Leader of the Nxivm sex cult, which caused a lot of uproar in the United States Keith Raniere has been sentenced to 120 years in prison in New York on Tuesday, news agency AFP reports.
Last June, the jury found Raniere guilty of all the charges against him. He was convicted of sexual exploitation, extortion, forced labor, human trafficking and possession of child pornography.
The cult, led by Raniere, was claimed to provide opportunities for spiritual growth for its members. Raniere’s role in the cult was to act as a charismatic guru. However, the court held that in practice this was trafficking in human beings disguised as mentoring. The cult women were sex slaves in Raniere.
The movement also appealed to the rich and famous, and in addition to Raniere, five others have received a verdict. For example, starring in the Smallville series Allison Mack has been convicted of operating in a cult. The cult’s management and financiers have included, among others, the heiress of the Canadian whiskey company Seagram. Clare Bronfman. He was sentenced in September to more than six years in prison.
Raniere claimed to women that having sex with her “heals them”. In addition, the women were branded with Ranier’s initials. Burn marks were made by other women in the community. Women were also starved and allowed to eat only about 500 to 800 kilocalories worth of food daily.
The youngest of those recruited to the cult was only 15 years old.
– I was a child. He took my youth from me, said one of the fifteen former members of the cult who spoke at the court hearing. More than 90 victims had written a letter to the judge Nicholas Garaufisille.
Upon joining, members were encouraged to hand over sensitive material, such as nude pictures, of themselves. They were later used to blackmail women.
Raniere said in court on Tuesday that he regretted the pain and anger he had produced, but denied guilty of the crimes. According to the defense attorneys, Raniere is an innocent as well as a victim of unfair trial. According to the defense, 15 years in prison would have been an appropriate sentence.
The Nxivm cult was set to operate for 20 years before its leaders were arrested two years ago.