NXIVM Leader Keith Raniere Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison

Keith Raniere, the leader of the purported self-help organization NXIVM, has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty on charges of racketeering, sex trafficking and more.

By Samantha Schnurr Oct 27, 2020 8:33 PMTags
Watch: NXIVM Leader Keith Raniere Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison

More than two years since his arrest, Keith Raniere has learned his fate. 

The leader of the purported personal development organization, NXIVM, was sentenced to 120 years in prison on Tuesday, Oct. 27, just days after a federal judge denied his second request for a new trial. 

Raniere was also fined $1,750,000.

In June 2019, a jury in a Brooklyn federal court found Raniere guilty of all counts, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking. The jury also found that the government proved all charged racketeering acts. Raniere, who had pleaded not guilty in the case, did not testify in the course of the trial nor did his defense attorney call any witnesses. 

During the sentencing hearing, Raniere did hear from 15 individuals who delivered victim impact statements before his sentence was announced. Among them was longtime NXIVM member India Oxenberg, whose actress mother Catherine Oxenberg rang public alarms about how India had been "sucked" into NXIVM. Oxenberg came forward and claimed the now-29-year-old had been recruited as a member of DOS—the secret hierarchical society of female masters and slaves within NXIVM where women were branded and required to repeatedly submit "collateral" to be members, according to prosecutors. While Raniere headed the society, that was kept from recruits. India has said she was introduced to DOS by fellow NXIVM member and former Smallville actress Allison Mack, who was India's "master."

"It was a trap," India said in an October interview with ABC News. "And it was a ploy for Keith to enslave women for his own sexual desires."

A Guide to the NXIVM Scandal and the Case Against Keith Raniere

"My darling India is in court today, reading her victim impact statement. i am sending love and support," Catherine wrote on Instagram on Tuesday, Oct. 27. "It is the first time she will get to address her abuser Keith Raniere - a man who lacks any moral compass. Finally he is held accountable for his crimes. Praying for life with no parole Let no one be harmed by him again."

Keith Raniere Conversations Youtube

Following the sentencing, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement, "Raniere's reign of control over the women he scarred, both physically and emotionally, is the making of a horror story. It is inconceivable to think of the sexual exploitation, abuse, seclusion, and mind control his victims suffered—at his direction. Today the judge has given him 120 years to think about whether or not the torture he inflicted on others for more than a decade, and the distress he brought to their families, was worth it in the end."

Elizabeth Williams via AP, File

While Raniere, 60, has maintained his innocence against the charges he faced, the man known as "Vanguard" within NXIVM acknowledged his leadership role in a recent interview, his first since being arrested more than two years ago. "I apologize for my participation in all of this—this pain and suffering," he said in a phone interview from prison that aired on NBC Nightly News. "I've clearly participated. I've been the leader of the community."

Fellow leaders within the organization, including NXIVM "Prefect" Nancy Salzman, Mack and Seagram's liquor heiress Clare Bronfman have all pleaded guilty to charges. 

Mack pleaded guilty in April 2019 to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering acts of state law extortion and forced labor. In court, she admitted to concealing Raniere's role as the head of DOS—as well as holding property as collateral. "Through it all, I believed Keith Raniere's intentions were to help people," she said. "I was wrong." Mack currently is awaiting sentencing. 

In September, Bronfman was sentenced to "81 months imprisonment for conspiracy to conceal and harbor aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of personal identification information," per a press release.

A hearing on victim restitution will be held at a later date.

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