He co-founded Nxivm (pronounced NEX-ee-um) with Nancy Salzman near Albany, N.Y., in the 1990s as a self-help organization. Eventually, more than 16,000 people paid substantial amounts of money to take the group’s classes in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
At the trial, witnesses described Mr. Raniere’s views of women as deeply misogynistic. He demanded that some women starve themselves to attain the physique he found most appealing and sometimes grunted like a pig when women went to eat, according to testimony. Although he had simultaneous sexual relationships with up to a dozen women within Nxivm, those women were told they could only have sex with him.
Those sexual relationships included a 15-year-old from Mexico who was identified at trial by only her first name, Camila, prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo, adding that Mr. Raniere took nude photographs of her that constituted child pornography.
He also had a sexual relationship with Camila’s older sister, Daniela. When Daniela displeased him by saying that she was attracted to another man, Mr. Raniere ordered that she be confined to a room for nearly two years, demanding that she apologize to him, withholding her birth certificate and threatening to send her back to Mexico.
Mr. Raniere also directed Daniela to obtain the user names and passwords for email accounts belonging to people he saw as enemies of Nxivm, prosecutors wrote. Among them was the liquor magnate Edgar Bronfman, who had referred to Nxivm as a “cult” and whose daughter, Clare, acted as one of Mr. Raniere’s chief deputies and subsidized some Nxivm activities.
Nxivm eventually began disintegrating, partly as a result of Mr. Raniere’s formation in 2015 of the clandestine subgroup D.O.S., an acronym for a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions.”
He recruited eight women, including Ms. Mack, known for her role in the television series “Smallville,” as “first-line masters.” Ms. Mack and the other women were considered Mr. Raniere’s “slaves” and also recruited slaves of their own.