Home U.S NXIVM founder Keith Raniere's former 'slaves' attend his sentencing

NXIVM founder Keith Raniere's former 'slaves' attend his sentencing


Fifteen of Keith Raniere’s former ‘slaves’ confronted him in court on Tuesday to eviscerate him as a ‘parasite’, ‘monster’ and ‘psychological terrorist’ before he was sentenced to spend the rest of  his life in prison. 

Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years behind bars for running the cult from 1998, during which time he sexually enslaved women, brandished them and starved them. He maintains he is innocent and misunderstood. 

The court heard that he recruited 17,000 people to NXIVM in total. Fifteen of them spoke at the hearing. 

Among them was Toni Natalie, the girlfriend he was dating when he founded the cult, India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, and a woman who gave her name just as Camila. She was his first known victim and told the court how he raped her when she was 15 and he was 45 in 2005. 

Others include Angela Ucci and Barbara Bouchey. They are among a group known as the ‘NXIVM 9’ – some of the first to have been targeted by Raniere. 

Angela Ucci, Barbara Bouchey, an unnamed victimand Susan Dones all posed together outside the court after Raniere's sentencing

Angela Ucci, Barbara Bouchey, an unnamed victimand Susan Dones all posed together outside the court after Raniere’s sentencing

Toni Natalie, Raniere's girlfriend when he started the cult, was also there. She spoke too

Toni Natalie, Raniere’s girlfriend when he started the cult, was also there. She spoke too 

India Oxenberg, 29, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, gave an impact statement

India Oxenberg, 29, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, gave an impact statement

India looked directly at Raniere as she delivered her statement from the witness stand

India looked directly at Raniere as she delivered her statement from the witness stand

Those women posed together in solidarity outside the courtroom after Raniere was sentenced. 

Ucci described the day as the ‘finale’ to his reign of terror. Catherine Oxenberg spoke to GMA on Wednesday morning to call Raniere a ‘vile monster’. She tried for years to extract her daughter from the cult.  

Raniere had been facing a maximum sentence of life in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor in June 2019.

As the founder of NXIVM, the court had heard how the cult-like group kept women on starvation diets, branded them with his initials, and ordered them to have sex with him. 

India's mother Catherine on Wednesday called Raniere a 'vile monster' whose reign had come to an end

India’s mother Catherine on Wednesday called Raniere a ‘vile monster’ whose reign had come to an end

His sentencing was delayed on Tuesday because so many people had shown up to attend it. India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, was one of those who spoke. 

She said Raniere treated her like his ‘human science experiment’, calling him an ‘entitled little princess’ and a sexual predator. She lamented that she ‘may have to spend the rest of my life with Keith Raneire’s initials seared into me.’   

Raniere’s lawyers asked that he be sentenced to 15 years. But after telling the judge he had ‘no remorse’ for the crimes because he ‘didn’t commit them’, Judge Nicholas Garaufis handed down the sentence that means he will spend the rest of his life in prison.    

Branding Raniere ‘ruthless and unyielding’ in crimes that were ‘particularly egregious’ because he targeted girls and young women, Judge Garaufis said: ‘To him, the brave victims… are liars. Mr. Raniere remains unmoved. … [He] has therefore failed to demonstrate remorse.’  

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 last year, along with unrepentant remarks from the defendant himself.

‘I do believe I am innocent of the charges. … It is true I am not remorseful of the crimes I do not believe I committed at all,’ Raniere said. 

NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere has been sentenced to 120 years behind bars after a dramatic hearing where he was confronted by 15 of his victims

Raniere looks on during his sentencing Tuesday

NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere has been sentenced to 120 years behind bars after a dramatic hearing where he was confronted by 15 of his victims 

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. 

Eventually, it got underway with the statement of a woman who called herself Camila. Raniere moved her and her sister to the US from Mexico in 2005. She called him a ‘monster’.  

Fifteen women gave victim impact statements on Tuesday. Among them were former girlfriends of Raniere and former victims. They labeled him a ‘parasite’ and a ‘psychological terrorist’. 

‘He screwed with my mind for so long. It is difficult for me to utter his name, so I will only refer to him as ‘he’. 

‘I can still hear his voice in my head — it continues to be a daily struggle,’ Camila said. 

She also told the court that she was 15 and he was 45 when he raped her. He denies it. 

 ‘I can still hear his voice in my head — it continues to be a daily struggle

‘Camila’ – Raniere’s first victim who says he raped her in 2005 

‘He manipulated me for what he wanted. 

‘I became unreachable to my parents, my brother, my friends until I had nobody to worry about me. He knew the things that mattered most to me and what I feared and used that against me,’ she said 

Raniere was convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking but not rape.  

‘He told me to keep it a secret, and he would ask me to sneak out of the home to meet in a place where we were isolated from everyone.  

‘He took naked pictures of me — the experience of being photographed is seared in my memory,’ she said. 

She also told the court that he forced her to weigh less than 100lbs and that he once made her get an abortion.  

The likelihood of leniency had seemed to dissipate with the recent sentencing of Clare Bronfman, 41, an heir to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, for her role in the cult. 

Bronfman was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison. Prosecutors had only sought five years. Ex-followers told the judge that Bronfman for years had used her wealth to try to silence NXIVM defectors. 

Former NXIVM member and supporter of Raniere, Marc Elliot, said: ‘We all should be fighting for due process no matter how much you don’t like it or how inconvenient it is. Because if someone or society ever turns on you, you better hope to God that due process and laws are still standing to protect you.’

Kristen Keefe gives a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing in the sex trafficking and racketeering case against NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere as Raniere listens

Kristen Keefe gives a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing in the sex trafficking and racketeering case against NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere as Raniere listens

Supporter Marc Elliot speaks to reporters following the sentencing hearing Tuesday. Nicki Clyne, second left, is one of those who also stands by Raniere

Supporter Marc Elliot speaks to reporters following the sentencing hearing Tuesday. Nicki Clyne, second left, is one of those who also stands by Raniere

Raniere’s ex-girlfriend, Toni Natalie – who he dated when in the 1990s – said he needed to be locked away for life ‘as they did Charles Manson.’ 

Raniere 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. 

You played doctor and I was your human science experiment  

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. 

Supporters: Linda Chung, left, Nicki Clyne, center, and Michelle Hatchette leave Brooklyn federal court following the sentencing hearing for self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, Tuesday. Raniere himself maintains he has done nothing wrong and he still enjoys the support of some loyal followers. Fifty people wrote letter to the judge asking for leniency.

Supporters: Linda Chung, left, Nicki Clyne, center, and Michelle Hatchette leave Brooklyn federal court following the sentencing hearing for self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, Tuesday. Raniere himself maintains he has done nothing wrong and he still enjoys the support of some loyal followers. Fifty people wrote letter to the judge asking for leniency.

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

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

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

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 and cooperated with the authorities to convict Raniere. 

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. 

Fifty people wrote letter to the judge asking for leniency. 

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

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

Allison Mack has not yet been sentenced

Clare Bronfman has been sentenced to 81 months

Allison Mack (left) is yet to be sentenced.  Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman (right) has been sentenced to 81 months in federal prison

Mack and Oxenberg together in 2018 in Mack's Brooklyn home. Oxenberg ended up cooperating with prosecutors to put Mack and leader Keith Raniere behind bars

Mack and Oxenberg together in 2018 in Mack’s Brooklyn home. Oxenberg ended up cooperating with prosecutors to put Mack and leader Keith Raniere behind bars

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.’  

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.   

Raniere grew up in New York and tried his hand at marketing before launching the self-help programs in the late 1990s

Raniere grew up in New York and tried his hand at marketing before launching the self-help programs in the late 1990s

Raniere receiving a white sash from the Dalai Lama in Albany, New York, in 2009

Raniere receiving a white sash from the Dalai Lama in Albany, New York, in 2009

Fifteen women gave victim impact statements on Tuesday. Among them were former girlfriends of Raniere and former victims. They labeled him a 'parasite' and a 'psychological terrorist'

Fifteen women gave victim impact statements on Tuesday. Among them were former girlfriends of Raniere and former victims. They labeled him a ‘parasite’ and a ‘psychological terrorist’

A court sketch of Raniere in June 2019 when he was convicted of seven counts including child porn and sex trafficking

A court sketch of Raniere in June 2019 when he was convicted of seven counts including child porn and sex trafficking

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.   

Toni Natalie, Rainiere's ex-girlfriend, wrote this book

Toni Natalie, Rainiere’s ex-girlfriend, wrote this book 

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.’

Toni Natalie, second from left, and India Oxenberg, right, arrive with their attorneys at Brooklyn federal court for the sentencing hearing

Toni Natalie, second from left, and India Oxenberg, right, arrive with their attorneys at Brooklyn federal court for the sentencing hearing

India Oxenberg gives a victim impact statement

India Oxenberg gives a victim impact statement

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.

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

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