Keith Raniere, the leader of the obscure Nxivm group (nexium), was deported to the United States this Sunday by Mexican authorities after being detained in a luxurious villa on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta and accused of trafficking women.
“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 says.
The head of the alleged self-help organization was sought by the US authorities for the crimes of trafficking in women and criminal association for forced labor. Last fall, The New York Times revealed that some women were forced to have sex and marked as cattle with the initials of the guru held over the weekend in the western Mexican resort.
Vanguardia, as Raniere is known within the structure, faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
“Raniere created a secret society of women with whom he had sex and who were marked with their initials and who were forced under the threat of publicizing their personal information and taking their resources,” says the indictment of the Department of Justice Richard P. Donoghue, the East District Attorney of New York. “Raniere showed a gross abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves,” said William Sweeney, who directs the investigation for the FBI in New York.
Raniere, 57, organised workshops for motivation and self-help for two decades through Nxivm, based in Albany, New York, with a presence in Canada, Mexico and several countries in South America.
The meetings were carried out through the Executive Success Programs or ESP, as the members of the organization call it.
The workshops had the structure of a pyramid scheme
The participants paid several thousand dollars and get a manual that combined the ultra-liberal philosophy of the writer Ayn Rand with psychology. A 2011 report stated that a 160-hour course had a cost of $7,500.
Once inside, and after signing a confidentiality contract, they were convinced by the high ranks to invest more money in additional classes. The heads of the organization motivated them to recruit new members and move up the ESP ladder.
The program had become a powerful network of influences and public relations with more than 16,000 participants. In Mexico, Emiliano Salinas Occelli, one of the sons of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), is a member of the Council and co-owner of the Mexican chapter of ESP . The Inla’Kech Foundation, linked to ESP, was one of the promoters and organizers of the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity that traveled in 2011 throughout the country to demand an end to violence.
The caravan had, as central figures, the Mennonite leader of Chihuahua, Julian Lebaron, and the poet Javier Sicilia. The documentary Ignite the Heart, produced and paid by those of ESP, also used as a central figure to Lebaron to make a pacifist plea at the same time that promoted the philosophy of Raniere.
In October, Emiliano Salinas made a press tour to ensure that the report had no basis whatsoever and to distance himself from the scandal that had erupted in the United States.
“My name does not appear in the aforementioned article, nor is there a link to what I do in Mexico,” he said in a statement. On Monday, following the arrest of the leader of the sect, ESP Mexico issued a statement in which it expresses its “confidence” that the US authorities “will ratify the innocence of Keith Raniere in the short term.”
The authorities investigating him, claim that Raniere made in 2015 a more select group within the organization that he named DOS, the initials of Dominant Over Submissive (dominant over submissive).
That group worked with “slave” women who had masters. In the likeness of the other organization, the slaves had to recruit new women to become mistresses and achieve new ranks.
According to the victims who came to denounce the organization, only Raniere was at the top of the pyramid.