The daughter of Dynasty sitcom star Catherine Oxenberg is the latest to share her horrific experience at the hands of the NXIVM cult.
The group styles itself as a self-help programme focused on business success and female empowerment, but former members say it is a pyramid scheme where women were coerced into abusive relationships, branded, forced into doing unpaid labor, blackmailed, and served as sex slaves to their “masters,” including the group’s former leader, Keith Raniere.
“What I thought I was learning was self-help and personal growth," India Oxenberg, 29, told Good Morning America on Tuesday. “What I was learning was the opposite. It was inhumane.”
Ms Oxenberg first joined the group in 2011, when she was 22. Over the course of seven years, she says she was progressively blackmailed, cut off from her family, and “groomed” to be a sex slave in Raniere’s inner circle. Eventually, she says, she was branded with his initials and raped by him. Raniere maintains that his relationships were consensual).
“When you're unaware it's so easy to be led astray especially by people who are masters at manipulation and these people were that,” Ms Oxenberg says in the interview. “Especially Keith Raniere, he’s a master at manipulation. If there's one thing he's intelligent at, it's that. He's a predator.”
Mr Raniere, who maintains his innocence, was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking in 2019, and is expected to be sentenced in late October. Former Smallville actress Allison Mack, who became a leader in the group and who Ms Oxenberg says was among those who groomed her, pled guilty in 2019 to racketeering conspiracy charges alongside. Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune, was also involved with the group and pled guilty to fraud and immigration charges. Eighty people sued the group in late January accusing it of using junk science to swindle them out of millions of dollars in classes.
NXIVM was founded in the 1990s and based in Albany, New York, but grew to feature chapters across North and South America that succeeded in attracting high-profile adherents such as Oxenberg, Mack, Bronfman, and Stephen Cooper, an executive at Enron.
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