Keith Raniere, 60, the leader of an exclusive self-help group that attracted the rich and famous, was found guilty last year of forcing women to have sex with him. During the six-week process, the jury heard how Raniere’s followers took five-day, five-thousand-dollar self-help courses.
Some women were exploited financially and sexually, and were forced to go on a very low calorie diet. Raniere and other women who worked for him demanded intimate documents and photos of the victims, which they kept and then blackmailed them if they wanted to leave the group.
For years, Raniere maintained a harem with 15 to 20 sex slaves, one of them aged 15. Some of their victims were marked with a symbol that represented their initials, while they were submitted by other followers.
After being arrested in a luxurious villa in the Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta in March 2018, Raniere was found guilty in June 2019 of sex trafficking, extortion, organized crime, threats and child abuse by a New York jury.
Established in Albany, capital of the state of New York, NXIVM (pronounced Nexium) had centers in several cities in the United States, Mexico – where Raniere’s partner was Emiliano Salinas, son of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari ( 1988-1994) -, Canada and other countries.
In a message posted on Twitter during the lawsuit against Raniere, Salinas said he left the NXIVM “immediately” in early 2018, when an acquaintance involved in the sect told him about the “atrocities” suffered.
The NXIVM scandal is the subject of two adaptations for TV and cinema: a documentary series, “The Vow” on HBO, which insists on the sexual side of the organization, and a Lisa Robinson film, “Escaping the Nxivm Cult”, of 2019, about the testimony of a mother who tried to free a daughter from the sect.
Another five people were accused of being linked to the case and all pleaded guilty.
One of them, the heiress of the Seagram distillery empire, the Canadian Clare Bronfman, was sentenced on September 30 to more than six years in prison.
In 2019, the daughter of billionaire Edgar Bronfman, 41, pleaded guilty to having used more than $ 100 million of his $ 2.6 billion fortune to help the organization created by Raniere.
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