Keith Raniere has been arrested for allegedly branding women and keeping them as “slaves”. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube
Keith Raniere has been arrested for allegedly branding women and keeping them as “slaves”. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube

Cult leader who ‘brainwashed’ Hollywood stars arrested

THE leader of a secretive cult in upstate New York has been arrested in Mexico on charges of sex trafficking and forced labour for allegedly keeping women as "slaves" and branding them with his initials.

Keith Raniere - the co-founder of an allegedly torturous and psychologically manipulative secret society, NXIVM - was arrested by police in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta and brought to Texas on Monday, according to the Brooklyn US Attorney's office.

"Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said.

Cult leader Keith Raniere has been arrested in Mexico. Picture: Supplied
Cult leader Keith Raniere has been arrested in Mexico. Picture: Supplied

"These serious crimes against humanity are not only shocking, but disconcerting to say the least, and we are putting an end to this torture today."

Raniere's influence extended to Hollywood where he roped in Smallville star Allison Mack who allegedly recruited 25 women into joining the cult, which also reportedly included Battlestar Galactica actress Nicki Clyne.

Sci-fi star Clyne is believed to be one of those who handed over damaging material as "collateral" in a bid to prove her loyalty to DOS - which stands for "dominus obsequious sororium" - Latin for "master over the slave women".

Smallville actress Allison Mack reportedly “recruited” women for Keith Raniere. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube
Smallville actress Allison Mack reportedly “recruited” women for Keith Raniere. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube

India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty actor Catherine Oxenberg, was also involved and met with prosecutors in New York late last year to present evidence against alleged cult leader Raniere.

According to the New York Post, the complaint alleges that many of the victims had Raniere's initials "branded in their pubic regions" with a cauterising pen in a "tribute" that could last 30 minutes.

"During the branding ceremonies, slaves were required to be fully naked, and the master would order one slave to film while the other held down the slave being branded," the complaint said.

Actress Catherine Oxenberg fought to get her daughter away from Keith Raniere. Picture: Supplied
Actress Catherine Oxenberg fought to get her daughter away from Keith Raniere. Picture: Supplied

Photos allegedly obtained by The Sun last year eportedly showed different women's pubic areas which had been branded with the initials KR and AM - believed to be Keith Raniere and Allison Mack.

The cult leader began running workshops in 2003 on the NXIVM compound about 30 kilometres outside of Albany, according to the federal complaint.

Some of Raniere's curriculum included teaching women about "the need for men to have multiple sexual partners and the need for women to be monogamous".

This led Raniere to start a secret society within NXIVM called "DOS" in 2015 - an organisation that operated as a pyramid with "slaves" and "masters."

Women were branded with this design. Picture: Supplied
Women were branded with this design. Picture: Supplied

Raniere, the only male, was at the apex.

The group would ask women for damaging information, such as sexually explicit photos - and the information would apparently be released if the women went public with details of the program.

They were also required to engage in excruciating acts, such as taking cold showers and standing for an hour at 4am while being told to practice celibacy and remain "exceptionally thin".

Nicki Clyne with Aussie actress, Gigi Edgley. Picture: Supplied
Nicki Clyne with Aussie actress, Gigi Edgley. Picture: Supplied

They were eventually groomed to have sex with Raniere who had a "rotating group of 15 to 20 women" who he had sex with, according to the complaint.

The entire scheme began to unravel when a DOS "slave" defected in 2017, which led to an article in The New York Times.

Raniere, who fled the country shortly after the Times report was published, will appear in a Texas court on overnight.

Allison Mack ”interviews” cult leader Keith Raniere. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube
Allison Mack ”interviews” cult leader Keith Raniere. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube

 

This story was originally published in the New York Post and is reprinted with permission.

 

India Oxenberg was a member of the cult. Picture: Supplied
India Oxenberg was a member of the cult. Picture: Supplied


Basil the greyhound rehomed during adoption drive

Basil the greyhound rehomed during adoption drive

A happy ending for shelters long term resident.

Family saves man with 'bad' crime history from more jail

Family saves man with 'bad' crime history from more jail

Find any help you can, judge tells drug offender

Enduring efforts of RSL members undeniable

Enduring efforts of RSL members undeniable

Anzac Day tradition will "continue on": RSL sub-Branch president.

Local Partners