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NXIVM lawyers condemn Parlato in court for continuing to write about cult.
By: Nicholas D. D’Angelo
Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg was able to rescue her daughter, India Oxenberg, from the sex slaver cult NXIVM – and she says – it was thanks in large part to the efforts of Frank Parlato, publisher of the Niagara Reporter.
In her best-selling book, ‘Captive,’ published by Simon and Schuster, Oxenberg details how her 27-year-old daughter, India was held down and branded on her pubic region with a white hot cauterizing pen with the initials of NXIVM leaders Keith Raniere and former Smallville actress Allison Mack.
In her book, Catherine details how she came to Parlato – who was then the only voice ” speaking out against the cult – and told him about her daughter being branded.
Parlato broke the news of the branding and blackmailing of women in the Niagara Reporter, Artvoice and on his blog, the Frank Report.
This created the catalyst for NXIVM to fall apart, as Parlato wrote and published more than 1,000 stories for the Reporter, Artvoice and Frank Report, prompting NXIVM followers to leave in droves and the mainstream media to take note of the vicious cult for the first time.
This relentless style of writing and publishing followed the same pattern Parlato earlier showed when he published story after story about the secretive Maid of the Mist lease, which prompted the Toronto Globe and Mail to follow up on his story and ultimately led to the Minister of Tourism ordering the Canadian lease out to bid, which in turn led to the Maid of the Mist losing their lease in Canada resulting in some $300 million more in revenue for Ontario.
Following Parlato’s reporting on NXIVM last year, Oxenberg and Parlato, along with former NXIVM members, Marc Vicente, [also a movie director] Bonnie Piesse [an actress in Star Wars] and others – including branded slaves – interviewed with the New York Times.
The blockbuster New York Times story confirmed what Parlato had written and credited him with making NXIVM members aware of the news that women were being branded- which allowed many of them to escape.
The Times wrote, “many of Mr. Raniere’s followers learned of the secret society [that brands and blackmails women] from a website run by a Buffalo-area businessman, Frank R. Parlato Jr. Mr. Parlato had been locked in a long legal battle with two sisters, Sara and Clare Bronfman, who are members of Nxivm and the daughters of Edgar Bronfman, the deceased chairman of Seagram Company….
“In early June , Mr. Parlato published the first in a torrent of salacious posts under the headline, ‘Branded Slaves and Master Raniere.’
The New York Times story sparked an interest by the US Attorney for the Eastern District of NY. The FBI opened an investigation into the cult that led to the arrest of Raniere, Mack, Bronfman and others.
Ironically it was Bronfman and Raniere who originally filed a criminal complaint against Parlato.
“He turned it around on them.” famed political consultant Roger Stone said, “what Frank Parlato did was one of the most epic takedowns in media history.”
Oxenberg’s book gives never before published details of hers and Parlato’s role in taking down the cult, including their first meeting when the actress came to Niagara Falls to get Parlato’s help in saving her daughter and bringing the cult to justice.
In her acknowledgements, at the end of the book, Oxenberg wrote about the worldwide media attention that followed their efforts.
She writes, “I’m grateful to the members of the media for the relentless coverage given to exposing the atrocities of NXIVM, helping to generate much needed public outrage. Thank to Barry Meier [NY Times], Liz McNeil [People], Brendon Lyons [Albany Times Union], Megyn Kelly [Today Show], Glenn Ruppel [20-20], Elizabeth Vargas [20-20], Tim Uehlinger [Dateline], Chemene Pelzer [Today Show], John Filimon [Producer], Alicia Powers [Inside Edition], Scott Thompson [Publicist] and many more. And a very special thanks to Frank Parlato: because of your tireless efforts, hundreds defected and escaped the horrors of branding and slavery.”
Not all were praising Parlato however. Last week in federal court, where NXIVM leaders are expected to stand trial for sex trafficking and racketeering, NXIVM attorneys asked Judge Nicholas Garaufis to protect the defendants and their friends from Parlato’s relentless coverage of the cult.
At a Status Conference for USA v Raniere et al., in the Federal Courthouse for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, and in multiple court filings, attorneys for Raniere, made a motion to have the judge close the courtroom from the public in order that Parlato would not discover certain details about their case.
Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, said that anyone who might be willing to post bail for Raniere is afraid their names will be published by Parlato.
Raniere’s attorney pointed out that, because Parlato was indicted based on a complaint by NXIVM leaders, Bronfman and Raniere, Parlato had a self-proclaimed agenda to destroy NXIVM. He argued that potential guarantors of Raniere’s bail bond must be shielded from Parlato maliciously identifying them. The only way to do that, Agnifilo said, was to close the courtroom and seal their names from the public.
The prosecution opposed the unprecedented motion to close the courtroom from the press. Parlato’s name was mentioned more than 40 times in court papers and dozens of times in open court. The defense said the co-guarantors were so afraid of what will happen if they are discovered by Parlato that they are not willing to sign for his bail unless their names were sealed.
The prosecution, as well as Probation and Pretrial Supervision Services said they adamantly oppose Raniere getting bail on the grounds that he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.
The next court hearing is set for Oct 4.
Meantime, most of the news is good. Oxenberg‘s book is a best seller, her daughter, India is safe and living at her home in Malibu, California. She even found a new boyfriend – not related to the sex slaver cult.
The New York Post credited Parlato last week for his role in that too, writing “Frank Parlato, the former Nxivm publicist … worked for years to expose the cult,” in a story reporting India’s new romance.
Catherine Oxenberg, in her personal inscription in her book written to Parlato wrote, “You were the gunpowder, the canon, and much more in blowing NXIVM to smithereens. I owe you a debt of gratitude for your indefatigable offensive opposing one of the world’s most devious rascals [Raniere].”
Oxenberg’s book, Captive, is available at major booksellers and online through Amazon.