Cult leader Keith Raniere. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube
Cult leader Keith Raniere. Picture: Keith Raniere Conversations/Youtube

Cult member ‘forced into sex slavery’

A SEX slave of the Nxivm cult says she weighed just 38kgs after being starved with extreme diets and forced to exercise on the orders of its celeb leaders.

The Sun reports that victim Sylvie, 32, told a US court she was ordered to complete gruelling six-hour workouts every day by her "master" Keith Raniere and wealthy heiress Clare Bronfman.

 

The witness, understood to have been from England, testified that she became a "slave" under their control over 13 years of membership to the group.

Sylvie said she was in the process of planning to be branded with Raniere's initials when Nxivm collapsed last year.

Keith Raniere and Allison Mack's initials (KR and AM) are allegedly seen here in the symbol branded onto cult members. Picture: YouTube
Keith Raniere and Allison Mack's initials (KR and AM) are allegedly seen here in the symbol branded onto cult members. Picture: YouTube

She claims the shady cult counted her calories before one leader instructed her to "seduce" Raniere.

At one point she weighed just 38 kgs and was training six hours a day to be a competitive runner - allegedly at the direction of the senior members of the group.

As a result the victim developed an abscess that became a fistula - an abnormal connection between blood vessels, intestines or other hollow organs - and required surgery.

Clare Bronfman, right, leaves Federal court with her lawyer Susan Necheles. Picture: AP
Clare Bronfman, right, leaves Federal court with her lawyer Susan Necheles. Picture: AP

When Sylvie was summoned to meet Raniere in private, she felt she had no choice but to strip for a nude photo and let him perform oral sex on her.

It took place "on a big bed with dirty white sheets" and was all behind her husband's back, she said.

Afterwards, Raniere told her, "Right now, you're part of the inner circle." From then on, he added, he would be her "grand master."

But before she underwent the brutal branding ceremony, the group splintered amid an FBI investigation last year that resulted in Raniere's capture on a US warrant in Mexico in 2018.

Her account came on the second day of the federal sex-trafficking trial of Raniere, the former spiritual leader of the so-called self-improvement organisation based in upstate New York.

Raniere, 58, has denied charges that he used the group to control and exploit women, insisting his sexual encounters with followers were consensual.

But five of Raniere's co-defendants, including TV actress Allison Mack and wealthy heiress Clare Bronfman, have pleaded guilty.

Actress Allison Mack arrives at court. Picture: Getty
Actress Allison Mack arrives at court. Picture: Getty

 

Tom Welling as Clark Kent and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan in Smallville. Picture: Supplied
Tom Welling as Clark Kent and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan in Smallville. Picture: Supplied

SEX SLAVE RECRUITMENT

In two days of testimony, Sylvie described herself as a lost soul from England who was introduced to Nxivm at age 18 by Bronfman, a deep-pocket benefactor of Rainere and his group.

She described hoping to overcome her fears in life by taking courses that earned her a position as a "coach" in Nxivm.

Women who joined were expected to watch their weight and adhere to Raniere's slogans like, "There are no ultimate victims, therefore I will not chose to be a victim," she said.

Keith Raniere. Picture: Supplied
Keith Raniere. Picture: Supplied

In 2015, she was recruited for the secret society, agreeing to turn over nude photos and other embarrassing "collateral" that could be used against her if she disobeyed her masters, she said.

On cross-examination, the witness was confronted with private text chats sprinkled with heart emoji in which she told Raniere in the months leading up to his arrest how much she appreciated him.

She also admitted she always was free to leave the Nxivm community if she got up the courage.

"Yeah, no one held me there," she said.

But the still-married witness added that what she said to Raniere "and what I felt were different."

 

Lauren Salzman was also a member of the Nxivm cult. Picture: AP
Lauren Salzman was also a member of the Nxivm cult. Picture: AP

 

Her status as a slave meant she had to idolise him and follow his commands, even if it meant submitting to having sex with him, she said.

Sylvie told jurors: "I think I felt shame and still do, honestly, about the whole thing. I felt everything was lies and secrets and darkness."

 

This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission


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