Sex cult NXIVM head Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison

Brenda Watkins
October 29, 2020

Keith Raniere, the founder of the cult-like group NXIVM where women were kept on starvation diets, branded with his initials, and ordered to have sex with him, was sentenced yesterday to 120 years in prison following his conviction for sex trafficking and other crimes.

The girl's older sister, who was also deeply involved in NXIVM, testified at length against Raniere at the trial.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis will announce Raniere's sentence after hearing victims speak.

Keith Raniere, 60, was convicted on multiple accounts such as racketeering, sex trafficking, and forced labor conspiracy. She was one of the women who exposed the inner workings of the cult. He said that went for the other victims too.

In a sentencing submission, lawyers for Reniere said he "continues to assert his complete innocence to these charges". "It is true I am not remorseful of the crimes I do not believe I committed at all", he said.

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The sentencing culminated several years of revelations about Raniere's program, NXIVM, which charged thousands of dollars for invitation-only self-improvement courses at its headquarters near Albany, New York, along with branches in Mexico and Canada. Adherents endured humiliation and pledged obedience to Raniere as part of his teachings. The Vow, one of the documentaries which recently finished airing its first season on HBO will apparently get into Raniere's side of the story in season two, but he'll have to tell it from prison. Raniere's charges include federal sex trafficking, racketeering, and possession of child pornography. He handed down the unusually high sentence in federal court in Brooklyn after hearing anguished statements by victims of a sex-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in Raniere's conviction a year ago, along with unrepentant remarks from the defendant himself.

At another point, he cut Agnifilo off as the lawyer tried to argue victims were not always factually correct. "And whether you think I'm the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined".

Earlier, India Oxenberg, the daughter of "Dynasty" actor Catherine Oxenberg, called Raniere an "entitled little princess" and a sexual predator and lamented that she "may have to spend the rest of my life with Keith Raneire's initials seared into me". She says he proceeded to infect her with a sexually transmitted infection, impregnate her and then force her abort the fetus, and cut her off from contact with her family and loved ones. You're a parasite, a grifter and a liar.

The company was funded in large part by an heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune, Clare Bronfman, who spent more than $100 million of her inheritance to sue Mr. Raniere's enemies and support the organization.

Raniere's defense team - who unsuccessfully asked the jury to focus on whether they saw his actions as legal, even if they found them immoral - had suggested a 15-year jail term would be appropriate. Prosecutors had sought only five years.

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