Back in March, we brought you the story of Keith Raniere, who was the co-founder and leader of a secretive self-help cult called NXIVM, who was arrested by the FBI in Mexico and charged with sex trafficking. Raniere was arrested in Mexico in March and charged with sex trafficking, conspiracy and forced labor and is being held without bail.
Raniere allegedly created a “secret society” within the organization in 2015 that recruited women from within the group to serve as “slaves” overseen by “masters,” according to prosecutors. Prosecutors allege Nxivm operated like a pyramid scheme, charging participants thousands of dollars for courses while encouraging them to sign up for more and recruit others.
While NXIVM described itself as a self-help business that has helped thousands of people “reach their potential” through various courses, the women’s-only “inner sanctum” led by Raniere is known as ‘DOS’, which stood for “dominus obsequious sororium” – Latin for “master over the slave women”. Once they are a member – or “slave” – they are allegedly encouraged to recruit new women into their “slave pods”, stop dating, and be on call 24 hours a day to their “master”.
As a reminder, DOS required female members to give their recruiter – or “master,” naked pictures or other compromising material which could be used as blackmail before being branded with Raniere’s initials below the hip using a cauterizing iron.
Smallville actress Allison Mack who played Chloe Sullivan is (or was) allegedly a “master” in the cult, and required to obey orders from Raniere – including finding women to sleep with him.
Mack would require that prospective “slaves” place compromising collateral into a Dropbox account — one of whom was India Oxenberg, the daughterr of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg – who met with prosecutors in New York and presented evidence against Raniere.
Fast forward to today when Bloomberg reports that an heiress to the Seagram fortune was arrested today in the widening probe of the “self-help organization” that prosecutors now say operated as “a secretive cult that branded its victims and forced them to participate in sexual acts.”
Clare Bronfman, the daughter of former Seagram chairman Edgar M. Bronfman, was one of four women charged Tuesday in connection with the investigation of Nxivm, an Albany, New York-based multi-level marketing company founded by Keith Raniere, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney.
Smallville actress Allison Mack, an actress who allegedly recruited slaves for Raniere, was apprehended shortly after Raniere was arrested in Mexico in March and charged with similar crimes. Both have pleaded not guilty.
According to the indictment, the four arrested women – Bronfman, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman and Nancy Salzman – were members of Raniere’s “inner circle” along with Mack, and recruited and groomed sexual partners for him. Bronfman is one of seven children of her father, a second-generation heir who captained Seagram’s expansion during his years leading the company.
Recruits were expected to provide “collateral” before joining – including damaging information about friends and family, nude photographs and rights to assets – that could be used against them if they revealed the existence of the organization or tried to leave, prosecutors said.
The four women are scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn and Albany later Tuesday.
The court filing is below:
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