UPDATE, 10/28/20, 8:37am ET: NXIVM whistleblower Sarah Edmondson said that she’s “really shocked” by Keith Raniere‘s sentencing. “I’m feeling a mixture of relieved, vindicated and safe for the first time in a long time,” Sarah told E! News. She revealed that she was unable to attend the sentencing in person and learned of the outcome via text. “I was hoping for life in prison, so I didn’t know you could get better than that,” Sarah said, calling Keith a “grifter, a parasite, and a liar.”
“Relieved is the number one word on top of my head right now. I’m really shocked. I really thought for sure life in prison, so this is just like a big bonus,” the former actress said, adding that she was “afraid [Keith] was going to find some loophole out of this. That was just in the back of my mind for so long, so just to have the world know who he really is and have the spotlight shot on him and all of his crimes and with such clarity is just massive closure for us that we can move on.”
Catherine Oxenberg, the former actress who spent nearly four years trying to rescue daughter India Oxenberg from NXIVM’s clutches, calling Keith’s sentencing a “happy moment” in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I have been on the warpath to put this man away for three-and-a-half years. And in the past, he’s always managed to wriggle out of everything because of his money, power, privilege. He’s had access to unlimited wealth and he has used his power to silence victims, to intimidate victims, the terrorized, exploit, abuse — sadly, my daughter included,” she said.
“This man would never stop. I think that much was clear even at his sentencing, where he basically called his victims liars. He has absolutely no remorse, which I think in essence makes him a sociopath,” the former Dyansty star continued. “But it’s over for him. And the sentence of 120 years to me says the judge recognizes how much of a danger this man is to society and how it’s absolutely impossible for this man to be rehabilitated. And that if he has any contact with the outside world, that all he will do is cause destruction. I think it’s a fair sentence.”
ORIGINAL: Keith Raniere learned his fate on Oct. 27, 2020, more than a year after the 60-year-old NXIVM founder was convicted of a range of horrendous charges stemming from his Upstate New York sex cult. Among those charges was one count of racketeering, a conviction that alone would put him away for life. After a prolonged delay at the Brooklyn federal courtroom, Keith was sentenced to 120 years, a punishment that was welcomed by his victims and denounced by his fervent supporters.
Ahead of today’s sentencing, it was clear that Keith would likely never breathe the air of a free man. A jury in a Brooklyn federal court needed only five hours of deliberations to find him guilty on all counts, including racketeering, sex trafficking, conspiracy, forced labor, identity theft, sexual exploitation of a child, and possession of child pornography. Initially billing NXIVM as a self-help organization, Keith founded DOS, a secret sorority/sex cult. Members selected for DOS were branded with a logo that included Keith’s initials. They were also required to provide “collateral,” according to The New York Times, which included embarrassing and incriminating information. This material was used to coerce women into having sex with Keith.
Ahead of Keith’s sentencing, federal prosecutors cited the severity of his crimes and the lack of remorse in his actions as reasons why Keith should get life in prison. “Raniere wreaked a path of destruction through his victims’ lives,” the prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo, per the New York Times, adding that Keith “concealed his abuse behind the smoke screen of his supposed ‘personal growth’ programs — a charade he continues to this day.”
In September, Clare Bronfman, an heir to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, was sentenced to 81 months (6+ years) in prison for her role in NXIVM, per the Associated Press. Clare’s wealth helped finance NXIVM, and she was among the high-profile members of the organization, including actresses Allison Mack and Nicki Clyne.
Clare pleaded guilty to conspiring to conceal and harbor an undocumented immigrant for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification in April 2019. The judge issued the harsh sentence – the defense was seeking three years of probation while the prosecution was looking for five years in jail – because he thought Bronfman could “have distanced herself from him” when she became aware of his sex-trafficking scheme. “Instead, she chose to double down on her support of Raniere.”
Allison Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering acts of state law extortion and forced labor. The Smallville actress admitted to being a higher-up in NXIVM/DOS, one that recruited women into the society as “slaves.” Allison admitted she wielded information to blackmail women into performing services for her. She faces up to 40 years in prison and is currently awaiting a sentencing date. She was originally meant to be sentenced in September 2019, but the date keeps getting postponed.