Allison Mack sentenced to 3 years for role in NXIVM - an expert breaks down sex cult's demise
Cult expert Rick Ross breaks down what NXIVM was, who was involved and how things ended in court.
RICK ROSS: Keith Raniere led the group NXIVM, which was a large group awareness training seminar-selling company that really was a destructive cult. And he would find out where your vulnerability is. And then he would drill down, and he would leverage it. And that was his innate ability.
The actor Allison Mack was involved. Kristin Kreuk was involved. Catherine Oxenberg and her husband Casper Van Dien were involved, but they left. And then the daughter of Catherine Oxenberg, India Oxenberg, stayed. And that began Catherine Oxenberg's crusade to get her daughter out, which I was involved with.
This guy had no less than two heirs to the Seagram's liquor fortune. Sara Bronfman and her sister, Claire Bronfman. It's reported that they gave the guy over $100 million. If you've got unlimited funds like that and you've got a couple of Seagrams heirs behind you, the Bronfmans' money, you can just keep going and going and going.
Claire Bronfman was a check-writing machine. She enabled him. And she hurt a lot of people by doing that. He escalated his control over women to the point where he made them take a vow. He had a doctor brand the women with cauterizing iron. And this was supposed to be not only an act of submission. They thought that this was an act of commitment.
These women that were branded were subjected to the most intensely cathartic breaking process. Raniere required them to give him what he called collateral, which was the most damaging information they could think of, including photographs and transcripts, that he could hold in lieu of them ever imagining leaving the group or being disobedient to him. And they became sex slaves.
These people, many of them, as they were leaving NXIVM, were complaining to authorities. They were going to the Northern District prosecutor. They were going to the IRS. Tax fraud, money laundering, sex trafficking, racketeering, child abuse-- they made a complaint after complaint.
But it wasn't until Catherine Oxenberg, a very well-connected celebrity, decided, OK, you are not getting my daughter. And I'm going to go to war. Keith Raniere grossly underestimated Catherine Oxenberg. When she came to him and said, look, give me my daughter, and I'll go quietly, he should have said, yes, Miss Oxenberg, no problem. Instead he was arrogant, condescending, and thought that he could get away with anything.
And that's usually the demise of a destructive cult leader. Raniere was convicted of multiple felonies. So people that are left, if they're thinking I was in a destructive cult, something's wrong, the leader is going to go to prison probably for the rest of his life. Six co-defendants all pled guilty. That's a wake-up call. This was a pernicious group, an evil group that hurt many people.
And there are many women that will literally bear the scars of Keith Raniere for the rest of their lives. NXIVM is done. Raniere is done. Bronfmans are done. It's time for these people to move on. And I wish them well, and I hope that they will do that.