Raniere served as the leader of the “self-help” organization NXIVM until he was convicted of racketeering and sex-trafficking charges last year. The conviction came after numerous women claimed that Raniere was running a dangerous cult that branded women with his initials and coerced them into sex.
The public has more proof of Raniere’s wrongdoings now than ever before — despite his assertions on Tuesday that two members of his organization were unable to safely testify on his behalf because they were being threatened and intimidated by prosecutors.
Premiering in August 2020, HBO created a documentary series that revealed the secrets of NXIVM through intimate behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with current and former members. The Vow, which is available on Amazon for streaming, builds the case for why individuals joined the NXIVM organization and why they chose to stay despite the organization’s sinister practices.
Underneath the NXIVM umbrella were several sub-groups that members could join. Several sub-groups were geared toward women, such as the overarching sex cult “Dominus Obsequious Sororium” (DOS; translates to “Master Over Slave Women” from Latin) and its accompanying sorority, Jness.
Deemed a “women’s movement”, Jness allegedly promoted feminist views and overall empowerment. Instead, the group subjugated women and stripped them of their autonomy. Additionally, the Society of Protectors (SOP) functioned as a reinforcer of the Jness practices and was aimed at attracting men as prospective members to join DOS.
Although The Vow aired its final episode of Season 1 on October 18, the docuseries has confirmed that a second season is coming in 2021. On the same day, STARZ aired the first episode of Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult. The new series delves further into the complex and exceptionally disturbing layers of how NXIVM operated and will likely answer some of the remaining questions viewers of The Vow may have after the series’ season finale.
Seduced focuses on the survivors of DOS and how their experiences have continued to affect them after their departure from NXIVM. In particular, the docuseries zeroes in on Catherine Oxenberg and her success in saving her daughter, India. While The Vow featured Catherine whilst she was in the throes of trying to rescue India from the cult, Seduced now provides an exclusive look into India’s life before and after she escaped in 2018.
The four-part docuseries will air one episode weekly until November 8. The first episode introduces a large swath of information on how India and her mother joined NXIVM, as well as what spurred Catherine to leave the organization and ultimately begin to fear for India’s life.
Now, in spite of the mounting evidence against him, Raniere continues to have loyalists that claim his innocence. According to an article published by the Albany Times Union, a petition was delivered to the US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn by a small group of Raniere supporters last month.
The petition sought to hold the prosecutors and judges overseeing the NXIVM case accountable for issues of witness and evidence tampering. In an effort to lend credence to their petition, the supporters recruited Amanda Knox, an American that was famously convicted of murder in Italy and then exonerated, to sign the paper.
Raniere’s sentencing was scheduled for October 27. However, following his request for a new trial on Tuesday, it is unclear what the next steps will be in terms of bringing the NXIVM leader to justice. Nevertheless, Raniere faces a possible life sentence for his June 2019 convictions.