The Vow: A Full Timeline of the NXIVM Cult's Disturbing Actions and Collapse



HBO’s true-crime docuseries The Vow takes on the unsavory case of NXIVM, a multilevel advertising and marketing firm that, on the floor, promoted personal-development courses. Whereas claiming to supply self-help, NXIVM has develop into related to a disturbing intercourse cult and a pyramid scheme in recent times. On the middle of NXIVM’s chaos is its chief, Keith Raniere, a self-proclaimed genius who, with a cadre of prime associates, preyed on ladies. Not way back, NXIVM members confronted a number of costs of intercourse trafficking and racketeering. To enhance your viewing of the HBO documentary, learn forward for a timeline that provides an in depth take a look at the occasions that mark NXIVM’s rise and fall.

1993: The New York legal professional normal recordsdata a lawsuit in opposition to Raniere’s enterprise, Customers’ Buyline, accusing it of being a pyramid scheme. A multilevel advertising and marketing firm, Customers’ Buyline promoted commissions to current clients for recruiting new ones. When served with the lawsuit, Raniere admitted to no wrongdoing and settled for $40,000. He then began one other MLM, Nationwide Well being Community, which finally collapsed in 1999.
1998: Raniere and psychiatric nurse Nancy Salzman set up NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”), headquartering it in Upstate New York. They began the group as a self-improvement multilevel advertising and marketing firm that provided “Govt Success Applications.” Roughly 16,000 individuals enrolled in these personal-development courses and workshops to beat “psychological and emotional obstacles.” The group referred to Raniere because the “Vanguard” and Salzman because the “Prefect.”

October 2003: In a Forbes piece on NXIVM, Edgar Bronfman Sr. tells reporters that he believes that NXIVM is a cult. Bronfman’s daughters, Sara and Clare, had been within the group, and Clare funded it.
2009: The “NXIVM 9” confront Raniere. The group cited issues in regards to the group’s unethical practices and Raniere’s abuse. It included Barbara Bouchey, Raniere’s former long-term girlfriend.
February 2012: Cult consultants say that NXIVM is a cult. In a Occasions Union piece, some identified that the phrases and rituals in NXIVM had been very cult-like. One skilled even likened Raniere to David Koresh, claiming the chief directed one of the excessive cults he had ever studied.
October 2017: The New York Occasions posts an exposé about NXIVM. The article revealed how ladies had been branded as a part of an initiation course of for DOS, an internal “sisterhood” of NXIVM. Former ladies within the cult spoke on the submission and obedience practices within the cult, consisting of “masters” who would recruit “slaves.” On the prime of the pyramid was Raniere, who the FBI alleged coerced ladies into sleeping with him and took benefit of recruits without spending a dime labor. Girls who didn’t pay penalties for breaking DOS guidelines had been punished by way of fasting or different bodily means. After the article was printed, Raniere fled to Mexico because the Justice Division investigated the group.
March and April 2018: Raniere and Smallville actress Allison Mack are arrested on a number of costs, together with intercourse trafficking and racketeering. Raniere was discovered hiding inside a closet in his Mexican villa. Mack was thought of to be Raniere’s right-hand individual in recruitment for DOS.

Could 2018: Mack claims that she began the branding ritual. In an interview with The New York Occasions, Mack mentioned that she got here up with the thought for branding ladies within the DOS initiation course of, evaluating it to getting a tattoo. She touted DOS as a kind of ladies’s empowerment sect.
June 2018: NXIVM suspends its operations. The message on the corporate website (now defunct) learn: “Whereas we’re upset by the interruption of our operations, we consider it’s warranted by the extraordinary circumstances dealing with the corporate at the moment. We proceed to consider within the worth and significance of our work and sit up for resuming our efforts when these allegations are resolved.”
July 2018: Authorities arrest 4 of Raniere’s accomplices, who’re charged with racketeering conspiracy in connection to NXIVM. Among the many arrested had been heiress Clare Bronfman, cofounder Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren Salzman, and former NXIVM bookkeeper Kathy Russell. They had been accused of recruiting and grooming ladies to have intercourse with Raniere.
March 2019: Raniere faces little one pornography costs. Prosecutors mentioned that his first “slave” was a 15-year-old lady. In addition they accused him of possessing little one pornography between 2005 and 2018. The identical month, Nancy Salzman and her daughter pleaded responsible to their costs.
April 2019: Mack pleads responsible to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. The identical month, Clare Bronfman pleaded responsible to harboring an undocumented immigrant for NXIVM and to enabling bank card fraud. Russell, too, pleaded responsible to falsifying a visa utility for an individual related to NXIVM.
June 2019: Raniere is discovered responsible of intercourse trafficking and compelled labor. After an almost six-week trial, Raniere was convicted of intercourse trafficking, intercourse trafficking conspiracy, racketeering, and conspiracy to commit compelled labor. He’s to be sentenced in October 2020.
January 2020: NXIVM faces a lawsuit. Plaintiffs (some 80 people) alleged that they’d been lured in by false scientific claims earlier than paying hundreds of {dollars} for courses, changing into victims of a pyramid scheme. In addition they cited the emotional and verbal abuse that made them keep in NXIVM. Whereas the corporate promised members might have careers inside it, only a few prime members made cash. The remainder had been pressured into recruiting college students whereas spending their financial savings on personal-development courses.



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