On Tuesday, a judge sentenced NXIVM founder Keith Raniere to life in prison after his sex-trafficking victims testified against him in court yet again.
Raniere had long presented himself as a self-improvement guru, but victims exposed how he used NXIVM to lure in unsuspecting women, trap them into “master-slave” relationships on the false premise of self-improvement, and coerce them to have sex with him. Part of the initiation process involved women getting branded with Raniere’s initials — and those of Smallville actress Allison Mack — near their genitals.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis sentenced Raniere to 120 years in prison on Tuesday. Prosecutors had sought life in prison while defense lawyers fought for 15 years in prison, the Associated Press reported.
Nxivm founder and leader Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison.
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) October 27, 2020
The 60-year-old sex cult leader has shown no remorse. His lawyers told the judge that their client wasn’t sorry “for his conduct or his choices.”
Dueling documentary TV series have told the NXIVM story: HBO’s The Vow, and Starz’s Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult.
Prosecutors claimed NXIVM amounted to a criminal enterprise, using shame and guilt to control co-conspirators who helped recruit and groom women for sex with Keith Raniere. Garaufis convicted Raniere on charges including racketeering, alien smuggling, sex trafficking, extortion, and obstruction of justice. Among other crimes, Raniere began a sexual relationship in 2005 with a 15-year-old girl and confined another teenager to a room for nearly two years.
Raniere ran NXIVM out of Albany, N.Y., with branches in Mexico and Canada.
Claire Bronfman, an heir to the Seagram’s liquor fortune and a financier for NXIVM, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison, more than the sentence prosecutors requested.
Allison Mack has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. She admitted to being a sex-slave master. According to The Vow, the idea for the master-slave sorority grew out of some of the members’ rabid opposition to Donald Trump.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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