Cult Leader Keith Raniere Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison
Keith Raniere, the leader of the cult-like group NXIVM, has been sentenced to 120 years in prison, according to NBC News. Raniere's charges include federal sex trafficking, racketeering, and possession of child pornography. Raniere and NXIVM, originally advertised as a professional development company, were the subjects of HBO's The Vow.
The trial included testimony from 15 NXIVM survivors. Each recounted their experiences with Raniere, a man they called a "self-help guru" that managed to lured women with "promises that he would help them take control of their lives."
During an appearance on Dateline NBC, Raniere apologized for any "tragedy" and "hurt" he may have caused, but insisted that he was innocent. "I am innocent. This is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt," he said. "There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I'm the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined."
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York posted the news on Twitter.
India Oxenberg, a Former NXIVM member and daughter of Dynasty's Catherine Oxenberg, explained that after she became entrenched in the group, she found it difficult to leave.
"When you're unaware, it's so easy to be led astray, especially by people who are masters at manipulation," Oxenberg said during an interview with Good Morning America.
In addition to Raniere, NXIVM's president Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren, bookkeeper Kathy Russell, and Claire Bronfman have all pleaded guilty to charges related to the cult's activities. Bronfman, an heir to the Seagrams liquor fortune, was sentenced earlier this month to six years and nine months in prison for charges of fraud and forced labor.
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