Keith Raniere, 60, who ran a ‘cult’ that forced women to be virtual sex prisoners to service him in upstate New York, was sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Raniere was convicted on several charges, including federal sex trafficking, racketeering, and possession of child pornography last year for his role in the alleged sex cult dubbed ‘NXIVM.’
The sentence was handed down by the U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who presided over Raniere’s six-week trial last year that ended up in him getting convicted on all counts, NBC News reported.
Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said he hopes the sentence will deter any aspiring cult leaders.
“When justice catches up to you, as it did today, it is severe,” DuCharme told reporters. “Keith Raniere will not be able to victimize people anymore after today’s sentence, and we’re very grateful for that.”
In a jailhouse interview that aired on “Dateline NBC,” Raniere apologized for the “tragedy” and “hurt” he caused victims — but added that he’s not guilty of any crimes.
“I am innocent,” Raniere told the interviewer.
“This is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt,” he said, but “There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”
Last year, it only took prosecutors in Brooklyn just a few hours to convict Raniere. In operating a purported self-help organization near Albany, New York, he established an underground sorority called DOS, where female “slaves” turned over compromising materials used to blackmail and force them into sex, the jurors said.
Raniere’s other associates, including NXIVM’s president, Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren Salzman, bookkeeper Kathy Russell, and Seagram liquor heiress, Claire Bronfman, have also pleaded guilty to different charges.