Nxivm sex cult ‘grand master’ Keith Raniere ‘held Mexican woman’s illegal immigrant status over her leaving her “completely dependent” on the sect’
- Raniere, 58, is accused of being a con man who abused and branded women
- One alleged victim said her undocumented status was used to keep her in check
- The Mexican woman, named only as Daniela, said it ‘would be held over my head’
- Daniela, now 33, said it made her ‘completely dependent’ on Raniere and Nxivm
- She also claims Raniere gave her no support when she had to have an abortion
- Self-help guru Raniere was arrested last April in his Mexican hideaway
- Raniere has pleaded not guilty to charges, saying encounters were consensual
Nxivm sex cult ‘grand master’ Keith Raniere held a Mexican woman’s illegal immigrant status ‘over her head’ leaving her ‘completely dependent’ on the sect, a court has heard.
The woman, named only as Daniela, told jurors at Brooklyn Federal Court that her undocumented immigrant status was used to keep her in check and remind her ‘that it was a liability’.
She said: ‘I didn’t realize it at the time. It would be held over my head the fact that they had brought me into the country, and that it was a liability.’
Once it was no longer legal for Daniela to be in the U.S she told the court she was ‘completely dependent’ on 58-year-old Raniere and Nxivm, The Daily News reports.
When she was denied entry into the U.S, Daniela claims it was Raniere, with the help of a fellow Nxivm member, who arranged for her to enter illegally from Canada.
Self-help guru Raniere was arrested last April in his Mexican hideaway with a harem of sex slaves.
He is accused of being a sadistic con man who abused women under the guise of giving them a path to personal growth.
Some of the most sensational evidence against Raniere relates to accusations he required ‘sex slaves ‘ who joined a secret society within Nxivm be branded with his initials.
Nxivm sex cult ‘grand master’ Keith Raniere, pictured, is accused of holding a Mexican woman’s illegal immigrant status over her leaving her ‘completely dependent’ on the sect
A brand received by a female member the alleged secret sex cult within the Nxivm organization. It contains the initials of the group’s former leader Keith Raniere
Daniela, now 33, also claimed Raniere, on trial over sex trafficking and child pornography charges, gave her no support when she had to have an abortion.
She was one of three siblings Raniere is accused of having sex with, including her 15-year-old sister who was under the age of consent.
When she fell pregnant in 2006 Daniela said she was ‘terrified’, adding: ‘I didn’t want to have a baby and I didn’t want to have a baby with Keith.’
But she claims he offered no support and ‘ didn’t visit her once’ after her abortion. She added: ‘I was all alone. I was all alone throughout the entire process.’
Keith is said to have told her the aborted pregnancy ‘was a great opportunity’ for her ‘to lose weight and get fit’.
She is said to have taken laxatives to lose weight every day after Raniere is accused of asking her: ‘Why, do you not care about me? You don’t care enough? You care more about food than to be with me.
‘Keith told me that before I needed to lose weight before he would have sex with me’, Daniela said.
Both Daniela, whose full name has been withheld by prosecutors to protect her privacy, and her younger sister were coached by Nxivm insider Pamela Cafritz on what to tell doctors about their pregnancies, she alleges.
Daniela was once confined for nearly two years after disobeying Raniere, prosecutors say.
And she was even used to spy on the group’s enemies, the court heard, and even went into her sister’s email.’
She told jurors: ‘I really thought I was helping her. I knew what I did was wrong. It’s plain and simply illegal. I feel bad that I contributed to the abuse and manipulation of my own sister.’
Defendant Keith Raniere, center, is seated between his attorneys Paul DerOhannesian, left, and Marc Agnifilo in this courtroom. Raniere has pleaded not guilty to charges including sex trafficking and child pornography
Daniela said she had cancelled plans to attend a Swiss boarding school in 2002, after attending an ‘intensive program’ of Nxivm’s in Montery, Mexico.
The self-help classes were a 16th birthday present from her parents who described Raniere as the ‘smartest man in the world.’
She decided to take a year out of education and went to Albany, New York where Raniere’s organization was based.
Daniela told the court her relationship changed with Raniere after she stole $6,000 from Nxivm’s offices – she returned the cash but Raniere used her mistake.
And he became a ‘shoulder to cry on,’ the NY Daily News reported her as saying and began making sexual advances, telling the girl not to tell her mother.
Daniela said she was later invited to join him in a threesome with her older sister – another club member – and when she refused she was sent to a room alone for two years.
Former member Marc Vicente testified that Raniere was involved with a number of women, most notably Mack and billionaire heiress Clare Bronfman.
He encouraged the former to starve herself said Vicente, while the latter was ordered to wear a jock strap as punishment for her know-it-all attitude.
Jurors also saw photos of the newly branded sex slaves in group, taken shortly after each was held down and mutilated with a cauterizing pen.
Raniere has pleaded not guilty to charges including sex trafficking and child pornography, and his lawyer has argued that he never forced any women to act against their will.
He faces life in prison if convicted.