Nxivm founder Keith Raniere to be sentenced today

NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere’s sentencing gets underway with victim impact statements from former ‘sex slaves’ including India Oxenberg

  • Raniere will be sentenced in New York City on Tuesday morning
  • More than 100 Nxivm victims attended the hearing  
  • Among them was India Oxenberg, Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg’s daughter 
  • He is facing life behind bars after being convicted of a range of crimes including sex trafficking
  • His lawyers are asking that be sentenced to 15 years in prison at the most 
  • He founded Nxivm in 1998 and recruited more than 17,000 people before 2017
  • Former members asked the authorities to investigate amid claims of sexual abuse
  • Raniere ran a sub-sect in the cult where women were branded with his initials
  • They had to ask permission to eat and referred to ‘masters’; they were slaves
  • Among their many anecdotes is that Raniere raped girls aged 15 
  • He brought some to the US from Mexico, according to his indictment 
  • Raniere maintains he has done nothing wrong and never raped anyone
  • The cult still operates and many of his supporters attended court on Tuesday 

NXIVM leader Keith Raniere is facing life in prison. He has not been seen since before his arrest in 2018

NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere’s sentencing begins Tuesday with victim impact statements from some of his former ‘sex slaves’. 

Raniere, 60, is facing life in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor in June 2019.

His sentencing was delayed on Tuesday because so many people had shown up to attend it. 

Because of social distancing rules, fewer people are allowed in courtrooms now than before. 

More than an hour after Raniere’s scheduled hearing time, court officials were trying to determine whether or not they should open a second courtroom for the overspill of media and victims who had shown up at Brooklyn Criminal Court on Tuesday. 

He founded NXIVM in Albany, New York, in 1998 and between then and 2017, recruited more than 17,000 people to it, promising them self-help. 

But within the secretive organization there was an even more clandestine sub-sect which he was the master of. 

Named DOS, the sub-sect involved women being his sexual slaves and submitting themselves entirely to his control. 

They were brandished with his initials, starved, sleep deprived and forced to engage in group sex and blackmailed with ‘collateral’ they had provided in the form of incriminating photos, videos or information about them or their families. 

Raniere also punished young women including a teenager who prosecutors said he held in a room for two years as punishment because she’d shown a romantic interest in another man.  

Among others involved in the cult were actresses Allison Mack – who is in jail awaiting her own sentencing – and India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg who escaped the cult and cooperated with the authorities to convict Raniere. 

Actress India Oxenberg arrives at Brooklyn Criminal Court on Tuesday ahead of Keith Raniere’s sentencing 


India is shown outside the courtroom carrying her victim impact statement in with her 


NXIVM supporter Nicki Clyne is one of those who stands by Raniere. She is shown outside court in Brooklyn on Tuesday waiting for the proceeding to get underway

She previously told how she was brainwashed for seven years into thinking Raniere was helping her. 

‘What I thought I was learning was self-help and personal growth. What I was learning was the opposite. It was inhumane,’ she said in a recent interview. 

India was among those expected to give victim impact statements at Raniere’s sentencing on Tuesday morning. 

She said she’d been ‘paining’ over what to say to him when they came face to face. 

The 29-year-old was seen arriving at court wearing a mask. 

Raniere himself maintains he has done nothing wrong and he still enjoys the support of some loyal followers. 

Nicki Clyne is one of those who stands by Raniere. 

She was seen standing outside the courtroom on Tuesday morning before proceedings got underway. 

Clyne is married to Smallville actress Allison Mack but authorities say it is a sham marriage to help Clyne, who is Canadian, circumvent immigration laws. 

Raniere brandished the women who were part of DOS – a sub sect of NXIVM – with his initials

She maintains that everyone involved in NXIVM consented to their participation. 

In a video project with other followers titled the ‘Dossier Project’, she said: ‘Hopefully anyone watching this will see that we’re all grown a** woman.’  

A TIMELINE OF NXIVM 

1998: NXIVM is founded

Raniere founded Nxivm with Nancy  Salzman, a psychiatric nurse. It was designed to be a self-help group and was based out of Albany, New York.

Executive Success Programs, Inc., was another name for the courses. Raniere had, until then, tried and failed multiple times to launch his own business. 

He’d grown up in Suffern, New York, with divorced parents, one of whom worked in advertising. 

After graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, upstate New York, in 1982 then tried his hand at marketing before launching Nxivm. 

At the time he founded the organization, he was in a relationship with Toni Natalie, the woman who introduced him to Salzman. Natalie later recalled Salzman becoming enthralled with Raniere, as many other women who met him did. 

2002 Bronfmans recruited 

One of the turning points in the cult came in 2002 when Salzman and Raniere recruited members of the influential Bronfman family. 

The Bronfmans come from the Seagram liquor empire and are heiresses to billions. 

According to his indictment, Raniere tricked Clare Bronfman into giving him millions over the years. 

Her sister, Sara, was not as enthusiastically involved. It was through the Bronfman sisters that the first signs of trouble in Nxivm emerged. 

In 2003, Clare told their father that she’d loaned Nxivm $2million. He became suspicious and publicly accused Raniere of running a cult in a Forbes article. 

For the next several years, they tried to legitimize themselves with wholesome associations, all the while running the cult of sexual servitude to Raniere behind closed doors. 

In 2009, the Dalai Lama even appeared on stage with Raniere at an event in Albany, NY.  

2011 – Allison Mack and India Oxenberg recruited 

In 2011, actresses Allison Mack and India Oxenberg became some of the newest recruits to the group. 

Mack rose through the ranks quickly and grew close to Raniere, who was referred to as the ‘Vanguard’ to cult members. 

2015 – DOS is created 

DOS was the name given to the secret, sub-sect within the cult that involved women being branded with Raniere’s initials and having to perform sexual servitude. 

Oxenberg has told in the past how she was enslaved to Mack. Part of the ‘discipline’ training was controlling how many calories people ate.

She would have to ask permission for when she could eat, she has since revealed. 

Raniere’s indictment refers to DOS as the a ‘pyramid’. 

‘DOS operates as a pyramid with levels of “slaves” headed by “masters.” Slaves are expected to recruit slaves of their own (thus becoming masters themselves), who in tum owe service not only to their own masters but also to masters above them in the DOS pyramid. 

‘Raniere alone forms the top of the pyramid as the highest master. Other than Raniere, all participants in DOS are women. Raniere’s status as head of the pyramid was concealed from all newly recruited slaves, other than those directly under Raniere,’ it reads.

2017 – Investigation launched after former members speak out 

The Department of Justice started probing Raniere in 2017 after some of its former members made contact to share information about DOS. 

He moved from Albany, NY, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

March 2018: Raniere is arrested in his villa in Mexico 

April 2018: Allison Mack is arrested in Brooklyn 

July 2018: Clare Bronfman is arrested in New York City 

April 2019: Bronfman and Mack both plead guilty to racketeering. Bronfman has been sentenced but Mack has not yet  

June 2019: Raniere is found guilty on all counts 

October 2020: Raniere is sentenced

Bronfman and Mack were arrested in April 2018, a month after Raniere was taken into custody in Mexico. 

They both made bail then in April 2019, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges as part of plea deals to reduce their sentences. 

Bronfman was sentenced to 81 months in a federal prison but Mack has not yet been sentenced.

Raniere founded Nxivm with Nancy  Salzman, a psychiatric nurse. It was designed to be a self-help group and was based out of Albany, New York.

Executive Success Programs, Inc., was another name for the courses. Raniere had, until then, tried and failed multiple times to launch his own business. 

He’d grown up in Suffern, New York, with divorced parents, one of whom worked in advertising. 

After graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, upstate New York, in 1982 then tried his hand at marketing before launching Nxivm. 

At the time he founded the organization, he was in a relationship with Toni Natalie, the woman who introduced him to Salzman.

Natalie later recalled Salzman becoming enthralled with Raniere, as many other women who met him did.  

One of the turning points in the cult came in 2002 when Salzman and Raniere recruited members of the influential Bronfman family. 

The Bronfmans come from the Seagram liquor empire and are heiresses to billions. 

According to his indictment, Raniere tricked Clare Bronfman into giving him millions over the years. 

Her sister, Sara, was not as enthusiastically involved. It was through the Bronfman sisters that the first signs of trouble in Nxivm emerged. 

In 2003, Clare told their father that she’d loaned Nxivm $2million. He became suspicious and publicly accused Raniere of running a cult in a Forbes article. 

For the next several years, they tried to legitimize themselves with wholesome associations, all the while running the cult of sexual servitude to Raniere behind closed doors. 

In 2009, the Dalai Lama even appeared on stage with Raniere at an event in Albany, NY.   

In 2011, actresses Allison Mack and India Oxenberg became some of the newest recruits to the group. 

Mack rose through the ranks quickly and grew close to Raniere, who was referred to as the ‘Vanguard’ to cult members

In 2015, DOS was created. It stands for “Dominus Obsequious Sororium” – which translates to Master over Slave Women in Latin.

It was a sub-sect within the cult that involved women being branded with Raniere’s initials and having to perform sexual servitude. 

Oxenberg has told in the past how she was enslaved to Mack. 

Part of the ‘discipline’ training was controlling how many calories people ate.

She would have to ask permission for when she could eat, she has since revealed. 

Raniere’s indictment refers to DOS as the a ‘pyramid’. 

Almost all of the DOS recruits were ‘vulnerable’.  

‘When identifying prospective slaves, masters often targeted women who were currently experiencing difficulties in their lives, including dissatisfaction with the pace of their advancement in Nxivm. 

‘While avoiding the words “master” and “slave” in the initial recruiting pitch, a master would tell her prospective slave that the prospective slave had an opportunity to join an organization that would change her life,’ Raniere’s indictment reads. 

‘The master then told the prospective slave that, in order to learn more, she had to provide “collateral,” which was meant to ensure that the prospective slave would keep what she was about to learn a secret. 

‘Collateral consisted of material or information that the prospective slave would not want revealed because it would be ruinous to the prospective slave herself and/or someone close to her.’

Raniere was also charged with trafficking at least one young woman from Mexico. 

The woman, Daniela, had been awarded a scholarship at a prestigious school in Switzerland but she gave it up to travel to the US and join NXIVM. 

At Raniere’s trial, she testified that he kept her confined in a room for nearly two years because she’d shown romantic interest in another man. 

She said she was controlled by him after he sneaked her into the country illegally from Canada. 

‘Sex meant access when it came to Keith…I was without a doubt a captive from a moment I was illegal in the country. 

‘As time progressed it was clear to me I could not leave,’ she told his trial.

She said she first had sex with him on ‘dingy’ sheets when she was 18 but that her younger sister slept with him when she was just 16.   

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