Oct 10, 2020

Raniere's teenage sex crime victim to appear at his sentencing

Robert Gavin
Times Union
October 10, 2020

NEW YORK – A Mexican woman who at 15 became an underage sex crime victim of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere and later his number one "slave" is expected to attend his sentencing later this month and may deliver an in-person statement.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn revealed in a motion Friday that the woman, formerly of Halfmoon, provided them with a statement “and may wish to address the court further” when Raniere is sentenced on Oct. 27.

In June 2019, a jury in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn convicted the 60-year-old Raniere, known within his cult-like organization as “Vanguard,” on all counts. The charges included sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering charges that included underlying acts of possession of child pornography and child exploitation.

Raniere’s abuse of the girl, now a woman -- who is not being identified by the Times Union -- was the basis for the child exploitation and child pornography acts.  In addition to having sex with the victim when she was 15, Raniere kept sexually explicit photos of the teenager in his so-called “executive library” on Hale Drive in the Knox Woods townhouse development, where more than two-dozen top NXIVM members lived.

Metadata on the photos displayed to the jury showed the images were taken in November 2005, when the girl was 15 and Raniere was 45.  Text messages exchanged between Raniere and the woman, which were entered into evidence, showed Raniere told the woman in September 2014 that he was "proud to have been your husband for 8.75 years" which dated to when she was 15.

On Friday, the motion filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tanya Hajjar and Mark Lesko said the woman’s  victim impact statement “provides further support of Raniere’s sexual abuse of (the victim) in the months prior to the production of child pornography images.”

The woman, now 30, was the youngest of three sisters from Mexico who became sexually involved with Raniere after joining the purported personal growth company in Colonie. The woman’s middle sister drew Raniere’s wrath when she dared to kiss another man. Raniere leader ordered that sister to be confined – for nearly two years – in a room in her parents townhouse in Knox Woods. She later left the room and NXIVM, rebuilt her life in Mexico and testified against Raniere at trial. The oldest sister remains in a relationship with Raniere and has spoken to him in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where he is being housed. The two have a child.

The victim's underage sexual involvement with Raniere was revealed at his trial by her middle sister’s testimony and documents from a Colonie abortion clinic. The documents showed that the victim, 21 at the time of her abortion, told the clinic she had been sexually involved with the same partner for five years, placing her below New York’s age of consent of 17.

The woman later joined Raniere's secret "master/slave" club known as Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), which translates in Latin to "Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions." She was one of eight first-line “slaves” answering directly to Raniere in DOS, an otherwise all-women group in which female "masters" demanded "slaves" take lifetime vows of obedience and recruit more slaves to whom they would serve as masters. Raniere demanded the women live on 500-calorie-a-day diets, respond to "readiness" text-messages at all hours of the night and in some cases, have Raniere’s initials branded into their pelvic area.


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