New York Heiress Arrested For Ties To NXIVM's Alleged Sex Cult

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images
A new development in the NXIVM cult case involves an heiress to a liquor fortune.
According to the Associated Press, Clare Bronfman, an equestrian, philanthropist, and daughter of former Seagram chairman, Edgar Bronfman Sr., was arrested in connection with her work with NXIVM. Per the new report, Bronfman has been charged with racketeering conspiracy.
NXIVM is purported to be a self-help organization which boasts personal and professional development workshops such as the "Executive Success Program." An October 2017 exposé in The New York Times titled "Inside A Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded" claimed that the organization was actually a cult, and that the women involved were subjected to blackmailing, sexual abuse, and forced labor.
NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman, Salzman's daughter Lauren, and NXIVM's bookkeeper Kathy Russell were all arrested alongside Bronfman on Tuesday. Bronfman is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn.
Bronfman is not the only high-profile person with ties to NXIVM. Former Smallville actress Allison Mack, a member of the organization since 2006, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking and forced labor. She allegedly recruited women for founder Keith Raniere's "inner circle." Raniere, too, was charged with sex trafficking. Raniere has been in jail since March while Mack was released into her parents' care in April after making bail.
In 2010, Vanity Fair published an article titled "The Heiresses and the Cult," detailing Bronfman and her sister Sara's involvement with the organization. NXIVM reportedly was given over $150 million dollars of the Bronfman sisters' money. The sisters' NXIVM involvement reportedly worsened a rift between them and their billionaire father, who died in 2013.
A website created by Bronfman in 2012 for her company, Slate River Farm, lists Raniere and Salzman as two of Bronfman's "mentors."
On December 14, 2017, Bronfman responded to accusations against NXIVM on her own website, writing:
"The past few months have been deeply painful for me, as I have seen my friends, associates, and the organization I care for come under fire. Some have asked me why I remain a member and why I still support NXIVM and Keith Raniere. The answer is simple: I’ve seen so much good come from both our programs and from Keith himself. It would be a tragedy to lose the innovative and transformational ideas and tools that continue to improve the lives of so many."
She added:
"There have been many defamatory accusations made and I have taken them seriously. Determining the truth is extremely important to me, and I can say firmly that neither NXIVM nor Keith have abused or coerced anyone."
You can read her full statement, in which she continues to defend Raniere, here.

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