Nxivm Founder Keith Raniere Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison
For those who’ve been watching The Vow on HBO, about the inner workings of the Nxivm group whose array of self-help groups and workshops allegedly hid a secret sex cult, here’s a spoiler for the recently announced Season 2: Keith Raniere, the leader of the group, was sentenced today in Brooklyn to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking.
The sentencing came after a lengthy trial, and a hearing, described by The New York Times, that included “hours of often wrenching testimony from 15 victims.” The details of the abuse suffered by the victims in the case are legitimately horrifying. One of the witnesses, identified only as Camila, described what she had endured:
The relationship lasted 12 years, Camila said, with Mr. Raniere expecting her to be available for sex at all hours. He ordered her to weigh less than 100 pounds and directed her to get an abortion. She said she attempted suicide once.... Camila’s mother, brother and a sister also spoke on Tuesday, telling the judge that Mr. Raniere destroyed their once close-knit family. The father and oldest daughter in the family — who had a child with Mr. Raniere — are still supporters of him. Mr. Raniere had a sexual relationship with all three sisters in the family.
As chronicled in the first season of The Vow, some members of Nxivm formed a women-only group whose participants were initiated in a ceremony that involved branding their skin. The series follows several former members of Nxivm as they speak out about the abuses they claim to have witnessed; thus far Rainere and five other women have been charged for alleged crimes, including actress Allison Mack from Smallville. New episodes of The Vow are expected to premiere on HBO and HBO Max in 2021.
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