Keith Raniere, the American man accused of sexually, physically, and psychologically abusing women under the auspices of cult-like ‘self-help’ group Nxivm, has been found guilty of charges including sex trafficking, forced labour, and possession of child pornography.
The New York Times reports jurors at Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York City deliberated over the charges for only a few hours yesterday before finding Raniere, 58, guilty of all seven counts levelled against him.
In addition to the sex trafficking, forced labor, and child porn charges, Raniere was found guilty of racketeering, identity theft, wire fraud, and money laundering.
He could face life in prison when he is sentenced for those crimes in September.
Over a six-week trial, the court heard distressing testimonies from members of The Vow or D.O.S., a chapter within Nxivm which Raniere allegedly used to lure his victims.
It was alleged that Raniere enforced a “slave” and “master” dynamic with members, who he would psychologically manipulate into having sex with him. Former members recalled being branded with his initials along with other humiliating punishments and blackmail devised by Raniere and a central group of “masters”.
Prosecutors fought the argument that Nxivm was a depraved but legal and consensual operation, successfully proving to the jury that Raniere violated sex trafficking statutes by using those “masters” to actively recruit further “slaves” into the organisation.
BBC reports that when the verdict was announced, former members of Nxivm cheered outside the courthouse.
Raniere’s conviction comes weeks after high-profile acolyte and former Smallville actor Allison Mack plead guilty to racketeering charges in relation to the cult.
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Image: Elizabeth Williams / AP