The father of a woman who claimed she had been kept as a sex slave by Keith Raniere has defended the NXIVM cult leader, praising him as an ‘honorable’ and ‘honest’ person ahead of his sentencing next week.
Raniere, 60, was convicted last year on multiple counts of sex-trafficking after he was accused of turning his female devotees into his sex slaves, including one alleged victim identified as a Daniela.
The woman, originally from Mexico, had testified during Raniere’s trial claiming she had been groomed on her 18th birthday before spending two years in captivity during which she was forced to have a sexual relationship with him.
Keith Raniere is due to be sentenced next week after he was onvicted in June 2019 of charges including racketeering, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, and sex trafficking
In a letter to a federal judge on Tuesday, the father of Raniere’s alleged victim threw his support behind the cult leader (pictured in a court sketch last year)
But Daniela’s father, identified as Hector, this week hit back at his daughter’s allegations and threw his support behind the cult leader instead.
Court documents unsealed on Tuesday included a letter to a judge expressing Hector’s admiration for Raniere despite his conviction, The New York Post reported.
‘When I think of him the words that come to mind are: Honest, Whole, Brilliant Intelligence,’ he wrote. ‘[A]lways ready to help, Cheerful and In Love with Humanity.’
Hector, who was counted as one of NXIVM’s loyal followers after emigrating from Mexico with Daniela’s mother to live near the Albany-based cult, claimed his daughter had been a troubled teen.
He explained Daniela, at the advice of Raniere, had been confined to her room to ‘think about what [she] really wanted,’ but was free to go at any time.
‘What was intended to be a short time to think things over turned into something very long (about two years) with no change in Daniela’s destructive attitude; constant requests for more opportunities and tireless broken promises,’ he said.
A jury convicted Raniere in June last year on all counts of sex-trafficking and coercing women into sex. Some plaintiffs claim they were recruited as sex slaves and were forced to have Raniere’s initials, K A R, branded on their bodies
‘Daniela was not willing to change her behavior from not putting in effort, lying and being a burden to the community.’
‘The perception of this single event is so twisted and wrong that it makes it impossible for Keith to get a fair trial with this lie at trial,’ Hector added.
Daniela had said she managed to escape from her room in 2012 and confront Raniere before being dumped at the US-Mexican border by her father with only $75 worth of currency to her name.
She said she had canceled plans to attend a Swiss boarding school in 2002, after attending an ‘intensive program’ of NXIVM’s in Monterrey, Mexico.
The self-help classes were a 16th birthday present from her parents who described Raniere as the ‘smartest man in the world.’
She decided to take a year out of education and went to Albany, New York where Raniere’s organization was based.
Self-help guru Raniere was arrested in April 2018 in his Mexican hideaway with a harem of sex slaves
Daniela told the court her relationship changed with Raniere after she stole $6,000 from NXIVM’s offices which she later returned.
Raniere then became a ‘shoulder to cry on’ and began making sexual advances, telling the girl not to tell her mother.
Daniela said she was later invited to join him in a threesome with her older sister – another club member – and when she refused she was sent to a room alone for two years.
Daniela claimed Raniere also slept with her younger sister, then 15.
Self-help guru Raniere was arrested in April 2018 in his Mexican hideaway with a harem of sex slaves, decamped over fears he would be indicted.
Earlier this year in March, he and his lawyers filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that two witnesses, including Daniela, perjured themselves when they denied they were planning to sue him after the trial.
He contended that two were among the ‘Jane Doe’ plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit filed in January against Raniere and 14 associates.
Attorney Neil Glazer, who represents the two women, told the New York Post in March they did not initially intend to join the lawsuit but changed their minds after they saw how much evidence was revealed during the trial.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis of Brooklyn federal court later ruled that Raniere is not entitled to a new trial because he did not prove that any of the testimony was actually false.