A Nxivm “sex slave” recounted on Wednesday her lone sexual encounter with cult leader Keith Raniere — and having to wear a “dog collar” in a ceremony with her “slave master.”
Picking up where she left off on Tuesday, the woman, Sylvie, testified that she met Raniere — the man she knew as “Vanguard” — in person at his upstate New York compound at the behest of her master, Monica Duran.
“I needed to ask him to take my picture and that I had to go along with whatever else happened next,” Sylvie told jurors on the second day of Raniere’s trial in Brooklyn federal court. “I followed Keith into the house. From what I remember, he took me straight upstairs.”
In Raniere’s study, there was a “big white bed that had white dirty sheets on it.” The head of Nxivm — which billed itself as a self-empowerment organization — told her to get undressed and lie on the bed.
“I felt like I was having some crazy, out-of-body experience,” Sylvie continued, looking uncomfortable. “So I laid back on the bed and he, I guess you’d call it, went down on me.”
Afterward, “he told me he was my grand master now and that he was a master of Monica,” Sylvie said.
“Did you want to do this?” prosecutor Moira Penza asked her.
She replied, “I understood it was a command coming from my master.”
The romp was arranged by Duran after Sylvie begged to stop sending Raniere sexually explicit photos of herself — because her dad had discovered the embarrassing images.
Raniere said, “I could stop sending the photos but that the next thing would be in person,” Sylvie testified Tuesday just before the trial wrapped for the day.
But Sylvie, who was married at the time, recalled being forced to pose for more photos shot by Raniere himself “that mostly featured my vagina.”
“At that time, I felt so much shame. I felt everything was just lie and secrets and darkness,” she said.
At one point, she defiantly pledged her commitment to her husband, John — who was in the courtroom on Wednesday.
But Raniere shot back, “No, your ultimate commitment is to me. I am your grand master.”
As part of her membership in Nxivm’s exclusive “sex slave” sorority called DOS, Sylvie was tasked with recruiting more “slaves” — as well as making a “life commitment to Monica.”
“There would be a ceremony where she would put a necklace on me with a clasp that couldn’t be broken,” Sylvie recalled. “I think she called it a dog collar.”
Duran also collected damaging collateral against Sylvie and demanded she hand over some of her income.
“She had power over whether I was allowed to have children or not,” Sylvie added.
Prosecutors have said slaves were forced to be branded with Raniere’s initials in their pelvic area — but Sylvie managed to dodge the sick act.
“It was described to me by Monica as it would be something like a little tattoo,” Sylvie testified. “She traced it with her finger and told me it was Keith’s initials and said when I got it, it would be a mix of her and Keith’s initials.”
The weekend of Sylvie’s scheduled branding ceremony is when Nxivm began to fall apart. Two members of the alleged sex cult suddenly resigned, creating waves of panic within the organization.
Sylvie said she told her husband about the existence of DOS but “he didn’t believe it.”
“I got really freaked out. The thing that scared me most was there was a story about women being beaten with paddles,” she said.
Monica confirmed the account but downplayed it as fitting in “with their indoctrination.”
Sylvie’s testimony continues Wednesday.
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