Sylvie Reveals How DOS Recruited Women – and What a Creep Vanguard Is

Sylvie, the first witness called by the prosecution in the case of the U.S. v. Raniere, revealed how she was recruited to become a member of DOS.

The native of England was a member of NXIVM for 13 years – from the time she was 18 until she turned 31.

She quit soon after Frank Report – which was reading at the time – revealed the existence of DOS and the branding of its members with Keith Raniere’s initials.

Sylvie reported that she was “freaked out” when she first read about the brandings – which is understandable – especially since hers was scheduled to take place in just a few days.

During her time with NXIVM, Sylvie rose to the position of Coach with 3 Stripes.


The initial part of her testimony focused on the way in which new recruits were taught all of NXIVM’s rules and rituals.

Then, she went on to describe how she first met Keith – and her impressions of him (He was much shorter than she expected The Vanguard to be – and not nearly as impressive as he had been described to her).

The handsome Vanguard on a rare walk alone in Clifton Park. 

When Sylvie first came to the U.S., she came on a Tourist Visa even though she had, in fact, been hired to work for Clare Bronfman at her horse farm in Duanesburg, NY (They had met through a mutual friend in England).

Clare Bronfman

After her Tourist Visa ran out, Sylvie was able to return on a J-1 Visa that had been arranged for by Clare. That Visa was structured so that she could be trained in horseback riding by Clare.

But when Clare decided to abandon her own riding career, Sylvie was pretty much expected to follow suit.

And so it was that Sylvie moved from England to live with Clare, who “had a room in a house in Clifton Park”. While living with Clare, Sylvie slept on the floor in Clare’s bedroom.

Sylvie returned to England when her J-1 Visa ran out – and eventually started pursuing a career with Goldman Sachs.

At the same time, she also became a dedicated long-distance runner – and joined the Serpentine Running Club in London.

But Clare and Keith wanted Sylvie back in the U.S. – and kept trying to convince her that they could arrange for her to get various types of Visas for her to return (All of the related VISA applications were rejected).

What eventually convinced Sylvie to return to the U.S. was the promise that Keith would take over as her running coach – and prepare her to represent England in the Olympics.

While he was training her, Keith mentioned to her that if the two of them were to ever have a sexual relationship, they would first have to become “really good friends”.

Sylvie indicated, however, that she had no interest in having a sexual relationship with Keith because he was an “authority (figure and an) older man”.

As part of her training regimen, Raniere convinced Sylvie to take the Jness module – where she was first introduced to some of his teachings about the sexual roles of men and women.

“(For) men to be healthy or primitive men, they would have had sex with multiple people and had multiple partners and that was somehow kind of healthier or normal, whereas, women should be loyal to only one man or that’s what’s natural for them and if they go beyond that, it’s more likely to be something spiteful or, in
some way, yes, trying to get back at the man and it’s not the normal thing for them”.

But after taking the Jness module, Sylvie decided that she had taken enough of Raniere’s teachings – and rejected the suggestions of Clare and the now-deceased Pam Cafritz to take the Society Of Protectors modules.

That rejection resulted in Sylvie being required to participate in an Exploration of Meaning (EM) session with Dani Padilla.

Dani Padilla forsook all men and became a slave of Keith Raniere and now sports his initials on her pubic area.

But even with the EM session – and additional threats and cajoling from Clare – Sylvie refused to take the SOP modules the first time they were offered.

Eventually, however, Sylvie was convinced to take the SOP training – which she described as being primarily an exercise in humiliating women.

Throughout this time, Sylvie was still getting training instructions from Keith. Most of these instructions involved Sylvie running for as long as she could at a pace of 12 miles per hour.

But regardless of what results she achieved, every one of Sylvie’s training sessions was adjudged to be a failure by Keith (Sylvie had to submit daily reports to him and Clare).

And the cure for those failures was, of course, more EMs.

Sometimes with Dani Padilla – and other times with Karen Unterreiner, Siobahn Hotaling or Lauren Salzman.

Eventually, Sylvie’s body simply broke down from all the 6 hours of training that she was required to do each day – and she ended up with a massive abscess that required surgery.

Despite her doctor’s orders to the contrary, Sylvie continued to follow Keith’s training schedules even while she was recovering from the abscess surgery.


The one good thing that happened for Sylvie as a result of her association with NXIVM is that she met her future husband there.

Both she and John were working on The Knife, Raniere’s concept for spin-free journalism.

Knowing that such a relationship would need to be sanctioned by Keith, Sylvie went to him to tell him about her plan to marry John – and get her “green card” that way.

Although Raniere gave his permission for the marriage, he also told her she and John must have a platonic relationship for the first two years of the marriage.

He also stroked her arm – and told her that it was too bad she was getting married because she and him “could have had fun together”.

When the wedding took place on July 7th in 2015, Clare was there to remind Sylvie that she wasn’t supposed to have sex with her now-husband for at least 2 years.

Unbelievably, she and John agreed not to do so for the first two years of their marriage.

As a kind of consolation prize, Sylvie was invited to become a member of DOS.

The person who invited her was Monica Duran (It was the revelation of Monica’s last name that led Marc Agnifilo to ask for a mistrial in the case).

Monica Duran 

But, of course, Sylvie first had to provide some “collateral” in order to prove that she was worthy of becoming a member of DOS.

In her case, the collateral turned out to be a letter to her parents in which she admitted she had become a prostitute in the U.S. – and a full-frontal naked picture to go with the letter.

Soon, thereafter, Monica informed Sylvie that she would need to provide additional collateral on a monthly basis – and that each new collateral would need to be stronger than the previous one.

And then – surprise, surprise – Monica gave Sylvie her first assignment.

Which was to seduce Keith Raniere.

In doing so, Monica reminded Sylvie about the collateral she had provided as part of her membership in DOS.

And so, Sylvie set out to seduce Keith.

Which wasn’t very hard to do because Keith provided her with instructions on how to do it.

It started with naked pictures – including some closeup shots of her vagina.

That continued for several months – until her father, with whom she shared an iCloud account, found the photos and asked her about her “medical pictures”.

When she informed Monica and Keith that she would not be sending any more naked pictures, Sylvie was told that her next encounter with Keith would have to be “in person”.

And so it was that the now-married-but-not-having-sex-with-her-husband Sylvie ended up meeting Keith at his house in Clifton Park – probably his sex lair at 8 Hale Court.

And that’s where Keith – after having Sylvie pose for some more naked photos – instructed her to take off her clothes and lie down on her back on his bed.

Saying that she felt she was having an out-of-body experience, Sylvie did as she was told.

“So, I laid back on the bed and he, I guess you’d call it, went down on me.”

Afterward, when she told Keith that despite their sexual encounter, she intended to remain loyal to her husband, John, he replied: “No, your ultimate commitment is to me. I am your grand master”.

In March 2018, Sylvie and her husband, John, decided to move to England. He is still in the process of getting the equivalent of a”green card” to do that.


Tomorrow, we ‘ll have a report on Marc Agnifilo’s cross-examination of Sylvie.

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  • I’m not sure if this has been brought up before, but everything that was demanded of DOS slaves is very similar to hazing, which in most cases is illegal. I wonder why that can’t be an argument? Is it because DOS isn’t a legal organization (although NXIVM is)? College students who are injured, or worse, killed, during hazing incidents are not the ones that go on trial – it’s the individuals and the organization that are held responsible for the hazing.

    Some people are commenting on Keith’s intelligence. While there is no doubt in my mind that he is far from the smartest person in the world, he is certainly not stupid. It really takes quite a calculating mind to do what he has done all these years. I think his lust and proclivities took over and so he really started to push the envelope and get sloppy and extremely risky. I knew him in the 90’s. I met Keith about a year or so before he started ESP, and for the first year or two of ESP. He was grooming women then and using many of the same strategies to get them to do what he wanted, but it’s slow and calculated. He may seem like a schlub to many, but he does have a way of talking that sounds convincing, especially to the vulnerable. Please don’t throw the victims under the bus. I feel for almost all of them (although not all – I never liked Lauren, and I have never met Clare, but I don’t think I would care too much for her, either), including Allison Mack, because we all started from the same place – a good, kind heart with the desire to do something more important in life.

  • Shadow – I’m hoping you will address the below points and questions that Truthseeker brought up.

    Over the course of the trial, maybe to avoid the upcoming avalanche of people calling you out for incorrect things you’ve typed over the last two years, you could stop it in it’s tracks by methodically making & sharing a list of your incorrect dart throws that you’ve presented to us as facts?

    Another idea, keep a simple chart of which players are 100% satanic criminals and who are 100% victims? We know you don’t believe in Venn diagrams, so this should be easy for you. I’ll help you start – Monica is 100% satan and Sylvie is 100% victim, right?

  • Wasn’t Nicole the actress that Mark Hildreth was having a relationship with and left NXIVM because of because Keith wanted to get into her pants?

    • Mark Hildreth was still with NXIVM in August 2016 at V-Week, 10 months before Frank broke the DOS story. Did he really leave NXIVM because of the cuckery?

    • Nicole left the cult soon after the sexual assault described in the indictment.

      To those who think Nicki Clyne is Nicole, Nicki was still in the cult until it collapsed and ceased operations altogether in 2018.

  • Fascinating. Good to see someone not taken in too badly and thank goodness for her father. She sounds quite an impressive person – running, possible olympics, riding and Goldman Sachs etc I hope she and her husband can sort out their immigration issues – in the US or UK – it is not easy in either country even to bring in a spouse.

    • “I’ll get you to the Olympics” was part of Keith’s scam. Who knows if Sylvie really was an Olympic hopeful or Keith was just using her hopefulness against her.

      He still had Pam Cafritz thinking she was going to make the Olympics when she was 40.

      He’d find your dream and promise he’d make it happen.

  • Even as we know who KR is this is all so very disturbing, and ti think there are still 6 weeks ahead of detailed monstruosities, he should be put away for life!

  • I’ve been shaking my head and asking WTF for two days now. Its Day two and we have how many more days to go?

    Keith Raniere needs to burn in hell.

  • Thank you, Sylvie, from the bottom of my heart and on behalf, I’m sure, of many victims who have come before you for decades but could not come forward or were shunned, silenced or worse if they dared to.

    I’m awed by your stunning strength, courage and honesty.

    You’re, in fact, an “ideal” American.

    …Would that America lived up to its ideal character as much as you did in that Courtroom and, unfortunately, in bed with your overprivileged “American” captors.

    Gratitude and many blessings to you and your future family with your wonderfully forgiving spouse. ??

  • So was KAR a mastermind of a movement that was always rooted in mal intent from the very beginning (root to tip so to speak) or did it start as a self serving business enterprise and then turn criminal over time as he got drunk on his power? I honestly don’t want to give him the intelligence credit of strategically thinking beyond 5yrs in the future when he came up with ESP. I truly don’t think he’s that smart. He had an idea for a company, he sold it in to some folks and then took every opportunity he could to add influence and manipulate all the people around him through that.

    I don’t believe for a minute that what nxvim was when it was exposed was part of his “Grand Master” plan when he started. He’s truly not that smart and we wouldn’t be here today. He got lucky but he’s just a con man that rolled with the punches.

  • Thanks as always for the reporting and analysis.

    Village Diane has provided a sort of rough transcript over at Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker, which has a lot of interesting detail that illuminates the process of recruiting and then gradual implementation of behavioral control.

    One thing that struck me, is that Sylvie testified that she had a prior history of anorexia, which seems to be a common theme in the NXIVM inner circle – Allison Mack said early on in her blog that regulating food provided her something she could control, which is a classic statement of eating disorders. Typical for a predator, Raniere seems to have looked for women who had certain types of personalities with weaknesses that he knew how to exploit, as well as those who fit a certain body type he apparently fetishized.

    While just about anyone is vulnerable to a sophisticated con or even the lure of an unhealthy group, in the case of NXIVM it was probably a particular type of woman that got sucked in. I don’t think it’s clear yet precisely what sort of vulnerabilities Raniere exploited, and how, but I’m hoping that there will be testimony from psychology and cult experts that will explain it for us, ideally with specific knowledge about some of those involved.

    • men who like women who are so skinny they dont look like women is cuz they look more like children hmmmm

  • I saw that Mark Vicente took the stand late this afternoon. Doesn’t sound like it got very far before recess for the day.

  • I was involved in the Albany Running Community for a long time. I watched the now deceased Pam Cafritz humiliate herself when she participated in the Freihofer’s run for women by lining up with the elites and blasting off the start line ahead of them only to be swallowed up by the pack. I and many others also heard her stories of training to be an Olympic miler and her false claims of winning the open Elite division of the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC.

    Keith forcing Sylvie (who actually has more talent in her feet than Pam ever did) to run 12 miles an hour pace which equates to 5 minute miles is beyond comprehension and proves he has no concept of what makes a good coach or how to get humans to reach their potential as a human or athlete for that matter. The women’s world record for the half marathon is currently 64.51 for 13.1 miles. If Sylvie were able to keep 5 minute mile pace up it would equate to almost a world record of 65:33! I don’t think Sylvie even got close to be able to maintain 5 minute mile pace for 5k. I found a Freihofers time for her of 17:58 and a couple in the mid 18’s.

    I honestly think that the depravity that Keith is capable of is far worse than what we are going to hear about from any of his victims.and he needs to be put away for life. Turning “virgin” Camila into a sexual predator herself probably is just scratching the surface. Someone mentioned Keith using a pseudonym of Queef. On the lost remarks of the SID blog it was rumoured Keith used that name when he visited underground sex clubs in the Capital District.

    • I have seen other “coaches” convince runners that show modest to above average talent, like a Sylvie, that they should train for the olympics, and basically hoodwink them into a private coaching monthly payment plan. There are many coaches out there grossly exaggerating and boosting the egos of vulnerable people. It’s really quite startling to see how easy it is to lock on to these type of people. No college background in the sport, the immediate success and having a huge improvement curve because they are new to the sport with no serious training background. 18 minute 5k for female is darn good, but only top 5 on the best local high schools teams. And why use a coach with no experience in the sport.

      How did she expect to get work with Goldman Sachs with no college? Or did she attend? Seems strange she only had the one sexual encounter with Keith over the 13 years, but even if she was more deeply involved with him, I guess why bother admitting that anyway? She’s broken away and just needs to expose the important facts. Hope she finds future success.

  • I hallucinate! Never in life Clare Bronfman would have benefited from a plea ??guilt, she is at best as guilty as the tadpole glasses. Shame on US Justice !

  • Raniere’s teachings about the sexual roles of men and women are, unsurprisingly, not original with him.

    They are a perverted version of evolutionary psychology’s theory of parental costs and derive from Darwin’s theory of sexual selection. Simply, female mammals bear the cost of pregnancy and birth and the males do not.

    The fundamental urge to procreate and spread one’s DNA biases men to mate with multiple females because sperm costs little. To a perv like Raniere, this provides a (specious) argument that it’s natural for men to be swingers and natural for women to be monogamous.

    Only a fool would find this argument persuasive, let alone profound, but of course, Raniere was surrounded by willing fools.

    It is not peak wisdom to be a slave to one’s primitive urges; we are not chipmunks in the woods, after all.

    Simple human decency tells us that it’s not okay for men to screw everything in sight, regardless of what our DNA wants. Raniere fancies himself a philosopher; there is actually a specific term in that discipline for this specious argument. It is called the naturalistic fallacy, the argument that whatever is natural is good.

    Raniere was not only a charlatan, he wasn’t even a particularly competent one. How he was able to fool any adult with normal IQ puzzles me.

      • Pero hay que entender, que la gente que lo seguía esta mas enferma ya que le hacían todo el preámbulo de que Keithe es el gran gurú, y ellas aun con las vejaciones físicas y mentales no se daban cuenta. No se quien este mas dañado” the leader o the followers!! No hay líder sin seguidores!!

  • —Sylvie described SOP as being primarily an exercise in humiliating women—

    I wonder how this “humiliating women” tech would be used on the female partners of SOP members. Would SOP-men like Mark Hildreth apply his humiliating techniques to his Kristin?

  • She could have been asked if she found NXIVM to be positive initially. There may even be texts or emails in discovery material that say that.

    It could have been emphasized that no collateral was released when Sylvie disobeyed her masters order to send Raniere more pornographic selfies. She was free to stop seducing him. So if she continued it was her own free choice.

    She could have been asked if she was compelled in any way to train to the point of injury. So it was her own choice to do that.

    Is Agnifilo just phoning it in ?

    • We’ll be reporting on Marc Agnifilo’s cross-examination of Sylvie tomorrow.

    • “So no cross-examination of Sylvie ?”

      The cross examination is today. That wasn’t it for Sylvie and this trial.
      And fyi, when Sylvie begged not to send more pictures b/c her father discovered them, she was told by her master- ok, but then your next encounter must happen in PERSON. And she obeyed. True, she didn’t have to obey, but they didn’t say. Ok, that’s fine, you don’t have to send pictures. Keith just upped the anty. She was not “free to stop seducing him”. Just free to stop sending pictures of her own. But that just led her to Keith’s stink ass sheets and fart filled lair. Read it again.

  • Oh boy! This is getting gloomier than I thought! So John and Sylvie did not have sex for 2 years after being married and this upon KAR’s request. And as a compensatory gift she was invited to DOS where she could get oral sex from KAR. How bizarre of a situation. Mostly because you have all these women that are intertwined to the story. She was invited by Monica to seduce Keith. How did Monica make that OK in her mind to begin with? How does that work? And can all these women ( Ali Mack, Monica, Marianna, Pam etc…and all the rest of us) lose track of is right to that extend? All along while being taught to live IN reality and uphold what is right. This REALLY IS a mind fuck! I feel for Sylvie and honor and admire her courage to be the first witness. Maybe now, people are going to grasp not only the evil of KAR but also spite and awfulness of Clare who “reminded Sylvie on the day of her wedding” NOT to have sex with her husband FOR 2 YEARS!!!!!!

    • ” awfulness of Clare who “reminded Sylvie on the day of her wedding” NOT to have sex with her husband FOR 2 YEARS!!!!!!”

      All of the NXIVM women who enabled Raniere are awful.

      • I think they’re laying out their case very nicely. Bringing in people who you never thought would testify… way lesser characters.

        In time, Camilla, “Nicole” (Nicki), Nancy, Allison…

        The crazier this story unfolds to the jury and the judge, the more the main insular players will seem complicit. Anyone who plead guilty already to…this… will likely see a reflection of that in their sentencing.

      • My partner was the same way. Led to believe that working on the relationship without sex was the way to a stronger relationship – all the while getting them ready for Keith’s ‘healing’ blue energy.

        • –Led to believe that working on the relationship without sex was the way to a stronger relationship

          It is if the idea is implemented sincerely between the two people, not as an underhanded scheme to buy some time to manipulate the woman with flying monkeys to ultimately seduce her away from her partner as VanDouche did.

          The guy is easy to read.

    • Yes, these are sick people, all of them.

      How did people sign up for this and go along with this? How did people live with themselves for promoting and selling this? I don’t get it.

      On the other, is this criminal? Was there an intention to commit a crime? Why did participants continue to go along with this for so long before blowing the whistle on this sick game? Was it because of collateral which induced sexual slavery or forced servitude?

      Perhaps, it was a slow degradation of people’s morals that allowed this to occur? Perhaps, it is not that much different from any human tragedy that occurs where people don’t speak up and defend each other.

      • There is something called Group Think that can happen even among better educated people.
        Groups get together and no one wants to stand out so everyone agrees.
        Anyone who stands out as an individual gets hammered down.
        Thinking for one’s self is punished.

        With NXIVM having so many people with weak wills and low self-esteem, it is easy to see how twisted ideas can come to the forefront.

        the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.
        “there’s always a danger of groupthink when two leaders are so alike”

  • Manipulative, creepy, narcissistic? Yes!
    Anti-middle class values? Yes!
    Criminal? No! Sylvie had the option to always say, No!

    • “Sylvie had the option to always say, No!”

      I know of no women who would tolerate a punk like Raniere telling them not to have sex with their husbands or boyfriends.

      • I agree. Who would tolerate this?
        Since they did tolerate it, one must ask why they tolerated it?
        There was an incredible amount of brain rot (loss of a basic moral sense) in the Nxivm community that allowed such violations to occur. A sickness permeated the whole community; one should blame Raniere but one can’t blame just Raniere. The whole group became sick to tolerate this.

        And, the Salzmans likely want to continue to practice as unlicensed coaches/psychotherapists after their prison stint!

        • I know. It’s mind-boggling. But Sylvie was 18 when she got involved with NXIVM through Clare. And now she’s–what, 31..? I think it’s the amount of time she was in it. But it is really hard to understand. And not criminal. I agree. Unless the collateral was what made people do it. Is threatening to release that kind of freely given collateral a crime?

      • The excuse was sex was a limitation, and that working on the relationship without sex would lead to a stronger bond between them. Isn’t that right Monica??

        • Scott, the point is that most normal people would never become members of a cult like NXIVM in the first place.
          How does one explain 400 people trooping up to Silver Bay YMCA to celebrate Raniere’s birthday for a full week in 2016 to sing of His glory?
          Raniere’s birthday party should have fitted around a half empty table at an IHOP.

          The people who joined NXIVM were to some degree broken in the first place and I’m talking about the True Believers, not the people who took an over priced ESP course.

          • You still didn’t address the point that telling someone not to have sex is not a crime. You are really good at deflecting, but I’ll catch you every single time. I have a lot of experience with that, there’s a guy named David Steadson who used to do that to me all of the time with Amway.

            There were multiple subsets within the layers of NXIVM. Only a small handful have the horror stories to tell. The other 17,000 (and many more who never took a class) were filtered out for the handful to remain. Even most of those of the 400 at the birthday celebration were not aware of what was going on behind the scenes. That’s why the 2017 attendance was much smaller than 2016.

    • That seemed to me the weakness in the prosecution’s case. However, Sylvie’s testimony made clear that she gave the so-called collateral BEFORE she was told to seduce Raniere. Thus, she was blackmailed into having sex with him. This fits the legal definition of racketeering.

      This is how the racket worked. Women gave up compromising material under false pretenses in the context of a women’s only group. They were then told they had to provide sex. Of course, they could have defied their blackmailers. Just as the victims of a protection racket are “free” to defy the mafia goons “requesting” payoffs.

      The government’s case is solid.

      • I see your point that giving compromising material made them vulnerable to sexual servitude. It put them in a position where it was extremely difficult to say, no. It stopped becoming a personal growth group where women were advancing themselves by breaking through their barriers and became an abusive sexual fulfillment thing for Raniere’s benefit.

        Does knowledge and intent to commit a crime need to be proven? Did Raniere need to understand ahead of time he was committing a crime for the crime to be committed?

      • True. The governments case is solid. Blackmail IS criminal.

  • “Sometimes with Dani Padilla – and other times with Karen Unterreiner, Siobahn Hotaling or Lauren Salzman.”
    “As a kind of consolation prize, Sylvie was invited to become a member of DOS.
    The person who invited her was Monica Duran”

    So these four women together with Monica Duran are pimps.
    They were grooming Sylvie to be a sex slave.
    And of these five women only Salzman was indicted.

    AUSA Moira Penza stated that almost half of the top members of NXIVM in Clifton Park are criminals.

    • So, will the Clifton Park crowd like Dawn Morrison and others be charged by NDNY? Or, will they walk away as “cooperating witnesses”?

    • Weren’t you fully convinced it was Alison who performed oral sex? So to clarify are you still fully convinced that Pea is Nicki Cline?

      It’s going to be a bit upsetting that all the fantasies you’ve built up and wrote about over the last year are just the fantasies of an obsessed man…

      And again…How many pictures of Alison have you on your computer?

      • Allison’s initial indictment as CC#1 has her transporting the victim up to Clifton Park and blindfolding the victim..
        Moreover the woman who performed the oral sex on the victim was Allison’s slave.
        Hence Allison Mack is a co-conspirator in the sexual assault of the victim.

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