Keith Raniere, the fouder of a cultlike organization that kept women as sex slaves in upstate New York, was sentenced to 120 years in prison following his conviction for sex trafficking and other related offenses.
Raniere was the brains behind NXIVM (pronounced "nex-shum"), where he ordered women to have sex with him, kept them on starvation diets, and even branded them with his initials. He was convicted in 2019 on federal sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography charges.
Prosecutors said the disgraced self-improvement guru should spend the rest of his life in prison for the "immeasurable damages" he caused to the victims of the cult, whose followers included Hollywood celebrities, heiresses, and even the son of a former Mexican president - some of whom testified against Raniere in court.
District Judge Nicholas Garaufis fined Raniere $1.75 million during the sentencing in Brooklyn on Tuesday. The 60-year old sex cult mastermind had shown no remorse, with his attorneys telling the judge before the handing of the sentence that Raniere "was not sorry for his conduct or his choices."
"I do believe I'm innocent of the charges... It's true I'm not remorseful of the crimes that I don't believe I committed at all," NBC News quoted him as saying during the trial.
Raniere's lawyers, who said their client should face 15 years behind bars, said that he maintained his "complete innocence" and was the victim of an "unfair trial."
Prosecutors said Raniere formed a secret sorority within the cult called DOS, where the women sex "slaves" had to submit nude pictures and other compromising materials that Raniere could use for blackmail if the women tried to leave.
Based in Albany, New York, and established in 1998, the organization described itself as a "community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people," with a tagline that says: NXIVM is "working to build a better world."
NXIVM has been the focus this year of two television documentaries - "The Vow" (HBO), and "Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult" (Starz Series).