‘Sex trafficking’

Heiress accused of secretly funding NXIVM sex slave cult appears in court for 1st time

Clare Bronfman, an heiress of the Seagram's liquor empire, arrives for a hearing on charges in relation to the Albany-based organization Nxivm at the United States Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn at New York, U.S., July 25, 2018. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Clare Bronfman, the multi-millionaire heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, who stands accused of bankrolling the notorious NXIVM cult that allegedly enslaved and branded women to satisfy the sexual desires of its leader, Keith Raniere, was taken into custody in New York City on Tuesday and charged with helping the so-called guru run an organized criminal enterprise.

According to the indictment, Bronfman was “a member of the Enterprise and a high-ranking member of NXIVM ”who served as an executive board member and aided in identity theft, extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and harboring of aliens for financial gain.” The indictment further accuses Bronfman and five other defendants of using the organization to obtain financial and personal benefits for themselves by “recruiting and grooming sexual partners for Raniere,” as well as targeting former NXIVM members who spoke out about abuse by “using harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack.”

“Additionally, the Heiress has made multiple attempts to have criminal charges brought against a former DOS slave who has discussed her experience in the media,” the filing continued, referring to Bronfman specifically.

Raniere and his purported second-in-command, Smallville star Allison Mack, were arrested in March and April, respectively, after former members of the organization spoke out about being branded with Raniere’s initials as part of an initiation into a secret sorority, DOS, which was allegedly used to groom sex slaves for Raniere. After a heated discussion in the courtroom on Tuesday, during which Bronfman’s lawyer argued that “even wealthy people are entitled to get bail,” the judge ruled that the heiress would be released to home detention on a $100 million bond until her return to court on Friday. When Bronfman’s lawyer again objected to a clause forbidding her from speaking with other NXIVM members on the basis that it would prevent her from speaking to her closest friends, the judge suggested that she “watch Netflix between now and Friday.” If found guilty, Bronfman is facing a possible five-year prison sentence.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.

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