The father of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand reportedly has ties to an alleged slave sex cult.
GOP senatorial candidate Chele Farley said on Monday that Gillibrand’s father, Doug Rutnik, was once a lobbyist for NXIVM and its founder, Keith Raniere.
Raniere was arrested by the FBI on Monday and charged with sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy.
‘For Kirsten Gillibrand, the self-proclaimed #MeToo Senator, to claim ignorance about a notorious sex-slave cult, in her own backyard, is simply hard to believe,’ Farley said.
The father of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (pictured, December 2017) reportedly has ties to an alleged slave sex cult. Doug Rutnik, was once a lobbyist for NXIVM and its founder, Keith Raniere
Raniere, 57, was arrested by the FBI on Monday and charged with sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy after he was found at a luxury villa in Puerto Vallarta on Sunday
According to the New York Post, Rutnik was hired by Raniere as a lobbyist in 2004 and was later sued by him. The case was eventually settled for $100,000.
On Tuesday, a Gillibrand spokesman reiterated a November statement to the Post claiming that she knew nothing about the case.
‘Senator Gillibrand had never heard of this group until she recently read about them in the newspaper,’ said spokesman Glen Caplin.
‘She is glad that federal and state prosecutors have taken action in this case.’
Raniere, 57, is the leader of NXIVM, a secretive group headquartered in Albany.
He is accused of branding female followers with his initials as part of an initiation ceremony.
Members are branded with a symbol that reportedly includes Raniere and alleged second-in-command Allison Mack’s initials
Raniere (left, with Mack) left the US last year after The New York Times reported that some women who joined a group in his organization had been branded with a symbol that included his initials
He was taken into custody by Mexican authorities after he was found at a luxury villa in Puerto Vallarta on Sunday and extradited to Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday.
The group, which has been described by former members as a ‘sex cult’, claims to be a self-help organization that operates centers in US, Mexico, Canada and South America.
It emerged last year that the Dalai Lama was paid $1million to speak to 3,000 NXIVM followers and place a khata – a traditional ceremonial Tibetan scarf – around Raniere’s neck.
The women told investigators they were subjected to ‘master-slave’ conditions that involved physical punishments for disobeying orders.
Raniere is due to face court on Tuesday, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York.
‘As alleged in the complaint, Keith Raniere created a secret society of women whom he had sex with and branded with his initials, coercing them with the threat of releasing their highly personal information and taking their assets,’ US attorney Richard P. Donoghue said.
Many DOS slaves were branded on their pelvic areas using a cauterizing pen with a symbol which, unbeknownst to them, incorporated Raniere’s initials, according to past members
The complaint says Raniere founded NXIVM about 20 years ago and held a series of purported self-help workshops.
Since NXIVM’s creation, Raniere has maintained polyamorous relationships with its members, according to the complaint.
Courses associated with the group costs thousands of dollars each and participants are encouraged to pay for additional classes and to recruit others in order to rise within the ranks of NXIVM.
According to the complaint, Raniere created a secret society within NXVIM called DOS in 2015, which loosely translated to ‘Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions’, or ‘The Vow’.
DOS operated with levels of women slaves headed by masters and most were recruited from within NXIVM’s ranks.
When new DOS slaves were recruited, they were required to provide collateral, which included highly damaging information about friends and family members, nude photographs and/or rights to the recruit’s assets.
The complaint says DOS slaves feared that their collateral could be released by the group if they left.
Smallville actress Allison Mack was considering a high-ranking member of the cult and was believed to have been second in charge to Raniere
Former Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg had previously met with prosecutors in New York to detail her daughter India’s experience in the group
Many DOS slaves were branded on their pelvic areas using a cauterizing pen with a symbol which, unbeknownst to them, incorporated Raniere’s initials, according to the court documents.
During the branding ceremonies, slaves were required to be fully naked and a master would order one slave to film the branding while the others restrained the slave being branded.
‘Smallville’ actress Allison Mack was considering a high-ranking member of the cult and was believed to have been second in charge to Raniere.
Former ‘Dynasty’ star Catherine Oxenberg had previously met with prosecutors in New York to detail her daughter’s experience in the group.
Oxenberg, through her lawyers at Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, said she hoped Raniere’s arrest would go as far as reuniting her with her daughter.
‘I want to help all the young women affected by this cult. They are the victims of human trafficking, which is slavery,’ she said.
‘For months, I have worked to expose Keith Raniere and Nxivm and today’s arrest vindicates my efforts.
‘I want my daughter to know I love her and that I want her back in my life.’
If convicted, Raniere is facing up to life in prison.
‘As alleged, Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves,’ FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F Sweeney said.
‘He allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning them, with the cooperation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme.
‘These serious crimes against humanity are not only shocking, but disconcerting to say the least, and we are putting an end to this torture today.’