NXIVM leader Keith Raniere terrorized his victims for decades. For some, it was through sexual abuse. For others, it was done with lawsuits and fake criminal charges.
Regardless of the type of abuse they endured, Raniere’s victims got the chance to address the man they once called “Vanguard” at his sentencing on Tuesday.
“You knew exactly what you were doing to me and many others,” former high ranking member Mark Vicente told Raniere through a recorded impact statement.
Sarah Edmondson, who also appeared by video, said, “You’re a liar, a parasite, and a grifter.”
Raniere’s sentencing was the first opportunity they’ve had to speak to him since his 2018 arrest. With his sentence of 120 years in prison, it will most likely be their last.
A Mexican woman who was kept confined to a room in a Halfmoon home for two years told Raniere she finds relief in now being able to forget him, saying, “I survived, not because you were merciful, because I was resilient.”
Her sister, who Raniere began a decade-long sexual relationship with when she was 15 years old, only referred to Raniere as “he,” saying, “He doesn’t deserve anything more than that.”
About naked photographs Raniere took of her when she was a teenager, she said, “As a 15-year-old, that is not something you easily forget. We had sexual contact during every meeting we ever had. When he took the photos was no exception.”
“I am and will continue to grow stronger than he ever allowed me to know I was,” she said.
Toni Natalie, who had previously been in a consensual, long-term relationship with Raniere, told him, “There’s nothing original about you.”
Many of these statements speak directly to Raniere’s desire to be remembered as a great man and thinker.
A former DOS member said, “It must be so dark and lonely and I feel so sorry for you."
Fifteen people gave victim impact statements during Raniere’s sentencing. All but two were from women.
Kristin Keeffe, who shares a child with Raniere, spoke of the psychological abuse she endured during her time in NXIVM. She said she “was a prisoner” and when she finally left, she was too afraid to put anything in her name, including health insurance and credit cards, in fear of being tracked down.
“I can never get back the 20 years he’s subjected me to,” Keefe told the court.
More than 100 victims sent letters to the court speaking about harm Raniere caused them. At this points, it seems unlikely the world will ever know the total number of people Raniere hurt.
At sentencing, Raniere said while he is sorry for the pain he’s caused, he doesn’t believe he committed any crimes. He also said he believes some of these victims lied.