Founder of the NXIVM sex cult Keith Raniere was found guilty on all federal charges for running a “sexual pyramid scheme” in which he branded, trafficked, and enslaved young women.
Prosecutors said Raniere, known as “Vanguard” among his followers, helmed a secret group within NXIVM called DOS, where he recruited female “slaves” to work as “masters” of their own slaves, and performed rituals where he branded them like cattle and forced them to perform sex acts.
“This trial has revealed that Raniere, who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact a massive manipulator, a con man and the crime boss of a cult-like organization involved in sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion, compelled abortions, branding, degradation and humiliation,” said Richard Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, told reporters Wednesday. “The evidence proved that Raniere was truly a modern-day Svengali.”
Statement by United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue after the Conviction of Keith Raniere, outside the Brooklyn federal courthouse https://t.co/hSTOYinIp3
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) June 19, 2019
“Keith Raniere’s crime spree has ended and his victims will finally see justice.”
The jury deliberated in less than five hours to reach a verdict, and convicted Raniere of seven federal charges, including sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, attempted sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy, and multiple counts of racketeering conspiracy – including sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Raniere was arrested in Mexico in 2018 after investigators had gathered enough evidence from several of his “slaves.”
Others have already been convicted for their roles in NXIVM’s operations, including “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, billionaire Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman, and mother-daughter duo Nancy and Lauren Salzman; Nancy had co-founded NXIVM with Raniere in 1998.
NXIVM billed itself on its website as “a community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.”
Notably, the sex cult had numerous links to prominent Democrat socialites like the Rothshild family and Richard Branson, and had even donated nearly $30,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
2020 Democratic candidate Kirsten Gillibrand’s father even worked for the sex cult at one point, according to court documents.
Raniere’s lawyer Marc Agnifilo told NPR that his client “maintains his innocence and we do intend to appeal.”
Raniere will be sentenced on September 25, and could face life in prison.
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The NXIVM sex cult leader has now been convicted on all charges. During trial, a cult member testified she raised money for the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008. Alex breaks down they shady ties between the Clintons and sex cults.