BROOKLYN, NY — Keith Raniere, 57, the leader of the mysterious “self-help” group NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”) has been arrested by the FBI on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor.
Authorities picked up Raniere in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, where he supposedly fled following a 2017 New York Times exposé. The article examined NXIVM in general and, in particular, the group’s secret sex-slave society called DOS.
Raniere founded NXIVM in 2003 as a “human potential” and “business leadership” organization that is said to have quickly taken on the trappings of a cult. Members reportedly defer to Raniere as the supreme leader and call him “The Vanguard.” The group operated out of a compound in Upstate New York, near Albany.
In 2015, according to The New York Times, Raniere created DOS, a clandestine cabal within NXIVM for “elite” members that consisted of “masters” and “slaves.”
Reportedly, Raniere and his second-in-command, Hollywood actress Allison Mack, were the “masters,” and various female NXIVM disciples were trained, branded, and treated as “slaves.”
According to FBI reports, Raniere and Mack’s slave-training process for their women of choice involved:
• Requiring DOS candidates to submit sexually explicit photos and damaging information that could be used to blackmail them.
• Branding naked trainees on the pubic region with a “cauterizing pen.” This “tribute” process, which could take up to 30 minutes and was filmed by other slaves, permanently scarred the women with a symbol that is said to be a combination of Raniere and Mack’s initials.
• Monitoring the women’s weight, exercise, and food intake to ensure they remained “exceptionally thin.”
• Forcing the slaves to wake up at 4 A.M., stand still for one hour, then take ice-cold showers.
• Maintaining a “rotating group of 15 to 20 women” who would submit to Raniere’s demands for sex whenever he wanted it.
In addition, one key element of DOS’s teaching curriculum focused on “the need for men to have multiple sexual partners and the need for women to be monogamous.”
In a statement to the press, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said:
“Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves.”
Officials in Brooklyn formally charged Rainere this morning. He is slated to appear in a Texas courtroom tomorrow.
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Main photo: Keith Rainere/YouTube video [screenshot]