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Keith Raniere Biography

Keith Raniere Biography

Keith Raniere was the head of NXIVM, an organization that promised self-improvement, but devolved into a cult of criminality and coercion.

Who Is Keith Raniere?

Of the roughly 17,000 individuals who took lessons and seminars with self-help group NXIVM, a smaller cadre of followers grew to become enthralled by its chief, Keith Raniere. Some went into debt to proceed taking NXIVM’s lessons, whereas others moved to dwell close to Raniere in upstate New York. Investigations of Raniere, akin to a 2003 Forbes cowl story and a 2012 exposé in The Albany Times-Union, reported that he was manipulating and injuring NXIVM members, together with allegations of sexual abuse. A 2017 New York Times story revealed that inside NXIVM a bunch of feminine “sex slaves” have been being branded close to their pelvic bones with Raniere’s initials. Raniere was arrested in 2018 and tried in 2019 on federal fees that included racketeering, intercourse trafficking, extortion and compelled labor. He was convicted and in 2020 was sentenced to 120 years in jail.

Early Life

Raniere was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 26, 1960. Raniere was raised in Suffern, New York. He described himself as a childhood genius who was talking in full sentences at 1, studying at 2 and a proficient pianist by the point he was 12.

Raniere’s father labored in promoting and his mom was a ballroom dance teacher. His dad and mom divorced when he was 8. While nonetheless at school, Raniere grew to become a caretaker for his mom, who suffered from coronary heart issues. She handed away when he was 18.

Raniere attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He graduated in 1982 with three majors: biology, math and physics. When Raniere was introduced up on fees, prosecutors shared the truth that, regardless of Raniere’s self-proclaimed genius, his grade level common was simply 2.26.

In 1989, an Australian version of the Guinness Book of World Records listed that Raniere’s IQ positioned him in a “Mega” genius group.

Life Before NXIVM

After faculty, Raniere grew to become an Amway salesman. He then took his data of multilevel advertising and created Consumers’ Buyline, which had individuals purchase memberships to have the ability to buy discounted groceries and extra objects. Current members additionally earned commissions by recruiting new members.

Consumers’ Buyline grew to 250,000 members throughout a number of states and about $33 million in annual income. However, it ended up below investigation by a number of state attorneys normal as a possible pyramid scheme. In 1996, Raniere signed a consent order in New York. He agreed to pay a high quality of $40,000 and accepted a everlasting ban on collaborating in any “chain distribution scheme.” By 1997, Consumers’ Buyline had closed.

In the Nineties, Raniere was additionally concerned with National Health Network, a multilevel group promoting nutritional vitamins.

Leader of NXIVM

NXIVM was based as Executive Success Programs in 1998. The group provided private improvement and emotional administration seminars meant to assist attendees higher obtain self-fulfillment. From its first location close to Albany, New York, NXIVM grew to have instructional facilities in New York City, Vancouver and Mexico.

Raniere designed NXIVM’s lessons, drawing partially from Ayn Rand’s philosophies (she was a favourite creator). His teachings inspired college students to observe their very own self-interested objectives whereas steering away from “parasites” who might ship them off observe. Taking NXIVM seminars, which value hundreds of {dollars} and had names like Explorations of Meaning (associated to reminiscence), Human Pain and Mobius (about self-healing), required a nondisclosure settlement.

The construction of NXIVM lessons meant that college students provided up private particulars, which might later make them susceptible to manipulation. Students earned completely different coloured sashes as they ascended by means of the ranks and recruited new members. As NXIVM’s chief, Raniere was referred to as “Vanguard.” His white sash was longer than anybody else’s, and college students have been anticipated to bow to him. NXIVM held a yearly gathering, referred to as “Vanguard Week,” to rejoice Raniere’s birthday.

Raniere’s dictates inside NXIVM might be misogynistic, controlling and odd. He began a girls‘s group referred to as Jness, which taught that males have been naturally promiscuous, whereas girls have been monogamous. He believed youngsters might turn out to be multilingual by having lecturers or caretakers every converse to them in a unique language. To entice youthful members to NXIVM, Raniere arrange an a cappella singing group. His supposedly bias-free information group was the one one members have been purported to learn. Raniere additionally had goals of founding his personal nation and controlling his personal forex.

Though Raniere was intimately concerned in NXIVM, he held no official position. The group was owned by Nancy Salzman, who was known as “Prefect.” She was Raniere’s first scholar. Raniere normally slept late, then stuffed his days with lengthy walks (typically accompanied by feminine adherents) and nightly video games of volleyball, his most well-liked sport. Among Raniere’s followers have been a number of well-known names: Emiliano Salinas, the son of a former Mexican president; heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman, who offered NXIVM and Raniere with huge sums; actress Allison Mack, star of the tv present Smallville; and India Oxenberg, daughter of actress Catherine Oxenberg.

NXIVM Branding

DOS, which supposedly stood for the Latin phrase “Dominus Obsequious Sororium,” which means “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions,” was a subgroup created by NXIVM followers. It was often known as the sorority or The Vow. The group was purported to be a sisterhood of “masters” and “slaves” that might in some way construct feminist empowerment by means of subjugation. Raniere was the Master, or Grandmaster, of this group; Mack was considered one of his private “slaves.”

Women who have been “slaves” have been purported to recruit their very own followers, to whom they’d turn out to be “masters.” The new “slaves” would in flip discover their very own recruits. Many of the ladies who have been drafted had no thought Raniere was concerned, as a substitute believing the group was women-only. After becoming a member of DOS, initiates have been branded with a cauterizing pen. Most thought the model was a logo representing the weather, but it surely in reality contained Raniere’s initials. Raniere was conscious of this, as soon as writing in a textual content message, “Not initially intended as my initials but they rearranged it slightly for tribute.”

To be part of DOS, a girl was required to supply up “collateral” that might be launched if she talked concerning the group. This may include nude images, a (false) confession of abuse or the deed to a home. Some girls have been advised to sleep with Raniere and did so as a result of they fearful that in any other case their collateral can be made public.

Arrest, Trial and Sentencing

In March 2018, Raniere, whereas making an attempt to cover in a closet, was arrested by Mexican police at a luxurious villa in Puerto Vallarta. He went on trial the subsequent yr for fees of racketeering conspiracy, id theft, extortion, pressured labor, cash laundering, wire fraud and intercourse trafficking. He was discovered responsible of all seven counts in June 2019. On October 27, 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in jail.

Even throughout his trial and sentencing, a few of Raniere’s devotees remained devoted to him. They wrote letters to the courtroom to assist him and heeded his directions to create a podcast.

Additional Accusations

Raniere pressured lots of his feminine followers to observe near-starvation diets; some grew to become so skinny they stopped menstruating (he was attracted to very skinny girls). He punished girls who did not heed his orders to be monogamous with him and manipulated some by telling them that by disappointing him they’d drained his vitality.

Allegations of Raniere’s intercourse crimes towards underage women appeared in an investigative collection revealed by The Albany Times-Union in 2012. Two witnesses recounted that Raniere had taken their virginity once they have been minors. Another mentioned she had noticed Raniere getting into her underage sister’s bed room. During Raniere’s 2019 trial, a girl referred to as “Daniela” mentioned she had been groomed by Raniere whereas a minor; she additionally spent two years confined to her room after expressing curiosity in one other man.

Raniere went to battle with these he thought of his enemies, which included former NXIVM members and critics. Lawsuits have been typically supported by Bronfman funds. Raniere sued Rick Ross, an knowledgeable in cults, for sharing NXIVM supplies on-line (in 2016, following a decade and a half of litigation, the go well with was dismissed). A former girlfriend, Toni Natalie, mentioned he hounded her out of business. Raniere additionally used hacking and personal investigators to spy on his opponents.

Personal Life

The polyamorous Raniere fathered youngsters with two girls. He was devastated and unmoored by the dying of longtime girlfriend Pamela Cafritz in November 2016.


In 2020, The Vow and Seduced examined Raniere’s life and crimes. There was additionally a two-hour particular in 2019 referred to as The Lost Women of NXIVM.


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