Faced with a possible five-year prison sentence in New York State, Clare Bronfman, heir to the Seagram alcohol empire of Montreal, still refuses to deny the guru of Nxivm, a sect where the sexual and financial exploitation.
Faced with her sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty last year to identity theft and criminal conspiracy to hide illegal immigrants in the case, Ms. Bronfman has injected around US $ 100 million over a period of more than ten years in this sect.
Keith Raniere had founded Nxivm (pronounced Nexium) in 1998 with the official mission of offering training courses offering “personal fulfillment”, but which mainly served the development of a network of sex slaves – including one aged 15 – and rich young women whom the guru abused until his arrest in April 2018 in New York.
As a close associate of Raniere, Clare Bronfman was arrested on July 24, 2018 on charges of extortion, then released on bail of US $ 100 million. She joined the organization in 2003, after giving up her dreams of becoming an equestrian athlete.
Six people have been charged in the case, including Nxivm co-founder Nancy Salzman and Smallville actress Allison Mack. The five women accused in this case have pleaded guilty to avoid a trial. Only Raniere went to trial, according to the New York Times . He was convicted last year of fraud and sex trafficking in particular.
Five years for Bronfman?
Prosecutors proposed a five-year prison sentence for Clare Bronfman, arguing that the cult could never have continued its activities for so long and so effectively without the help of women like her, who were used in recruiting.
Bronfman's attorneys have suggested that she should not serve any jail time, arguing that she has no idea of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They argued that Bronfman genuinely believed in the cult's merits and its values.
However, despite the disturbing revelations about leader Keith Raniere made public in the context of his trial, Clare Bronfman has always refused to deny the latter.
“A lot of people, including most of my family, think I should deny Keith [Raniere] and Nxivm, and the fact that I didn't is hard for them to understand and accept. However, in my opinion, Nxivm and Keith have really changed my life for the better, ”she wrote last month in a letter to the judge, quoted by The New York Times on Monday.
Since its founding in 1998, around 18,000 people have taken part in Nxivm's “trainings”.
Keith Raniere's sentence is due to be announced on October 27.