Sex Cult Founder Learns His Fate

NXIVM leader Keith Raniere gets 120 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2020 5:28 PM CDT
Sex Cult Founder Gets 120 Years
India Oxenberg arrives with her attorney at Brooklyn federal court for a sentencing hearing for self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 in New York ls.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Defense lawyers said self-help guru and NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere should be sentenced to only 15 years in prison after being found guilty of sex trafficking, racketeering, and other crimes. But after hearing searing testimony from 15 victims Tuesday, US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis sentenced the unrepentant 60-year-old to 120 years in prison, the AP reports. Former followers including India Oxenberg daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, described Raniere as a sexual predator who manipulated women, pressured followers to have sex with him, and branded female "slaves" with his initials. Prosecutors said Raniere, who was also convicted on a child pornography charge, kept compromising material to ensure that the women remained obedient.

The first victim to speak, identified as Camila, said Raniere had started abusing her when she was 15 and he was 45, the New York Times reports. She said he ordered her to weigh less than 100 pounds and expected her to be available for sex at all hours. Her mother, brother, and a sister also spoke. A third sister and the girl's father are still involved with NXIVM. The court was told that Raniere had sex with all three sisters. In what the Times calls a "stunning moment," the judge shouted "No!" while Ranier's lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, argued that his client had been in love with all the women he was involved with. Arguing about intent in the case of a 45-year-old man who abused a child is "an insult to the intelligence of anyone who listens," the judge said. (Liquor heiress Clare Bronfman, who brought young women into the cult, was sentenced last month.)

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