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NXIVM sex cult founder Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison

NEW YORK The founder of the cult-like group NXIVM, where women were kept on starvation diets, branded with his initials and ordered to have sex with him, was sentenced on Tuesday to 120 years in prison following his conviction for sex trafficking and other crimes.

The sentence was imposed by US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, after a hearing where 15 former NXIVM members spoke out against leader Keith Raniere, 60.

Judge Garaufis said "no words can adequately express the lasting pain" that Raniere caused his victims.

He also fined Raniere US$1.75 million (S$2.4 million), the maximum allowed by the law.

"It is our sincere hope that today's sentence does deliver some measure of justice to those victims," said Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Seth DuCharme, whose office prosecuted the case.

"Keith Raniere will not be able to victimise people anymore."

The victims, most of whom were women, described what they called Raniere's devastating impact on their lives.

The first speaker, identified in court only as Camila, recounted a 12-year sexual relationship with Raniere starting when she was 15 and he was 45.

"He screwed with my mind for so long that trying to find the strength and clarity to tell my story has been a slow and painful journey," she said. - REUTERS

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