The complaint, filed recently in connection with an ongoing federal criminal investigation being headed by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, charges Raniere with multiple counts of sex trafficking and forced labor.
The federal complaint alleges that Raniere, known as The Vanguard, took part in forming a secretive group within NXIVM in which women said they were coerced into joining a slave-master club and later branded with Raniere’s initials.
The participants were told the secret club was a “women-only” organisation and they were not informed that Raniere was the highest member of the organisation, the complaint states. The women in the group, according to the federal complaint, were required to provide “collateral” in order to join the group.
“Collateral consisted of material or information that the prospective slave would not want revealed because it would be ruinous to the prospective slave herself and/or someone close to her,” states an FBI agent’s affidavit filed as part of the complaint.
The slaves understood that if they left the club, publicly spoke about it or failed in their obligations, their collateral could be released, according to the complaint.
“Some of the masters gave their slaves assignments that either directly or implicitly required them to have sex with Raniere, which they then did,” the complaint states. “Other assignments appeared designed to groom slaves sexually for Raniere.”
The complaint noted that Raniere was known to prefer women who are exceptionally thin, and that a number of slaves were “required to adhere to extremely low-calorie diets and to document every food they ate.”