NXIVM founder Keith Raniere has apologized for his ‘participation in pain and suffering’, although he says he is innocent when he accused the justice system of ‘terrible injustice’ while acknowledging that people think he is ‘the devil’.
The 60-year-old cult leader who is sentenced to a federal prison next week for holding women as sex slaves broke his silence on Friday for the first time since his arrest two years ago.
“My apologies for participating in all this pain and suffering,” he said NBC News on Friday.
‘I clearly participated. I’ve been the community leader. ‘
Raniere was convicted last year on multiple counts of sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and extortion after being charged with turning his female devotees into his sex slaves. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Keith Raniere, 60, the leader of the NVIXM sect, spoke out for the first time on Friday, telling NBC News he is’ innocent ‘even though he apologized for his victims” participating in pain and suffering ‘
Keith Raniere, 60, will be sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday after being convicted of sex trafficking and extortion. He is pictured above in a court sketch from last year
One of Raniere’s former supporters, Frank Parlato, worked as a spokesperson for NXIVM. But when Parlato became disillusioned with some of the darker aspects of the organization, he wrote about it in his blog, The Frank Report, and helped bring down NVIXM. In a dramatic telephone conversation, Raniere spoke to Parlato. The chat was filmed by NBC News.
On Friday, he declared his innocence, claiming he had been addressed by the criminal justice system.
“You know, one of the things that is most important in our country is the legal system,” Raniere told NBC News.
And while, you know, people can hate me and, do, and think I’m a hideous type of character, you know, actually awful.
“Both the devil and a saint should be able to receive exactly the same treatment under our legal system.”
One of Raniere’s former supporters, Frank Parlato, worked as a spokesperson for NXIVM.
But when Parlato became disillusioned with some of the darker aspects of the organization, he wrote about it in his blog, The Frank Report.
Parlato, who played a prominent role in the HBO documentary The Vow, is credited with helping bring down NVIXM.
In a dramatic telephone conversation, Raniere spoke to Parlato. The chat was filmed by NBC News.
When Parlato asked Raniere if he intended to make a statement in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday when he was sentenced, Raniere said, “Yes, I am innocent.
And while it does, this is a terrible tragedy that hurts many, many people, I think the main driver of this has been repression, but really another issue, which I have a hard time expressing.
‘There is a terrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the legal process needs to be investigated. ‘
In his sentencing on Tuesday, the judge is expected to consider impact statements from more than 100 victims.
Catherine Oxenberg, the actress and mother of India Riven Oxenberg, is one of Raniere’s victims. Both she and her daughter were NVIXM members
India Oxenberg said Allison Mack recruited her to become her slave when he was “ vulnerable ” and then controlled her life, including what she ate, when they were at NXIVM. Mack is shown on the right side of the court. She is now in prison for sex trafficking charges
Catherine Oxenberg, the actress and mother of India Riven Oxenberg, said her daughter was one of Raniere’s victims.
Both she and her daughter were NVIXM members.
“These young women were real, without realizing it, on this runaway roller coaster to hell,” Catherine Oxenberg told NBC News.
And they didn’t know at all. And that’s where Keith Raniere took them to hell. ‘
Last week, India Oxenberg revealed that fellow actress Allison Mack was her ‘master’ on NXIVM and monitored when and how much she ate.
Oxenberg, 29, told Good Morning America on Wednesday that Mack would limit her calorie intake.
She also shared how she worked with prosecutors for nine months to put Keith Raniere, the cult leader, behind bars, and gave them a flash drive with incriminating evidence against him.
“It was an insulting dynamic just because she had control over me. She did it strategically. She knew I was in a vulnerable place in my life and I was desperate for something and she was after me, ”said India.
Raniere started NXIVM in upstate New York in the 1990s as a self-improvement group that expanded across the country.
Keith Raniere is in prison awaiting conviction on a range of charges including child trafficking and child pornography. The branding of his initials that members received is shown to the right
Prosecutors allege that in about 2015, Raniere started a secret branch known as the DOS that was only for women.
Prosecutors say the secret society is made up of brainwashed female ‘slaves’ who were branded with his initials and forced to have sex with him.
His supporters included Smallville actress Allison Mack and Seagram’s booze fortune heiress Clare Bronfman.
Both women have pleaded guilty to assisting the conspiracy and await conviction.
Last month, five members of the alleged sex cult said they believe their former self-improvement leader had been wrongly convicted and denied that NVIXM was cult-like.
In an interview with CBS News, they declined to say whether they were branded with Raniere’s initials or whether they had had sex with the former leader.