NXIVM leader Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Today, NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere was sentenced in New York to 120 years in prison. A large sigh of relief was felt across the country, especially here in Vancouver.

      The charges were horrific. Raniere has been found guilty of sex trafficking, wire fraud, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, forced labour conspiracy, sex-trafficking conspiracy, and attempted sex trafficking.

      It has been a long haul for his victims. Raniere had been in prison since 2018 after being extradited from Mexico, but make no mistake, it took many years before his victims got the attention of the FBI.  

      In 2017 the #Metoo movement was on everyone’s radar and helped bring much needed attention to accusations of abuse.

      Raniere hid behind the NXIVM self-help organization, claiming that members were willing participants and could leave at any time. This, of course, turned out to be far from the truth.

      Raniere, 60, used starvation, blackmail, and manipulation to keep his victims under his control.

      Former Vancouver NXIVM member Sarah Edmunson was instrumental in bringing down Raniere after coming forward with hard evidence. In 2016, Edmunson had been branded with Raniere’s initials as a rite of passage into the DOS women’s empowerment group. DOS turned out to be a sex-slave cult, which had women supply collateral such as shameful photos to ensure their unwavering devotion and that the group remained secret.

      Some additional notable names are Clare Bronfman, who was sentenced in late September to 81 months in prison. Allison Mack known for her leading role on Smallville (filmed in Vancouver), was also been charged with engaging in sex trafficking and forced labour. She pleaded guilty and is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

      Two others, Nancy Saltzman and her daughter Lauren, pleaded guilty in 2019, but sentencing has been postponed.

      Raniere has shown no remorse and maintains his innocence.