Leader of N.Y. sex cult found guilty on all counts
NEW YORK — Keith Raniere, the head of the NXIVM cult who branded women with its initials and treated them as his “sex slaves,” was found guilty on all counts by a Brooklyn jury Wednesday.
It took about four hours of deliberations for a jury of eight men and four women to come back with a verdict against the longtime leader and figurehead of upstate selfhelp company in his sex trafficking, racketeering and racketeering conspiracy trial.
As the verdict was read Raniere, 58, who was called “Vanguard” by his followers, was stoic and whispering to his lawyer, and several NXIVM defectors were crying and trembling.
Raniere was accused of helping himself to women who were recruited for his sexual pleasure into a secret sect called “DOS.” He had pleaded not guilty, and said his encounters with the alleged victims, some of whom were branded with his initials, were consensual.
Prosecutors said his entire purpose for starting the cult, a secret subgroup under the NXIVM umbrella, was to feed himself an endless supply of sexual partners.
He kept nine “first-line slaves,” women who were longtime blind followers of Raniere and NXIVM, prosecutors said.