Keith Raniere case

Mike Sugerman/WCBS 880

Closing Arguments Begin In NXIVM Sex Cult Trial

June 17, 2019 - 2:02 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Closing arguments got underway Monday in the trial of a man accused of running a sex cult upstate.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Keith Raniere presented himself as a humanitarian and mentoring guru but a federal prosecutor told the jury he was really a “con man,” “predator” and “crime boss.”

Raniere is accused of grooming and coercing women into a life of sexual slavery. Prosecutors say he used his NXIVM group to “tap into a never-ending flow of women and money.”

Testimony from the trial accused Raniere of brainwashing female followers and branding their genitals with his initials. One woman claimed her also forced her into intercourse with another woman and confined a third to a room for nearly two years for refusing to obey orders.

Multiple women testified at the trial, claiming they were forced to obey and turn over revealing photos of themselves that could be used as blackmail if they disobeyed.

Reniere is charged with sex trafficking and racketeering, among other crimes.

The defense has maintained that the women all participated in the group willingly.