Doing the time. Keith Raniere, the cofounder of NXIVM, was sentenced to 120 years in prison during a hearing in New York on Tuesday, October 27.
The 60-year-old businessman was facing a minimum of 15 years for charges of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy and conspiracy to commit forced labor.
He was convicted of seven felonies related to his involvement with NXIVM, which prosecutors labeled a sex cult.
Ahead of his sentencing, the New York native spoke out about his alleged involvement in the scandal, telling NBC News that he believes he is “innocent” of all the crimes he was convicted of last year.
“You know, one of the things that is most important in our country is the justice system,” he said earlier this month during an interview from prison. “And although, you know, people can hate me and, do, and think I’m an odious type of a character, you know, awful actually. Both the devil and a saint should be able to get the exact same treatment under our justice system.”
Raniere added that there is a “horrible injustice” going on. “Whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined,” he continued.
The trial of the members — including Smallville’s Allison Mack — will be documented in season 2 of HBO’s documentary series The Vow. In the season 1 finale, which aired earlier this month, Raniere gave his statement from prison.
“There are many ways of presenting a documentary. Your side is only the very top layer. And depending on what you’re willing to present as the truth, it can go very deep. So, talk to me,” he said in the final episode.
Nancy Saltzman, the cofounder of NXIVM also gave a statement. “Loyalty is good in certain contexts and very bad in other contexts,” she said. “Talk about getting lost in a movie, we’re kind of lost in the role of our life. What you have to do is stop believing that’s who you are. Then you can change your role.”
The NXIVM leader, who went by the name of Vanguard by his followers, was arrested in 2018. In June 2019, he was convicted on both racketeering and sex trafficking charges.
Mack, 38, was indicted in April 2018 on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor. She is staying at her parents’ California home as she awaits her sentencing date, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The former actress allegedly helped run DOS, the secret division of NXIVM that only included women and included a branding of Mack’s initials. During The Vow, members claimed that they were asked to provide “collateral” to their “masters” in the form of photos that would later be used as blackmail if they attempted to leave the organization.
In a 2018 New York Times piece, the FBI revealed Mack’s collateral to Raniere was the promise that any unborn children birthed by her would also be his, the deed to her home and a letter to social services claiming abuse of her nephews.
“We’re not denying that certain things took place,” NXIVM member, Nicki Clyne, who is married to Mack, told CBS in September. “There is evidence that certain things happened. How they happened, why they happened and how certain people chose them — that’s a whole other conversation.”
Mack, for her part, apologized to all the victims during her 2019 trial.