The trial of the co-founder of the alleged cult based in the Capital Region begins Tuesday.
Keith Raniere, also known as "Vanguard," is facing numerous charges, including sex trafficking and forced labor. Raniere is accused of creating a secret society within NXIVM called DOS, which recruited women as slaves.
According to court documents, DOS members were branded with Raniere's initials and forced to have sex with him. He is also accused of having sex with underage girls, some as young as 12 or 13.
Raniere is one of six people charged for their roles in the group, with the other five having previously pleaded guilty to various charges. He allegedly made others do some of the work for him.
During a raid at the Waterford home of co-founder Nancy Salzman, FBI agents seized cash, computers, cell phones, and hard drives. She’s pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. When her daughter and former high-ranking NXIVM member Lauren Salzman pleaded guilty, she admitted to keeping a woman confined to a room in Clifton Park for two years because she said she had romantic feelings for a different man.
Another person who trusted Raniere was ex-girlfriend and Capital Region native Barbara Bouchey. Speaking recently at a public forum, she said the two routinely went on dates to the movies and Clifton Park restaurant Antipasto’s. She says at the time, she had no idea Raniere had this other side.
"Keith Raniere’s secret weapon, if you will, was concealment, keeping secrets, not allowing you to know critical information," Bouchey said.
NXIVM’s offices are still on New Karner Road in Colonie, across from a federal credit union, and down the street from a Stewart's Shop. It’s believed NXIVM also owned a number of local properties, including a townhouse in Halfmoon, nicknamed The Library. That’s where the government claims Raniere had sex with members.
However, local law enforcement never arrested Raniere, and his trial is based on crimes allegedly committed in Brooklyn. A man once surrounded by women will be by himself at trial.
The jury has been told this trial is expected to last about six weeks. They’re expected to hear testimony from psychologists, cult experts, and former NXIVM members.
If convicted, Raniere faces up to life in prison.