Published: Thu, June 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US Sex Cult Leader Who Starved, Branded Women With His Initials Convicted

US Sex Cult Leader Who Starved, Branded Women With His Initials Convicted

Keith Raniere (above, inset), the co-founder of NXIVM and accused leader of a freaky sex cult that also involved Smallville actress Allison Mack, has been found guilty of all counts in a high-profile trial in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday morning.

"There was no shortage whatsoever of lurid testimony over the course of an accused sex cult leader's trial in the Eastern District of NY, and it didn't take long for a jury of his peers to reach a verdict", Law & Crime reported Wednesday. The charges included racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking.

"Raniere was truly a modern-day Svengali", Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said outside court, calling him a lying manipulator who "ruined marriages, careers, fortunes and lives".

Furthermore, CNN reports the jury also found the government proved all charged racketeering acts - which suggests the magnitude of Raniere's guilt in the court's eyes is substantial.

The Justice Department began a federal investigation of NXIVM in 2017 when former member Sarah Edmondson filed a complaint, saying she was branded with Raniere's initials, "KR".

Mack, who faces up to 40 years in prison for her role luring women to Raniere, will be sentenced in September.

Agnifilo, the defence lawyer, sought to point jurors to evidence of text and other messages between Raniere and the women he said showed they had caring relationships that ended with "no hard feelings".

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A verdict has been reached in the trial of Keith Raniere.

Catherine Oxenberg, an actress who wrote a book called "Captive" about her efforts to rescue her daughter from Nxivm, called her daughter to tell her the verdict.

Court heard how Raniere starved them, expected them to have sex with him at any hour of the day and brainwashed the women into believing his twisted teachings. "We don't convict people in this country for being repulsive or offensive", Agnifilo said. "I think he's not surprised, but he maintains that he didn't mean to do anything wrong".

Attorneys for the defendant say he had no criminal intent and that his sexual encounters with followers were consensual. Several of the women who belonged to the inner circle of DOS had a NXIVM symbol seared into their flesh.

Raniere maintained that Nxivm (pronounced nexium) was a self-improvement organisation, but investigators said it was a sex-trafficking operation disguised as a mentoring group.

Even Agnifilo acknowledged early on that Raniere used abortions a part of a desire to have sex with many women. Agnifilo argued that the so-called collateral wasn't meaningful because it was never released.

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