- Keith Raniere, the founder and leader of Nxivm, was sentenced to a lifetime in prison.
- Raniere was convicted of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labour in June 2019.
- Raniere falsely billed himself a scientist and created self-help courses with Nxivm cofounder Nancy Salzman.
- In reality, the courses helped brainwash members, some to the point of joining a secret sorority that branded its members with Raniere’s initials and manipulated them into sex with him, former members said at the recent sentencing and testified in 2019, according to the New York Times.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Keith Raniere, the 60-year-old cofounder and leader of the alleged sex cult Nxivm, has been sentenced to 120 years in prison.
In 2019, Raniere was found guilty on charges of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labour.
He was arrested in 2018 in Mexico, where he sought refuge from the US after multiple members who left Nxivm pressed charges against him and spoke with The New York Times in a damning exposÃ© of the group.
In a recent NBC News interview, his first public appearance since his 2018 arrest, Raniere called his charges “a horrible injustice” and said he would continue to fight for his innocence.
During his sentencing, victims giving impact statements called Raniere a “monster,” “parasite,” and “terrorist” who psychologically and physically manipulated followers.
One victim, who went only by the name Camila, said Raniere forced a sexual relationship on her when she was 15 and that it lasted until she was 27, court documents obtained by Insider showed.
“He manipulated me for what he wanted,” Camila said in court on Tuesday. “I became unreachable to my parents, my brother, my friends until I had nobody to worry about me. He knew the things that mattered most to me and what I feared and used that against me.”
How Raniere built a cult covered up as a self-help group
Nxivm was billed as a self-help multilevel marketing company, inviting people to spend thousands of dollars on courses.
Raniere founded the group in 1998, alongside the nurse and hypnotist Nancy Salzman. He had his followers refer to him as “Vanguard” and to Salzman as “Prefect.”
Followers were told he was a scientist, which he was not, and that he had created a unique self-help method that would help anyone achieve their personal and professional aspirations.
In reality, Raniere had rebranded real psychological methods used in therapy and abused them to elicit private information from his followers that he later wielded as blackmail, former members alleged.
Women were branded with his initials
He also created a secret sorority for women within Nxivm called DOS (Latin for “Dominus Obsequious Sororium,” which translates to “master over slave women”), where women were branded with his initials and some were manipulated into being Raniere’s sex slaves, CBS reported, citing 2015 court filings.
Former Nxivm members who left the group said Raniere’s supposed self-help methods were used to groom certain women in DOS.
Some members who’ve stayed loyal to Raniere are now facing long prison sentences
Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman, who was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison on September 30 for identity fraud and racketeering, provided Raniere with millions to bombard members who left Nxivm with lawsuits, Vanity Fair reported, citing legal filings and public documents.
Mack, Nancy Salzman, and Lauren Salzman also pleaded guilty to crimes including racketeering in 2018, but their sentencings were postponed because of the pandemic. Those sentencings are being rescheduled and are expected to happen in 2020.
- Read more:
- The 3 main personality traits of cult leaders, according to a cult-recovery therapist
- 3 reasons why people join cults, according to a cult-recovery therapist
- How a married couple who escaped NXIVM is rebuilding their relationship from scratch after leaving the cult
- Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman has been sentenced to almost 7 years in prison for her involvement in the NXIVM cult