The father of a woman who claimed she had been held as a sex slave by Keith Raniere has defended the NXIVM’s cult leader, praising him as an ‘honorable’ and ‘honest’ person ahead of his sentencing next week.
Raniere, 60, was convicted of multiple counts of sex trafficking last year after being accused of turning his female devotees into his sex slaves, including an alleged victim identified as a Daniela.
The woman, who is originally from Mexico, had testified at Raniere’s trial that she was cared for on her 18th birthday before spending two years in captivity during which she was forced to have a sexual relationship with him.
Keith Raniere will be sentenced next week after he was fired in June 2019 for extortion, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy and sex trafficking.
In a letter to a federal judge on Tuesday, the father of the alleged victim of Raniere threw his support behind the cult leader (pictured last year in a court sketch)
But Daniela’s father, identified as Hector, hit back at his daughter’s allegations this week and instead threw his support behind the cult leader.
Court documents not sealed on Tuesday included a letter to a judge expressing Hector’s admiration for Raniere despite his conviction, The New York Post reported.
“When I think of him, the words that come to mind are: Honest, very, brilliant intelligence,” he wrote. ‘[A]Always ready to help, cheerful and in love with humanity. ‘
Hector, who was considered one of NXIVM’s staunch followers after emigrating from Mexico with Daniela’s mother to live near the Albany-based cult, claimed his daughter had been a troubled teenager.
He explained that, on the advice of Raniere, Daniela was locked in her room to ‘think about what’ [she] really wanted ‘, but could go at any time.
What was meant to be a short time to think about things turned into something very long (about two years) with no change in Daniela’s destructive attitude; constant requests for more opportunities and tireless broken promises, ”he said.
A jury convicted Raniere last June on all counts of sex trafficking and forcing women into sex. Some plaintiffs claim they were recruited as sex slaves and forced to have Raniere’s initials, KAR, branded on their bodies
“Daniela was unwilling to change her behavior by not making an effort, lying and being a burden to the community.”
“The perception of this single event is so distorted and wrong that it becomes impossible for Keith to get a fair trial with this lie,” Hector added.
Daniela had said she managed to escape her room in 2012 and confronted Raniere before being dumped at the US-Mexico border by her father with just $ 75 in currency in her name.
She said she canceled plans to attend a Swiss boarding school in 2002 after attending an “intensive program” of NXIVMs in Monterrey, 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 drop out of education for a year and went to Albany, New York, where Raniere’s organization was located.
Self-help guru Raniere was arrested in April 2018 in his Mexican hideout with a harem of sex slaves
Daniela told the court that her relationship with Raniere had changed after she stole $ 6,000 from NXIVM’s offices, which she later returned.
Raniere then became a ‘shoulder to cry on’ and began making sexual advances by 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 declined, she was sent to a room alone for two years.
Daniela claimed that Raniere was also sleeping with her younger sister, then 15.
Self-help guru Raniere was arrested in April 2018 in his Mexican hideout with a harem of sex slaves, hunted for fear he might be charged.
Earlier this year, in March, he and his lawyers filed a motion for a retrial, arguing that two witnesses, including Daniela, were in perjury when they denied that they intended to charge him after the trial.
He argued that two of the ‘Jane Doe’ plaintiffs were in a civil suit filed in January against Raniere and 14 employees.
Attorney Neil Glazer, who represents the two women, told the New York Post in March that they had no initial plan to join the lawsuit, but changed their minds after seeing how much evidence was revealed in the trial.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the federal court in Brooklyn later ruled that Raniere was not entitled to a retrial because he did not prove that the testimony was really false.