The leader of a New York-based sex cult called NXIVM (nex-ee-um), which branded itself as a self-help group for elites, was sentenced in the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday to life in prison. Through his defense lawyers, Keith Raniere, 60, maintained until the end that he is not sorry for his conduct because he will one day show that he is not a sex-trafficker, abuser of women, possessor of child pornography, racketeer, extortionist, identity thief or obstructionist.
The NXIVM founder—known as “Vanguard,” “Master,” and “Grandmaster“—was found guilty in June 2019 on all criminal charges against him. Raniere and elite co-defendants like Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman (a NXIVM bankroller) or Smallville actress Allison Mack (a top recruiter) are all being punished for their roles in the conspiracy.
Bronfman, Mack and others, unlike Raniere, entered guilty pleas and avoided sex crime charges; Bronfman was sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison, while Mack is still waiting to be sentenced. Raniere chose to fight the charges and lost. Now he’s been sentenced to 120 years in prison.