In the late 1990s, Keith Raniere founded a ‘sex cult’ under the guise of a self-help group. Women are said to have been exploited and even branded with his initials. Now the 60-year-old has been convicted.

The founder of a ‘sex cult’ in New York will have to spend the rest of his life behind bars. A Brooklyn court on Tuesday sentenced 60-year-old Keith Raniere to 120 years after he was convicted of sex trafficking, sexual exploitation and fraud in June 2019. The prosecutor had previously demanded a life sentence, the defense 15 years.

Before the announcement, 15 Raniere victims had spent hours reporting in court about his crimes and suffering. The 60-year-old has shown no regrets so far and has recently unsuccessfully requested a new procedure repeatedly.

Raniere founded the Nxivm organization in the late 1990s, which was officially marketed as a self-help group, but was unofficially something of a “sex cult”. Women there are said to have been sexually abused and even branded with Raniere’s initials. In early October, millionaire heiress Clare Bronfman was sentenced to 81 months in prison as Raniere’s assistant.

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