Keith Raniere, the leader of the high profile NXIVM cult, was sentenced to 120 years in prison in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday and was fined $ 1,750,000. After a morning hearing testimony from 15 Raniere victims, US District Court judge Nicholas Garaufis pronounced Raniere “ruthless and adamant” in “particularly outrageous” crimes against girls and young women, Associated reported Press.
Raniere, 60, was convicted last June of sex trafficking, forced labor, producing and possessing child pornography, extortion and cable fraud. “I think I am innocent of the charges,” he said in court on Tuesday. “It is true, I have no regrets about the crimes I do not believe I have committed.”
In their testimony in court, Raniere’s victims called him a “parasite” and a psychological “terrorist,” the Albany Times-Union reported. “I still hear his voice in my head and it continues to be a daily fight,” said a woman who was 15 when Raniere started chasing her. The woman’s older sister, who was 16 when she became engaged to Raniere, was locked in a room for almost two years after kissing another man. “You have abused my innocent body (messed up) with my mind and turned my family against me,” she said on Tuesday, according to the Times Union.
NXIVM (first known as Executive Success Programs) was founded in 1998 by Raniere, the former head of the nefarious multi-level marketing firm Consumers’ Buyline from the 1990s, and Nancy Salzman, 66, a former psychiatric nurse and trained hypnotist. The alleged sex cult and tiered marketing program disguised itself as a self-help program that attracted wealthy, famous, and influential people, including Hollywood stars like Allison Mack of Smallville and Nicki Clyne of Battlestar Galactica. the heirs of Seagram’s liquor fortune; and the son of a former Mexican president. Raniere, dubbed “Vanguard” by NXIVM members, served as the top head of the organization and its various subgroups, including DOS – a secret women’s organization that assigned its members the roles of “master” and “slave” and marked their pelvic areas with an icon contained Raniere and Mack’s initials.
Raniere and NXIVM were the subject of two recent TV documentary series: The Vow on HBO and Seduced: Inside The NXIVM Cult on Starz.
The vow focused on several of the group’s defectors and recorded how they came to the Executive Success Programs that became NXIVM. how they lost trust in the group’s leaders and abusive practices; the threats they faced after the defection; and their efforts to heal and seek justice. The series has been extended for a second season which is expected to reveal more details about the inner workings of NXIVM and focus on Raniere’s trial.
The Vow: What Happened to Allison Mack, India Oxenberg, and other NXIVM key players?
Seduced Focuses in India Oxenberg – the daughter of dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg – who joined NXIVM in 2011 and left the group after Keith Raniere’s arrest. The four-part series is currently broadcast on Starz. Oxenberg, 29, was co-executive producer on the series and wrote a memoir titled Still Learning, which was released in audio form on October 27th.
Raniere was arrested in hiding in Mexico in March 2018 for, among other things, sex trafficking. Lauren Salzman, the daughter of Nancy Salzman and director of education at NXIVM, testified in Raniere’s trial that Mexican authorities have suspended plans for a group sex re-enlistment ceremony with several of his “first-line slaves” at the Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS) would have. . The Latin name is roughly translated as “master of female slaves” and Raniere was the “grand master” of the sect.
According to the Albany-based newspaper The Times-Union, Salzman testified that Raniere was hiding in a walk-in closet when the armed officers broke in. “All he taught us was … what men do what women do,” Salzman said in court. “And then he didn’t – and I did.”
Raniere pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking, conspiracy against sex trafficking, and conspiracy against forced labor, among others. His lawyers believed that “everything was amicable”.
Prosecutors later accused Ranier of having sex with a 15-year-old girl and was charged with “forcing a child into sexual behavior in order to produce visual representations and possessing child pornography between 2005 and 2018”. After the high-profile trial of Raniere in 2019, the jury pronounced a guilty verdict on all counts after less than five hours of deliberation.
In the months immediately following Raniere’s arrest, Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, and Lauren Salzman were also arrested along with NXIVM bankroll Clare Bronfman and accountant Kathy Russell. All women have pleading agreements, and all but Bronfman are waiting for the sentencing dates.
Bronfman, 42, admitted helping Raniere use the credit card from late NXIVM member Pamela Cafritz after she died of cancer. She also confessed to hosting a Mexican woman who was brought into the country on a forged work visa so that she and NXIVM could exploit her work. She was sentenced to almost seven years in prison.
38-year-old Allison Mack is waiting to be convicted of extortion and conspiracy and faces a prison sentence of up to 40 years. Nancy Salzman was convicted of extortion and faces 33 to 41 months in prison. 44-year-old Lauren Salzman faces up to 40 years in prison for extortion and extortion but is likely to receive a lesser sentence for testifying at Raniere’s trial. Kathy Russell, 63, could be jailed for up to 10 years for visa fraud.