Keith Raniere, the leader of the NXIVM set cult that had such members as Smallville’s Allison Mack, was sentenced to 120 years in prison today.
The 60-year-old Raniere was given a 120-year prison sentence for sex trafficking and fraud, as well as a $1.75 million fine for his many crimes. The six-week trial included testimonies from 15 former NXIVM members who detailed the abuse they underwent within the cult. According to USA Today, Clare Bronfman, the heiress to the Seagram’s fortune and helped pay for much of Raniere’s activities plead guilty and was sentenced to 6 3/4 years in prison. Allison Mack also plead guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Last year, Raniere was found guilty of racketeering, sex trafficking and possession of child pornography. During the trial, the jury took less than a day of deliberation to find Raniere guilty, and five of Raniere’s co-defendants – including Allison Mack – plead guilty. As a high-ranking member of NXIVM, Allison Mack could be facing up to 40 years in prison after admitting to crimes such as extortion and forced labor.
Speaking to the court, Raniere stated, “It is true I am not remorseful over the crimes I do not believe I have committed at all. But I am deeply remorseful of all this pain.” Raniere would later say, “I am truly sorry. It’s still painful.” Raniere’s lawyers claim that his relationships with the women in question were consensual. In addition to Raniere’s prison sentence and fine, he is not allowed to make contact with Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman, or any other former members of the NXIVM cult.
Along with Allison Mack and Clare Bronfman, NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman, top lieutenant and Nancy’s daughter Lauren, and the group’s bookkeeper, Kathy Russell all plead guilty last year to racketeering charges. Nancy Salzman was the only one of these five women to testify against Raniere.
Nicki Clyne, who had a recurring role on Battlestar Galactica and is also Allison Mack’s wife, was also part of NXIVM but has not been charged for her involvement. As of last month, Clyne still defended Raniere, calling him a victim. Clyne’s Battlestar Galactica co-star Grace Park was also involved with NXIVM.
Not only was Allison Mack part of NXIVM, but her Smallville costar Kristin Kreuk also spent some time working with the group. Kreuk has stated that she quit working with the group about five years ago, and took what she calls an “intensive” in order to help with her shyness. Kreuk however states that she was in no way part of an inner circle and that unlike Allison Mack, she did not recruit women as sex slaves. Kreuk says she is “horrified and disgusted” by the group and praised the women who stood up against Raniere.
As reported by The Daily Beast, testimonies in last year’s case stated that NXIVM’s supposed women’s empowerment group, DOS, was a master-slave program in which women were forced to have sex with Raniere, obey their masters and brand themselves with Raniere’s initials. Allison Mack was supposedly part of the group luring women into this program.
A court filing from Raniere’s defense lawyers said that Raniere has no remorse for his actions within the cult and would not ask the former members of NXIVM for their forgiveness. Even though Raniere’s lawyers demanded a new trial after accusations of corruption, a second trial was denied.
Raniere was recently the focus of the HBO documentary series, The Vow, which explored the NXIVM cult and those who had escaped the cult, which included Allison Mack. HBO also announced that The Vow would be receiving a second season, which will look into Raniere’s court case. The new season will debut on HBO in 2021.