Apr 13, 2018

NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere accused of raping 12-year-old girl in Upstate NY

Geoff Herbert
April 13, 2018

NXIVM cult leader Keith Ranierehas been accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in Upstate New York, according to new court documents.

According to the Daily Mail , Raniere's group hired the girl as a dogwalker specifically so he could get close to her in 1990, when he was in his late 20s in Clifton Park, N.Y. He then showered the girl with attention, grooming her for a sexual relationship when she was 12 and taking her virginity.

Attorney Richard Donoghue told a judge that Raniere argued the age of sexual consent should be lowered, and that rape and incest should not be considered crimes. The age of consent in New York state is 17.

"The defendant has a decades' long history of abusing women and girls," the prosecutor wrote in a letter arguing Raniere should not be released on bail.

Raniere, now 57, was arrested while surrounded by women last month at a luxury villa in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy.

The Albany Times Union reported in 2012 that Raniere was also accused of having sex with an underage girl in 1984. She was 15 or 16 at the time, but Raniere -- then 24 -- claimed the girl's "soul was much older than her biological age" and "she was a Buddhist goddess meant to be with him."

Raniere allegedly told girls and women that sex with him would be a spiritual experience, a "transfer of his godlike energy."

According to the Times Union, the alleged 1990 victim said she had sex with Raniere at least 60 times, including in an office for his members-only buying club, Consumers' Buyline Inc., where her mother worked. She later grew uncomfortable with the relationship and ran away from home.

"I was perfect picking -- insecure at the time," she told the newspaper in 2012. "To have someone that mature and that well thought of to be interested in me, it was flattering. I was young, inexperienced, overwhelmed, out of my league."

The alleged victim, who has not been identified, reported Raniere to the police in 1993. According to the Times Union, the case never moved forward because no forensic evidence was available and she refused to wear a wire and confront Raniere, a strategy that legal experts say would rarely be suggested today.

She later signed a waiver saying Raniere had sex with her but agreed not to pursue charges.

Raniere, 57, later founded NXIVM (pronounced "nexium") in the Albany area. The group describes itself as a self-help organization, but former members have called it a sex cult that brands women and requires them to have sex with Raniere. The group also allegedly requires them to give their "master" or recruiter, naked photos of themselves before becoming members.

A federal investigation of NXIVMbegan in December after former member Sarah Edmondson filed a complaint, saying she was branded with Raniere's initials, "KR." DOS, a women's only group within NXIVM, allegedly brainwashed members, put them on starvation diets and beat them if they don't recruit enough "slaves."

DOS, led by former "Smallville" actress Allison Mack , allegedly stands for "dominus obsequious sororium," Latin for "master over the slave women." The Daily Mail reports Mack has taken over as NXIVM's leader since Raniere's arrest.

Mack, who played Clark Kent's friend Chloe Sullivan on the The CW's Superman TV series, was reportedly recruited by another actress, "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" star Kristin Kreuk. Kreuk admitted last month that she joined the group, but said she left five years ago and denied recuiting "sex slaves."

"During my time, I never experienced any illegal or nefarious activity," Kreuk said in a statement . "I am deeply disturbed and embarrassed to have been associated with NXIVM... I hope that the investigation leads to justice for all those affected."

NXIVM, based in the Albany suburb of Colonie , says it has over 16,000 members in chapters nationwide, as well as in Canada and Mexico. Remaining followers reportedly include "Battlestar Galactica" actress Nicki Clyne, "Dallas" star Catherine Oxenberg's daughter India, and wealthy Seagram's heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman.

FBI agents seized more than $520,000 in cash when they raided the Saratoga County residence of NXIVM President Nancy Salzman last month as part of a widening U.S. Justice Department investigation of the secretive organization.

NXIVM officials and associates have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and dispute any allegation that it is a cult.


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