It’s judgment day for NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere. Convicted last year of crimes including racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor, and extortion, the 60-year old “self-improvement guru” has been sentenced to 120 years in federal prison. The earliest he’ll be eligible for release is the year 2116.
Keith Raniere’s Shocking Cult Crimes
While Raniere maintained his innocence at the time of arrest in 2018, a jury found him guilty last year after a scandalous six-week trial. Multiple witnesses testified to the years of emotional and physical abuse they suffered at the hands of the master manipulator, which included being branded with a cauterizing pen to permanently imprint Raniere’s initials onto their pubic area.
Adoringly referred to as “Vanguard” by his legions of loyal followers, Raniere fronted the NXIVM “self-improvement” organization for more than 15 years. He charged members thousands of dollars to participate in classes and coursework designed to improve their self-awareness when in actuality, he was exploiting his followers for his own financial gain and sexual gratification.
NXIVM was the subject of HBO’s recent documentary series, The Vow, which followed a group of defectors on their journey to bring the cult leader to justice. One of the most notable crusaders was model and actress Catherine Oxenberg, whose daughter India was brainwashed by Raniere and his organization.
Facing His Fate
Raniere appeared in a Brooklyn federal court today to receive his sentence. The judge was not lenient on the sex cult mastermind, sentencing him to 120 years. After the sentencing, the Eastern District of NY said, “When justice catches up with you, as it did today, it is severe. Keith Raniere will not be able to victimize anyone anymore.”
Raniere’s sentence was handed down after the court hears a series of statements from victims, including the now-free India Oxenberg. A documentary series detaining the 29-year-old’s seven-year experience inside the cult is currently airing on the Starz network.