Nxivm leader Keith Raniere has been convicted. Here's what happened inside his sex-slave ring that recruited actresses and two billionaire heiresses.


Following is a transcript of the video.

The scandal behind the alleged Nxivm sex-slave ring

Several high-profile people face charges for their involvement in a secretive organisation that allegedly recruited and branded women as sex slaves.

On its website, Nxivm claimed to be a multi-level marketing company rooted in “humanitarian principles.” It offered classes for people seeking greater purpose in their lives and careers. But underneath this altruistic guise was something much darker.

It all started with Keith Raniere, a self-proclaimed self-help guru. He founded Nxivm in 1998 as an umbrella for several companies and social movements. One of those initiatives was “Executive Success Programs,” or ESP, which he founded with former psychiatric nurse Nancy Salzman.

ESPs were professional development seminars targeted at the wealthy. Executives and professors would teach courses on self-improvement priced from $US25,000 to $US100,000. Raniere asserted himself as a leader of a philosophical movement and required members to call him “Vanguard.” Salzman, who became president of ESP, was referred to as “Prefect.”

In 2003, Forbes estimated that 3,700 people had participated in ESPs. Many were billionaires, actresses, and businessmen. Nxivm even hosted the Dalai Lama at a humanitarian event. Some people cut ties with Nxivm after taking the courses. Others became deeply engrained into a secret “sisterhood” of Raniere’s followers.

Leaders within the movement were called “masters” and recruited other women to be their “slaves.” Prosecutors allege that Raniere kept a group of 15 to 20 women as sex slaves, branded with his initials.

Allison Mack

Former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering for her alleged role in the Nxivm sex cult case. She admitted she attempted to recruit other women into Raniere’s ring and collected “collateral” to blackmail members. She also claimed it was her idea to brand members.

Clare and Sara Bronfman

Clare and Sara Bronfman, heiresses to Seagram’s liquor, have been accused of largely financing the group. Prosecutors say Clare was a key member and major bank-roller of the enterprise. Nxivm allegedly took as much as $US150 million of the sisters’ fortune.

Catherine and India Oxenberg

Actress Catherine Oxenberg took ESP courses with her daughter India. Catherine eventually distanced herself from Nxivm, but India became more involved. Catherine detailed her crusade to get her daughter out of the cult in her book “Captive.”

Sarah Edmondson

Actress Sarah Edmondson detailed her branding experience to The New York Times in 2017. She said she’d been told it would only be a tattoo but was restrained while a doctor seared a symbol below her hip.

Although Nxivm faced controversy in the early 2000s when alleged victims and former members spoke out, the 2017 New York Times article was what finally sparked a federal investigation.

A warrant for Raniere’s arrest was filed in February 2018. He was arrested that March in Mexico. In March 2019, Nancy Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering.

Keith Raniere faces charges of racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, wire fraud conspiracy, possession of child pornography, forced labour conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit identity theft.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on April 12, 2019.

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