Catherine Oxenberg: Dynasty actress speaks of struggle to rescue daughter from 'cult' that 'brands its members'

Nxivm group leader Keith Raniere has been accused by former members of manipulating women into having sex with him

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Monday 30 October 2017 10:22
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Catherine Oxenberg said her daughter first became involved with the Nxivm group in 2011
Catherine Oxenberg said her daughter first became involved with the Nxivm group in 2011

An actress who starred in the Dynasty soap opera has spoken of her struggle to free her daughter India from a secret "cult" that she claims has brainwashed her.

Catherine Oxenberg said the 26-year-old had become involved with a secret sorority within the Nxivm group, described by its founder Keith Raniere as an educational coaching business.

But former members have accused the 57-year-old of manipulating his followers into having sex with him and encouraging them to follow 800 calorie "starvation" diets.

Ms Oxenberg said it was originally her idea to attend one of Nxivm's classes with her daughter in 2011.

She told People magazine that she quickly found the group "weird and creepy" but her daughter enjoyed the class and became more and more involved.

The 56-year-old said India began recruiting friends to the group and spending all of her money on attending seminars. She added that her daughter looked "emaciated" after following a strict diet prescribed by the group.

India later moved to Albany to be closer to the group's headquarters, but Ms Oxenberg said she did not want to interfere in her daughter's life.

But she said she felt compelled to speak out after a former member Bonnie Piesse claimed India had joined a "secret sisterhood" in the group, whose members are branded with Raniere's initials,

She said Ms Piesse had urged her to "save your daughter".

Ms Oxenberg spoke out days after The New York Times published a report on the group's alleged practices based on testimony from former members.

Victim Sarah Edmondson reveals the scar left by her branding

Both India and Nxivm have strongly denied the allegations.

"Thank you for your care and concern it's been an incredibly sad situation and I've been anticipating this article," India wrote on Facebook. "I'm absolutely fine, great actually. I would never put myself or the people I love into any danger.

"These are my friends and colleagues I've never seen anything but good come out of this work."

A statement on Nxivm's website read: "The allegations relayed in the story are built upon sources, some of which are under criminal investigation or already indicted, who act as a coordinated group. This story might be a criminal product of criminal minds who, in the end, are also hurting the victims of the story.

"Unfortunately, this media outlet fell prey to these coordinated, criminal efforts. NXIVM was not able to participate in this story because it painfully held true to the due process of our free world justice system.

"We will explore any and all legal remedies to correct these lies."

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