since they broke up in 1999 is now being listened to since Raniere’s arrest. Albany’s WNYT reports that Natalie “says Raniere uses the legal system as a stalking device. ‘He almost waves them as flags, these possible lawsuits– look what happens if you leave!’ said Natalie.” The “women that leave, look what happens to them.’”
Supporters of Raniere have circulated a petition later in support of Raniere, dated March 27, as shared with the Albany Times Union, stating “Sadly, we have seen justice corrupted by prejudice, lies and hate.” Critics respond that the statement is ironic: justice has indeed been corrupted, but not against Raniere, but by Raniere and the Bronfman sisters over the course of multiple decades, where defectors and victims were sued (sometimes into bankruptcy), were the victims of bogus criminal complaints, and some were even indicted with resulting dismissals.. The FBI alleges further that a search of Raniere’s Yahoo! Email account revealed that Clare Bronfman “orchestrated” sending “cease and desist” letters to DOS defectors, and that Clare Bronfman made multiple attempts to have criminal charges brought against Sarah Edmondson, who defected from the cult last year.
Raniere and Bronfman have gone to great lengths to silence media critics, as well, intimidating members of the media through a state criminal complaint and subsequent federal civil litigation, including a questionable lawsuit predicated on unauthorized computer access gained from an ex-cult member. The civil litigation was brought against, among others, the Albany Times Union’s James Odato and Suzanne Andrews, based on her freelance expose on the Bronfmans in Vanity Fair.. The lawsuit was purely retaliatory. Reported The Nation, Odato began reporting on NXIVM when he discovered the Bronfmans had donated large amounts of cash to then New York Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, how the Bronfman sisters funneled “a huge pile of” cash to Raniere, writing over 35 articles about Raniere and the cult. After the stories ran, the Raniere-Bronfman cult filed its suit to silence Odato, he went on leave. The civil lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in 2015. The companion state criminal case against co-defendants, including ex-girlfriends of Raniere Toni Natalie and Barbara Bouchey, was also dismissed.
Raniere and Bronfman employed a similar strategy in the case of Frank Parlato. Parlato was engaged by the Bronfmans and Raniere in 2007 to rehabilitate their poor public image, and rebrand them as something other than a cult. In the course of his work, Parlato succeeded in securing the title to over $26 million in real estate assets the not-too-business-savvy Bronfmans had allowed to be squandered in L.A.
As an expression of gratitude, the Bronfmans, at Raniere’s behest, terminated Parlato, and demanded Parlato return any money received from the Bronfmans relative to the project, which Parlato refused to do. As soon as Parlato later helped the Bronfman sisters win a civil suit securing 26.3 million in real estate in Los Angeles, the Bronfmans filed a federal criminal complaint against Parlato.
Soon after that, and in signature fashion, the Bronfmans initiated a civil lawsuit, based on the same grounds, with the help of Buffalo attorney, William F. Savino. Between the civil and criminal actions, Clare Bronfman committed perjury, between California, New York, and the Western District of New York. However, federal authorities in Buffalo, rather than investigating into allegations of the sex-cult’s, and Bronfmans’ criminal activities, and examine Bronfman’s obvious perjury, they elected to act upon sex-cult-attorney Savino’s allegations that Parlato defrauded the sex-cult heiresses. Sources suggest that Savino, (who like NXIVM’s attorneys in the criminal case against Barabara Bouchey met dozens of times with the lead investigator and pressed the case), pressed the Parlato case by communicating regularly with the FBI, IRS, and infamous retired federal prosecutor, Anthony M. Bruce.
Reported the Buffalo News in 2015, “[t]he indictment refers to the Bronfmans by the initials C.B. and S.B. and claims Parlato cheated them out of the $1 million, an allegation that dates back to at least 2011 when the sisters filed a notice of claim against him.” Sources report that Bruce informed a Parlato attorney that “while Savino doesn’t run this [Federal] office, his clients [Bronfmans] want an indictment of [Parlato] soon.” The federal criminal case in which the Bronfmans are alleged victims of Parlato is ongoing.
While it is difficult to know how many women could have been saved if New York State and Federal law enforcement in the Northern and Western Districts of New York had acted upon numerous complaints and tips provided years earlier, it is clear Parlato’s unrelenting coverage of the sex-slave cult’s inhumane practices led to the breakup of the cult, and the mainstream news coverage that led to Raniere’s arrest. Parlato continues to report on continuous developments of the criminal case involving Keith Raniere, and the expected broadening of the investigation to include massive financial crimes perpetrated by the Bronfman sex-cult heiresses and Raniere.