Sex cult leader’s astonishing sentence
NXIVM leader Keith Raniere has been sentenced to 120 years behind bars for running a twisted sex slave cult where women were branded like cattle and forced to sleep with him.
Facing seven charges ranging from sex trafficking to racketeering, child pornography and forced labour, the 60-year-old had faced as little as 15 years in prison.
But in handing down the sentence, federal court Judge Nicholas Garaufis ensured that Raniere would remain in prison for life, saying he has yet to show any remorse for his crimes.
"To him, the brave victims … are liars," Judge Garaufis said of the sex trafficker.
"Mr Raniere remains unmoved. (He) has therefore failed to demonstrate remorse," instead maintaining "to this day that he's done nothing wrong," the judge said.
As well as the 120-year prison term, the judge also ordered Raniere to pay a $US1.72 million ($A2.4 million) fine.
Raniere stood quietly as he was handed the life sentence.
Leading up to the sentence, a number of victims appeared before the judge throughout the day to tell their tales of sexual, physical and mental abuse at Raniere's hands.
Raniere then addressed the judge as his accusers stared at him.
"I do believe strongly that I'm innocent of the charges," he said. "But it's also true I see all of this pain.
"They're lying for a reason, and that reason stems from me,'' he said.
"I do feel deep remorse, but I do not feel remorseful for the crimes I did not commit."
Raniere then looked at his accusers and lauded them for speaking in court, even though he said they were lying.
Those who spoke against him at the hearing included his first sex slave, identified only as "Camila," who broke her silence to tell the judge that the cult leader took her virginity at 15.
India Oxenberg, the daughter of TV actress Catherine Oxenberg, also said Raniere starved her to make her look like a 12-year-old and raped her.
During his trial in 2019, other former NXIVM members testified that they also were turned into sex slaves, with Raniere branding them above their genitalia with his initials, starving them and forcing them to have sex with him.
The case is the subject of a gripping HBO documentary, The Vow, which is available to stream on Foxtel Now.
Raniere allegedly got Camila and her three sisters pregnant at one point, then ordered them to have abortions. He locked one of them in a single room for two years because she kissed another man, the woman said.
Last month, Judge Garaufis sentenced Raniere cohort Clare Bronfman to more than six years in prison - nearly triple what federal guidelines called for and greater than even the term prosecutors had sought.
This story originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reproduced here with permission
Originally published as Sex cult leader's astonishing sentence