On Tuesday, October 27, self-styled self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, who founded the cult called NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”), was sentenced to 120 years for turning members into sex slaves branded with his initials. NXIVM, whose followers included millionaires and Hollywood actors, charged thousands of dollars for invitation-only self-improvement courses at its headquarters near Albany, New York, along with branches in Mexico and Canada.
As per the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis called Raniere “ruthless and unyielding” in crimes that were “particularly egregious” because he targeted girls and young women. Raniere was convicted last year on federal sex trafficking, racketeering, and possession of child pornography charges.
Reportedly, within the cult, there was a secret sorority comprised of female “slaves” who were branded with his initials and ordered to have sex with him. As per the prosecutors, women were also pressured into giving up embarrassing information about themselves that could be used against them if they left the group.
Prosecutors said that Raniere, who is 60, led a criminal enterprise, inducing shame and guilt to influence and control co-conspirators who helped recruit and groom sexual partners for Raniere. They said that among other crimes, Raniere began a sexual relationship in 2005 with a 15-year-old girl and confined another teenager to a room for nearly two years.
Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme told reporters on Tuesday, “When justice catches up to you, as it did today, it is severe. Keith Raniere will not be able to victimize people anymore after today’s sentence and we’re very grateful for that.”
Raniere’s unusually lengthy prison sentence has become a topic of conversation on social media, with many taking delight at the man finally reaping what he sowed. Writer Ashley Rey wrote on Twitter, “Eating 120 extra calories today as a f*** you to Keith Raniere.” The tweet is presumably a comment not only on the length of the sentence but also on reports that the cult forced an extreme diet on India Oxenberg, a former NXIVM member who is also the daughter of ‘Dynasty’ actor Catherine Oxenberg. Oxenberg was reportedly on a 500-calorie-per-day diet for more than a year.
One Twitter user wrote, “Keith Raniere sentenced for 120 yeas we poppin bottles tonight lads!” Another Twitter user said, “I say this with the utmost sincerity, from the bottom of my heart: F*** KEITH RANIERE.”
eating 120 extra calories today as a fuck you to keith raniere
— ashley ray (@theashleyray) October 27, 2020
keith raniere sentenced for 120 yeas we poppin bottles tonight lads!
— [redacted] (@narrativefoil) October 27, 2020
i say this with the utmost sincerity, from the bottom of my heart: FUCK KEITH RANIERE
— ✨🔮gay baby witch 🔮✨ (@ittyybittybaker) October 27, 2020
One Twitter user noted, “Reading about the women who went to the sentencing of #KeithRaniere was 10000x more compelling than the nine drawn episodes of the vow. Though I should admit I watched every damn episode of the vow. Throw the book at him.” Another Twitter user said, “Keith Raniere, the founder of Nxivm and an absolute vile human being, got sentenced to 120 years in prison. His convictions included racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, and human trafficking. Today is a good day.”
Reading about the women who went to the sentencing of #KeithRaniere was 10000x more compelling than the nine drawn episodes of the vow. Though I should admit I watched every damn episode of the vow. Throw the book at him.
— Gabby Revilla Lugo (@gabbyrevlugo) October 27, 2020
Keith Raniere, the founder of Nxivm and an absolute vile human being, got sentenced to 120 years in prison. His convictions included racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child and human trafficking. Today is a good day.
— Kimberly Schuch (@itskimeveryone) October 27, 2020
NXIVM has been the subject of two TV documentary series this year, HBO’s ‘The Vow’, and the Starz series ‘Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult’.