Sex Slave Guru Who Branded Victims Arrested In Mexico
An American "self-help" guru, who presided over a secretive society of women sex slaves branded with his initials, is due in court on Tuesday, five months after fleeing to Mexico.
Keith Raniere, 57, from Waterford, New York, is known as "The Vanguard".
He is charged with sex trafficking and conspiracies that could see him jailed for between 15 years and life if convicted, US prosecutors said on Monday.
The FBI and Mexican police tracked him down on Sunday at a luxury villa on the Pacific coast, following his escape to Mexico with an unnamed heiress after The New York Times exposed the organisation last October.
He is due to appear in a Texas court on Tuesday.
FBI senior official William Sweeney accused Raniere of displaying "a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves".
The case involved "serious crimes against humanity", said Sweeney, "and we are putting an end to this torture today".
Raniere set up supposed self-help workshops called "Executive Success Programmes" in 1998, whose umbrella organisation Nxivm has operated in Canada, Mexico, South America and the United States, and recruited in Brooklyn, officials said.
Participants paid up to $5 000 for a five-day workshop with members often required to sign non-disclosure agreements, US prosecutors said.
Each August, they also paid $2 000 to gather in the New York lakeside hamlet of Silver Bay to honour Raniere for his birthday.
Carrying on poly-amorous relations from the start, in 2015 he is accused of creating a secret society called "DOS" – a pyramid scheme of women "slaves" and "masters" with Raniere – the sole man – alone at the top.
Members were allegedly told that they would be empowered, but were instead treated as slaves – branded with Raniere's initials on their pelvic areas while being pinned down naked and filmed at initiation ceremonies.
FOR MORE FRESH STORIES, DOWNLOAD BOUNCE NEWS APP HERE
WATCH BOUNCE WEEK ROUND WITH TONY AND JONA