Heiress Sentenced in Sex-Cult Case

Clare Bronfman gets 81 months for her involvement in Nxivm
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2020 5:05 PM CDT
Billionaire's Daughter Gets 81 Months in Sex-Cult Case
Clare Bronfman arrives at federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

An heiress is heading to prison for her role in an abusive cult that turned women into sex slaves, the New York Daily News reports. A judge sentenced Clare Bronfman, the daughter of late Seagram's billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr., to 81 months in prison and fined her $500,000 on Wednesday. "I have made mistakes, I'm sorry for the time and resources I have taken from the court," she said. Bronfman is accused of illegally bringing young women into the US for the Nxivm cult and using part of her $210 million fortune to silence the group's enemies with legal action. "She used her incredible wealth as a means of intimidation, threat and exacting revenge on individuals who challenged its dogmas," Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis said in sentencing her.

Nine Nxivm victims spoke directly to Bronfman—who still publicly supports cult leader Keith Raniere—during the emotional hearing, the New York Times reports. "I pray that you will take the claws of Keith Raniere out of you, and you will learn who Clare Bronfman really is," said victim Susan Dones as she wept. "He is killing you." Other ex-members said they undured "scorched-earth litigation" and "hundreds of headline news stories" after leaving the group. Bronfman's sentence was based on her two guilty pleas: racketeering and conspiracy. Raniere, meanwhile, was found guilty last year of charges including sex-trafficking and racketeering. He could get life behind bars when he's sentenced in October. (Women in Nxivm were apparently branded with his initials.)

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