One of Keith Raniere’s victims slammed the NXIVM sex-cult leader in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday afternoon, describing how he “hid his abuse behind concepts of value and nobility.”
She is one of at least 15 former NXIVM members expected to speak out against the group’s founder ahead of his sentencing on sex trafficking and wire fraud charges.
Camila, who allegedly had a sexual relationship with Raniere for over 12 years—beginning when she was 15 years old—spoke for the first time about the abuse she endured, detailing to the court how the 60-year-old isolated her from friends and family for his “sexual gratification.”
The woman, now in her 30s, explained her decision to speak was her way of “getting her voice back” after years of “coming to terms with the trauma and abuse.”
Throughout Raniere’s trial, jurors saw sexually explicit messages between the pair, including multiple conversations about BDSM. Prosecutors used Camila’s abuse as the basis for Raniere’s child-pornography charge.
On Monday, Camila, whose two sisters also had a relationship with Raniere and were forced to get abortions, said the abuse was more than sexual—but also emotional, mental, and psychological, resulting in her isolating herself from friends and family to “please” Raniere.
“He manipulated me for what he wanted,” she said. “I became unreachable to my parents, my brother, my friends until I had nobody to worry about me. He knew the things that mattered most to me and what I feared and used that against me.”
Sarah Edmondson, a former top recruit in NXIVM who was one of the original whistleblowers against the organization, also addressed the court via video. Speaking directly to Raniere, she slammed the cult leader for being a “liar, parasite, and a grifter” who manipulated people seeking personal growth.
“In a curriculum that focused on personal growth—you have taken none,” she said. The 43-year-old, who was part of a secret group forced to have Raniere’s initials branded on them, said she removed the marking with plastic surgery.
The sentencing marks the end of a years-long battle between Raniere, known as “Vanguard,” and scores of former members who allege NXIVM was a criminal enterprise in which Raniere had sex with underage girls, forced women he impregnated to have abortions, and made “slaves” illegally monitor his enemies. Last June, Raniere was convicted of seven offenses—including wire fraud conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy—for manipulating his followers for his own sexual gratification under the guise of NXIVM’s mission.