Nxivm sex-cult founder Keith Raniere faces up to life behind bars Tuesday when he is set to be sentenced in the horrific abuse of scores of young women.
The 60-year-old sex-trafficker masquerading as a self-help guru was found guilty by a Brooklyn federal jury last year of running a twisted secret group out of Albany that sexually, physically and mentally abused followers.
Raniere “portrayed himself as a savant and a genius” — yet was nothing more than “a massive manipulator, a con man and the crime boss of a cult-like organization involving sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion-compelled abortions, branding, degradation and humiliation,” then-US Attorney Richard Donohue said after the sex-obsessed fraudster was convicted in June 2019.
“The evidence proved that Raniere was truly a modern-day Svengali.”
Raniere followed a perverted script akin to something straight out of a Hollywood horror drama to satisfy his God-like complex, prosecutors said during his seven-week trial.
The shaggy-haired leader compared himself to Einstein and Gandhi while touting Nxivm as a “community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people.”
But behind the scenes, he created a secret master-slave group for women within Nxivm called DOS, where stick-thin devotees were branded with his initials above their genitals, made to wear dog collars and submit to unwanted sex with Raniere and other members, the feds said.
At Nxivm training courses, Raniere allegedly spouted such sickening claims as rape can be an “unexpected experience of freedom” for women — while building a sex dungeon filled with rubber-spiked paddles and “puppy training” dog collars.
The lecherous leader’s stellar line-up of female recruits was chilling.
Seagram’s booze heiress Clare Bronfman helped funded the organization — as he wooed TV actresses Allison Mack of “Smallville’’ and “Battlestar Galactica’s” Nicole Clyne, as well as India Oxenberg, the daughter of blue-blood “Dynasty” TV star Catherine Oxenberg, into Nxivm’s ranks.
Raniere — who went by the title “The Vanguard” — preyed on the young as he committed what the FBI called “serious crimes against humanity.”
His first sex slave, Camilla, was 15 when he brought her from Mexico to New York along with her two older sisters, prosecutors said.
The feds said they suspect Raniere had sex with her when she was still underage — and futilely tried to introduce testimony at trial from another alleged victim who said she was 12 or 13 when he raped her.
Raniere dubbed the Mexican teen his “Virgin Camila’’ — part of his bizarre plan to use her as some kind of “vessel” to supposedly achieve immortality — and took porno shots of her, according to testimony at his trial.
Raniere impregnated all three siblings — amid sex romps that included at least two of them together with him — then forced them to get abortions, testified one of the sisters, Daniela.
He told Daniela her abortion was a chance to lose weight, she said.
Raniere would regularly order his female slaves to keep strict diets — while pigging out himself on pizza, potato chips and cake, according to testimony.
Many were then branded with a cauterizing pen in ceremonies videotaped by other members to prove their loyalty to the group, some women said.
Daniela said that after she dared to kiss another man, Raniere banished her to a single room for two years.
“The world closed in on me,” she recalled. “Every degree of freedom I had was lost.”
Meanwhile, her sister Camila ended up becoming one of Raniere’s “first-line masters’’ in DOS — or “Dominant Over Submissive,” according to testimony.
The female masters each had their own “slaves” below them, while Raniere was the “grandmaster.”
Former members described blackmail schemes that involved Raniere taking photos of their private parts — and the cult threatened to release them if the women strayed.
The ex-members said they also were kept in line through torture such as being forced to stand barefoot in the snow, take cold showers and being locked in cages.
One woman wept as she testified about being tied up by Raniere as another female member performed oral sex on her.
Raniere’s own defense attorney admitted at his trial that the guru was “repulsive and offensive”— but argued that the things that happened in Nxivm and DOS were consensual.
In June 2019, the jury took under five hours to convict Raniere of all of the seven counts against him, including for sex-trafficking, racketeering, child pornography and forced labor. He faces 15 years to life on the charges.
He proceeded to launch two failed bids for a new trial, claiming such things as the feds blocking loyal members from testifying on his behalf.
Raniere maintained during a TV interview that aired last week that he is innocent and the victim of “injustice.’’
And he still has some supporters — even including Daniela’s dad. The man, only identified as Hector, glowed in documents submitted to the court earlier this month that Raniere is “always honorable.’’
Bronfman and Mack were charged in the case, as were several others. The pair pleaded guilty for their roles, with Bronfman landing nearly seven years behind bars earlier this month and Mack still awaiting her fate.
The sentencing comes amid heightened interest in the case, with two recent docu-series — HBO’s “The Vow” and Starz’ “Seduced” — featuring survivors telling their stories.
India Oxenberg, who is featured in the latter show, broke her silence earlier this month — saying she was raped by Raniere and among those branded with his initials.
“He’s a predator,” she said.
She is one of about 10 victims expected to speak at Tuesday’s sentencing. Raniere, who did not testify at his trial, has also vowed to protest his innocence.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article