HBO’s documentary, The Vow, explores the surprising and creepy world of the cult-like group NXIVM and its founder, Keith Raniere. The place is Raniere now, you would possibly need to know? Following the publicity of NXIVM’s extra horrifying practices, Raniere is lastly paying the worth for his crimes, though what that worth is has but to be formally decided.
NXIVM was initially based by Raniere and Nancy Salzman within the 1990s and marketed as a business-coaching and self-help firm (though it was criticized, even early on, as a possible pyramid scheme). A 2017 New York Instances investigation revealed the depths of horrifying issues occurring beneath the quilt of the “self-help” program, notably in a supersecret subgroup dubbed “DOS.” Victims had been instructed they had been being initiated into an empowering sorority, however what actually occurred was extra like a cult: they had been compelled to surrender compromising materials comparable to nude pictures as collateral that will be launched in the event that they revealed the group’s existence.
A number of girls who escaped detailed to The New York Instances how Raniere “taught” about what he claimed had been weaknesses “widespread to girls – an overemotional nature, a failure to maintain guarantees and an embrace of the position of sufferer.” To beat these, he claimed, they needed to kind a twisted pyramid of submission, being recruited as “slaves” and in flip recruiting others to hold out duties and face extreme punishments for disobedience, all ultimately answerable to Raniere, known as the “Vanguard.” On the peak of their initiation, the members reported, they had been ritualistically branded with a mark that represented Raniere’s initials and the initials of his second-in-command, Smallville actress Allison Mack.
The 2017 report wasn’t the primary investigation into NXIVM and Raniere; it simply occurred to be the one which caught. Raniere and his firm confronted a slew of questions and lawsuits, together with accusations of being a pyramid scheme, beginning within the early 2000s. In a single 2010 court docket look, former NXIVM coach Susan Dones testified that Raniere was preying on his college students, manipulating them into sexual relationships, and taking their cash to fund his playing and his assaults on “enemies” of the group, in keeping with the Instances Union.
In March 2018, Raniere was arrested on a number of costs, largely regarding DOS, together with racketeering, intercourse trafficking, and compelled labor conspiracy. “Keith Raniere created a secret society of ladies whom he had intercourse with and branded along with his initials, coercing them with the specter of releasing their extremely private data and taking their property,” US Lawyer for the Japanese District of New York Richard Donoghue mentioned in an announcement, as reported by Newsweek on the time. A number of others affiliated with NXIVM, together with Mack and cofounder Nancy Salzman, had been additionally indicted quickly after; a lot of them took plea offers and agreed to testify in opposition to Raniere.
Raniere’s trial passed off in Might and June 2019. He was convicted on all seven of the costs introduced, and he faces a possible life sentence. Nonetheless, that sentencing has taken for much longer than anticipated. After a number of delays, together with the shutdown of courtrooms as a result of coronavirus pandemic, Raniere’s sentencing has lastly been set for Oct. 27, Forbes reported. He’s at the moment being held on the Metropolitan Detention Middle in Brooklyn, the place he’ll stay till sentencing.