We open with India meeting with a plastic surgeon, Dr. John Sherman, to talk about getting her brand removed. She tells the doctor how it was done and that the person who did it was a physician. “Wow,” says Dr. Sherman, shocked to hear that. The surgical procedure is a long one since it has to be done in stages. India is disappointed. Intro
When we come back, we are with Catherine who tells us about receiving the phone call “that changed everything.” This time she uses Bonnie’s name when telling us who the call was from and what it was about. Bonnie informed her that India was too far gone to leave Nxivm at her volition and she was in danger. Catherine was told about the master/slave thing, the sleep deprivation, the penances, the starving and the branding. “I think they are all having sex with Keith,” Bonnie told her. Choking up Catherine says that she was terrified for India and desperate to get her out.
In April of 2017, India was about 26 years old and had been in Nxivm for over 6 years and DOS for a year and a half. That is a long time to be in such an intensely fucked up situation, for sure. Allison had told India that in June, the 3rd line of slaves would be branded in a ceremony held in Albany. India’s slaves would be included. India says that while she viewed her brand as a positive thing she didn’t want to push it on anybody else. “But Alison was pushing me very hard.”
India flew home to L.A. for her birthday and her appearance at this time was cause for alarm. She was underweight and her hair was still falling out. Catherine made an appointment with a gyno, because India was still not getting her periods either. India agreed to go. While in the car, Catherine asked her if she was branded. India said yes and that it was a positive experience as far as she was concerned.
Once at the doctor the gynecologist started asking India all these questions about life in Albany. She also checked out India’s brand and that really pissed India off. “What the fuck,” she thought. When Catherine picked her up after the appointment, India was furious. She felt set up. India flew back to Albany and no longer wanted to talk with her mother. Dr. Lalich tells us that cult interventions are very difficult.
“Predatory Alienation: Renouncing Loved Ones”
Catherine tells us she never could have imagined a time when she would have no ability to have any impact on her daughter. Further, India’s two dads–her bio dad and her step-dad–did not agree with Catherine. They both thought she was overreacting and being alarmist about Nxivm. I am assuming Catherine had not told them every detail about what was going down? Because otherwise, what the fuck? India says this was because she had successfully convinced them she was fine. “They didn’t like Keith, but they supported me.” That left Catherine on her own to fight this battle, she tells us.
Catherine went to work. She called every person she could think of including the Albany FBI, New York State Police and even an ex-navy seal she knew to see if anything could be done. All told her that because India was over 18 she was a consenting adult. Even with the element of collateral and blackmail it made no difference. Catherine tells us that in the United States there are very few laws that address the issue of coercive control.
Catherine was afraid about potentially illegal things that India might be pushed to do, such as having her slaves be branded. The result being that India could be seen as a perpetrator rather than a victim. India tells us she had no idea she was engaging in anything illegal. The doc then shows us this rather creepy pic of Nicki Clyne and Allison Mack where Allison is grinning like a loon. It is kind of funny in a dark way.
India tells us that in 2017, Allison and Nicki got married. “They made me be the witness at their City Hall wedding ceremony,” says India. They also had India sign a document declaring that Nicki and Allison’s love for each other was genuine. She didn’t realize that she was committing a federal crime by doing so, since the two women were not in love. They got married so that Nicki, who is Canadian, could stay in America. The whole thing was Keith’s idea, of course.
Mark Vicente and Bonnie Piesse left Nxivm in 2017. Former member Debora tells us that she had told Mark about being approached about joining DOS. He also heard about the secret group from a couple of other members “…and he left Nxivm pretty quickly after that.” Former member “Jill” says after that, Sarah Edmonson and her husband Anthony “Nippy” Ames also resigned “very publicly.” Jill calls Nippy “a bit of a hothead” who had confronted Lauren Salzman–Nancy Salzman’s daughter and a 1st line master in DOS– about the secret group quite loudly and in front of a group of people.
We then linger quite a bit on a pic of Nippy, where he looks like he’s possessed by the devil or something, as we hear him confront Lauren. “This is criminal shit!” he yells at her. You know, Nippy is a photogenic guy so finding a more neutral photo would have been easy. My feeling is if you want to say something about Nippy being a bad guy, do so in a direct fashion. A few times in this doc series, subtle passive aggressive hints have been dropped dissing some former members. Personally, I think these are cheap shots. Am I overreacting? Probably, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a point.
Jill tells us that it was unusual for high ranking members to quit Nxivm, especially so publicly, so she was wondering what was going on. She had a sneaking suspicion it was because of DOS. She felt like everything was starting to blow up.
Catherine tells us that she started working with ex-members of Nxivm and DOS as well as Frank Parlato of the website the Frank Report. Rick Ross tells us that Frank was originally Keith’s PR guy, but the organization turned on him and pulled the usual shit. They accused him of stealing money and brought criminal charges against him. The Frank Report website was started for the purpose of fighting back against Nxivm.
Catherine shared with Frank about the brandings which he then wrote about on his site. This lead to a lot of chatter among Nxivm members who hadn’t known about the secret group. All of India’s slaves left as a result of Frank’s post so none got branded or had to complete “the seduction assignment.” India was relieved. Catherine tells us that a lot of DOS slaves started to defect, but not India. Catherine realized that was because India had been indoctrinated for longer than the ones who had bailed.
In 2017, India attended Vanguard week and noticed it was a much smaller group than previous ones. Everyone was told not to believe the stuff being posted online. They were told all the people who left Nxivm were weak. We cut to footage of Keith sitting on a stage telling the audience that it is hard to be around him for long periods of time because on one side he is trouble and the other side he is chaos.
We cut to Dr. Lalich who tells us that while scandal makes some want to leave the cult, for others it can draw them in deeper. Rick Ross tells us that Catherine was desperate to penetrate the bubble India was in. That was why she decided to go public. It was an agonizing decision she tells us, but she hoped that law enforcement would step in as a result.
New York Times journalist Barry Meier tells us that if the cult was just about ripping people off financially it would have been of less interest to people. But the brandings took it to a whole other level. After Catherine had spoken with Barry for the story, it took two months for it to come out, because it kept getting bumped. But once the #MeToo movement started, Nxivm became relevant.
Barry says the article was read by millions. We hear cuts of various news programs talking about the story, including mentioning that India is the daughter of actress Catherine Oxenberg of Dynasty fame. “It was like a bomb went off,” India says, that resulted in a “mass exodus” of members. Reporters flocked to Albany requesting interviews. Nicki and Allison instructed all remaining DOS members to destroy any evidence of the existence of the group. Everyone was frantic. India was really mad and embarrassed by what had been written as she had not chosen to be in the article like the others in it had. Catherine says that she knew that India would be furious.
Former member Ashley said that when the media labeled Nxivm as a “sex cult” everybody who had been associated with it was labeled the same. Ashley was not someone who had been involved with anything having to do with sex while in Nxivm. She felt grief, anger, rage, embarrassment and shame. Catherine tells us that India was not remotely fazed by what was in the article. Catherine decided to do a second wave of media.
We then see a clip of Catherine on the wretched Megyn Kelly show as well as People TV, Daily Mail TV, 20/20… Quite a few actually. Catherine told the media that India had spent her entire inheritance on the cult. Within the Nxivm community, India was being told her mother was crazy. She was also told that her mother was “just an actress looking for attention.”
Catherine was getting legal threats from high ranking members in Nxivm Mexico for speaking out. She was told her life would be in danger if she ever set foot in that country. She tells us that her celebrity was her protection. She knew that if anything happened to her how suspicious that would look.
Rick Ross says that if Keith was capable of admitting to making mistakes he would have seen that keeping India in the fold was very bad for him. He would have sent her home. But instead Keith didn’t see Catherine as a threat. “Just another woman and I will destroy you,” Rick imagines Keith thought. Sounds about right.
“Demand For Loyalty: The Poster Child”
Oh, damn. Keith told India that he was going fix the bad press by making India the “poster child” for Nxivm. Wrong move, asshole. So wrong. I gotta laugh at his arrogance, though. Anyway, Keith, Nancy, Allison et al. told India to write a testimonial declaring she was safe, sound and loved DOS. She then posted it on her Facebook. Oh, that will take care of it. That won’t make India look like a brainwashed loon or anything.
Clare Bronfman paid for India to be evaluated by a psychiatrist, too. The conclusion was India was fine. Shocker. India gave authorization for the results to be released publicly. Oh, that won’t look desperate or anything. Everyone will totally buy that.
Catherine tells us that Keith then released a statement to his followers, “Letter from the Co-Founder,” denying any involvement in DOS saying that it had no association with Nxivm. Catherine talked with lawyers next who told her that there was no doubt Keith and company were criminals who were breaking the law. What she needed to do was to figure out which laws they were breaking. She was advised to put together a binder of evidence and testimonials from ex-members.
Lead prosecutor Moira Penza says that she read the NYT article and knew that there was criminal conduct going on in Nxivm. She started investigating and got a team of FBI agents together to start interviewing witnesses and victims. They kept it under wraps though. They didn’t want to alert Nxivm that they were under investigation. Keith was a flight risk.
Catherine reads off a list of offenses Keith could potentially be charged with from the notes she compiled and it’s really long. After Catherine had turned in her binders of gathered information to the Albany FBI, she was contacted by Moira Penza’s office to inform her about the formal investigation. It is kind of amazing that Catherine Oxenberg basically had to act as lead detective herself before authorities informed her that Nxivm was being formally investigated.
In compiling evidence, Catherine did receive big assists from former members Bonnie Piesse, Mark Vicente, Sarah Edmonson, Nippy Ames, former employee of Nxivm, Frank Parlato and ex-girlfriend of Keith’s, Toni Natalie, among others. None of these people are mentioned much in this doc series or given any recognition for the help they gave. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps to keep the series condensed and as separated as possible from “The Vow.”
Catherine tells us that in November of 2017, Keith fled to Mexico. He had gotten the news that he was under investigation. The explanation given to his followers as to why he had to flee, India tells us, was because his life was being threatened. Prosecutor Moira Penza says that he was considered “on the run” by law enforcement.
Feeling increasingly alone in Albany, in February of 2018, India moved to Brooklyn, New York with Allison to live in Allison’s townhouse. And though India had left Albany and Keith was gone, she was still in DOS. Everything that was involved in being a DOS slave: starving, check-ins, readiness drills and so on, was still going on.
India was running out of money so she needed to get a job. She felt like her life was falling apart so she wanted something “stable and normal.” She was hired to be a manager of a cafe. India was being hounded by the media at this time since her mother had gone public about India’s involvement in Nxivm and DOS. Reporters would come into the cafe constantly in an attempt to interview her. Despite the hassles, India was able to keep her job. (Perhaps the cafe owners liked the free publicity however controversial.) That said, some people would come in and say that “if that cult girl works here, we won’t eat your food.” That is just… bizarre. If someone has such an issue with “that cult girl” why come in to the cafe at all?
India tried to rent an apartment for herself too, but she was rejected due to the scandal. She tells us she felt exposed and embarrassed. India’s fabulous grandmother, Elizabeth, went to Brooklyn to visit her and India would not talk to her. Speaking in Spanish, Elizabeth tells a journalist that she can’t get through to her granddaughter.
By mid-February of 2018, an arrest warrant was issued for Keith. He ordered Nicki, Allison and some other 1st Line Masters to come to Mexico to be with him. The reason being that there were all to participate in a re-commitment ceremony that “consisted of a group blow-job for [Keith],” Catherine tells us. She is incredulous that even as the cult was crashing down all around him, he still had the control over these women to order them around like that.
Catherine tells us that Nicki Clyne blew Keith’s cover by posting a pic of herself on Instagram revealing her location. Whoops! The Mexican Federal Police were tasked with arresting and deporting Keith. With guns drawn, they swarmed Keith’s villa and kicked down the door to the bedroom where he was hiding in a closet. He was arraigned in Brooklyn and Clare Bronfman put 10 million in a trust to cover his bail. Considered a flight risk, Keith was denied bail altogether.
Moira Penza tells us that they had decided to prosecute Keith as they would the mob by treating Nxivm like a criminal organization. They focused on not just Keith, but his “inner circle.” Catherine was sent a copy of the criminal complaint and she says that it was a shock. Her daughter was named as co-conspirator number two. Though India was not indicted yet, the potential charges against her were conspiracy to sex traffic and wire fraud (for collecting collateral). Wow.
Wow again. Catherine texted India about the potential charges, informing her that if she did not get a lawyer immediately and cooperate with authorities, she could be facing jail time. India did not respond to the text. Four days later, the FBI came to interview her. India cooperated, she says, because she didn’t think anything bad had happened in Albany so she had nothing to hide. She did lie and say that nothing sexual had happened between her and Keith, because in her mind that was true. Allison was arrested a few days later while India had not been home. Allison was charged with sex trafficking.
Moira Penza says that the focus was on getting “the most culpable people” who had helped facilitate Keith’s criminal actions. We see clips of Allison Mack leaving court looking stressed and harried. We see Clare Bronfman leaving court after posting 100 million dollars for her bail. She is dressed so casually that, to me, it shows contempt for the court. I guess that because she is a multi-billionaire she could not imagine any court being able to touch her. We hear Clare in voice-over paying tribute to Keith on Vanguard Night (date unknown). Getting choked up, she says that Keith has touched her life in a way that she cannot truly express in words. I’ll say. Damn. She was charged with racketeering.
We then see footage of Nancy Salzman on Tribute Night paying homage to Keith. We then cut to Nancy Salzman leaving court. Then we hear Lauren Salzman paying homage to Keith and then see footage of her leaving court. Some of the charges against them are racketeering, conspiracy and forced labor. Catherine says something about how hard it must have been for India that all these people she considered authority figures were getting arrested.
India didn’t reach out to Catherine until Allison got arrested. Catherine was then able to hook India up with a lawyer, Anne Champion. We then cut to India talking with Anne to recall their first lawyer-client meeting. India tells Anne she remembers going over the indictment “page by page” with her. “I couldn’t even say I was a victim,” India says to her. She gets choked up saying that her mother’s intent in going to the press was to show people she (India) was a victim and how that would save her from being prosecuted like Allison. We cut to India in the blue bedroom and she tells us that she has not seen that “level of commitment” from other parents who had their children stuck in the cult too. Maybe that’s because those parents aren’t celebrities and didn’t have the power of the press. Perhaps they simply didn’t know what to do.
The Flash Drives
In April of 2018, Allison had been arrested and India was packing up her stuff to leave Allison’s house in Brooklyn. Allison’s mother asked India to pack up Allison’s stuff too so that it could be put in storage. India decided to keep all of Allison’s personal stuff with her so it would be safe: jewelry, journals… and these flash drives she found. Or as some internet commentators called them, “India’s get-out-of-jail-free cards.” Haha. Because these flash drives would turn out to contain some revealing evidence. It’s obviously important for us to know, based on India’s tone of voice when she tells us about finding them, that at the time she didn’t know what was on them and had no ulterior motive in keeping them. I believe you, I believe you. Let’s move on.
India moved back to California and into her mom’s house in Malibu. It wasn’t until six months later that she decided to play the flash drives to see what was on them. We hear Keith’s voice ordering one of his slaves to grab a piece of paper and a pen. “Hurry!” he barks, “Back! Faster!” He then starts to talk about “the monogram” and how it is directly related to his initials. Is everyone going to have the same brand? a woman asks. Yes, he replies. I was thinking of designing it like this, we hear Keith say. Nicki Clyne says it’s cool looking. “This is an order. This isn’t a democracy,” he says. For India hearing the flash drives was a wake up call and broke through any denial she still had about DOS being anything more than “a sick and perverted idea” of Keith’s.
There was more on the flash drives too, like collateral that women had given, photographs and spread sheets. Spread sheets about what India doesn’t say. (I’m just curious.) “I realized I had something that could be useful to the prosecution,” she says. I’ll say. Damn. India handed them over and that is when the prosecutors started working with her to prepare her to testify against Keith and the other defendants. So India was no longer co-conspirator number 2, but a witness. That must have been a huge relief.
We see India working out with a trainer as we hear her say in voice over that she was “very active” in working with the prosecutors so she was traveling to New York a lot. Every detail of what was on the flash drives had to be gone over. It was hours and hours of recordings. Keith really loved the sound of his own voice so, I can imagine.
India tells us that hearing Keith’s voice saying out loud things he had ordered and done played a big part in breaking through any repressed memories she had. She is emphatic in telling us that if it wasn’t for the collateral she had given she never would have done anything sexual with Keith.
You know, I don’t really care one way or the other, but she did also say that she went along with things, because she simply didn’t question that she should do so. I mean that is part of being brainwashed; your ability to make critical choices has been taken from you in many ways. To say it was only about the collateral implies that she had a stronger sense of her own free agency and was merely protecting herself. It doesn’t ultimately matter though. There is no doubt that India did not want anything to do with Keith sexually. She genuinely felt she had to be with him, regardless of the reason why.
We then cut to India’s lawyer who says that the prosecutors understood that whatever India did in DOS was not out of any desire to deliberately abuse others, have power over them or for any financial gain. Keith had also used her to lure people into DOS and feel safe about getting involved.
“Facing Justice: US vs. Vanguard”
In May 2019, Keith’s trial began. He plead not guilty. Prosecutor Moira Penza says, in so many words, that the challenge was getting the jury to understand coercion and how it works in the eyes of the law. Catherine tells us that Keith had the best lawyers money could buy thanks to Clare Bronfman paying for his legal defense. Marc Agnifilo, one of Keith’s lawyers, gave an interview to the filmmakers and he tells us that the issue is a matter of intent. Was Keith trying to be helpful or hurtful to the women in DOS and the people of Nxivm?
We hear a news reporter talk about court testimony and what Mark Vicente had said about Keith on the stand. Basically Mark genuinely believed that Keith was the most brilliant man on earth and that he was even able to control the weather with his energy. Wow, Mark. We see footage of him coming out of court and walking up to the gathered press outside the building. Bonnie, who is with him, walks away from the media horde obviously not wanting to talk to them. Some critics of Mark on the internet say that in this clip he looks arrogant and egotistically drawn to the cameras. But it’s just how you choose to read his body language. To me, Mark looks relieved to the point of being happy and yes, confident with the press. Given that he is a filmmaker, why would cameras intimidate him?
Former member Debora tells us that her name was mentioned 22 times by Mark on the stand. What she had told him about DOS had been one of the key factors in getting him to wake up and see the truth about Keith. Debora says she is proud of the small role she played in helping bring down Nxivm. “Once you see the truth, you can’t unsee it,” she tells us. Fuck yeah and thank God for that.
India tells us she was not allowed to attend the trial, because she was a cooperating witness for the prosecution. We hear a reporter say that Lauren Salzman said on the stand that Keith expected his slaves to follow his commands as if they were “hungry dogs.” India tells us that as more details started to come out from the trial she was shocked. She doesn’t know how she managed to be blind to all that was going on.
India learned that Keith wouldn’t pay Allison income he owed her until she “delivered” her (India) to him for sex. “That was the exchange of me for money,” India says angrily. “I had been nothing but a commodity to them. I had been trafficked,” India says. “We were just things that Allison was providing for Keith.”
We cut back to the Marc Agnifilo interview as he tells us that he doesn’t think that Keith wanted to take advantage of anyone sexually. People joined Nxivm because they liked it. He smirks as he says, “it was like the summer camp for orgasms.” Holy shit. If this guy is one of the best lawyers money can buy then I don’t know what to say, because that made me feel slightly nauseous. Imagine if he said that to the jury in court. Did he say that to the jury in court?
We see him talking to the press and saying that everything that happened was because of the choices of adult men and women living an alternate lifestyle. Catherine calls the cross examination of witnesses by Keith’s attorneys as ruthless, below the belt and sadistic. She was “terrified” that India would have to go through that.
We then hear a recording from one of the flash drives. Keith is telling Allison how exactly he wants the branding ceremony to be conducted. The women should be naked and held down to a table. “Pain is how we know how much we love,” he says. Keith wants that to be said at the ceremony. “Please brand me it would be an honor or something like that,” he wants the woman to say too. “They should probably say that before they are being held down so it doesn’t seem like they are being coerced.” We hear Allison say “okay” and “mhm,” but other than that she is silent.
Moira Penza says that the recordings from the flash drives were an enormous help to the prosecution. I’ll say. Damn. It revealed that everything that occurred in DOS was at Keith’s command. It obliterated his defense. Plus, hearing his voice saying everything out loud was powerful for the jury.
India tells us that a video of Sarah Edmonson’s branding ceremony was leaked to the Mexican press (and shown on at least one news program.) India thinks that Keith most likely ordered the leak while he was in prison as a threat to Sarah and everyone else who was yet to testify. India tells us that she has had a lot of anxiety and panic around the issue of where her collateral is. During the trial too, she worried about what he would do with it if he was found not guilty. That must have been really stressful.
After Lauren Salzman had testified, “which was huge,” India says, she was released from having to testify herself. India didn’t feel relieved though. She felt like her job was not complete. She decided to be in court at the conclusion of the trial. Looking at Keith sitting in court, she marveled at how little and insignificant he looked. She wondered how she ever could have thought he was so great. To be fair, India didn’t think much of Keith when she first met him. I mean, it took a lot of indoctrination before she saw him that way. Keith is just that unimpressive.
We see Jaclyn Cangro reporting that Keith’s fate is now in the hands of the jury. Then we see India having an appointment with a “Neuromuscular Trauma Therapist.” It looks like an intense massage but done in a way that is mindful of the client’s need for strong boundaries. Then at other points it looks like it’s meant to be emotionally nurturing. It’s pretty cool. As we watch the session, India tells us that she struggled to come to terms with herself and the choices she made while she was in DOS. At times she has felt like a monster.
We cut to India meeting with her therapist Dr. Bernstein and she tells her that she knows her intent was never to hurt people, but that doesn’t take away the guilt. The issue of the collateral that was given to her is a big one, because India would then send it on to Allison. India has no idea where it ended up. I think one saving grace is if that collateral gets released, some people who are still loyalists could be in deep shit. Prosecutors would not take that lightly, I would think, and there would be investigations. I would hope so anyway.
On June 19, 2019, the jury began their deliberations. We see a reporter run out of court and shout, “Guilty on all!” We see many people celebrating. Dr. Lalich is there and pumps her fist happily. Former members Debora, Naomi and Tabby are there together and hug each other. Debora gets emotional. Catherine calls India to tell her the good news. We see Keith’s ex-girlfriend Toni Natalie (who participated in The Vow and has quite a story) let out a visible sigh of relief. We see one of the prosecutors tell the press that Keith’s crime spree has ended and his victims have finally gotten justice. Moira Penza tells us that she hopes Keith will spend the rest of his natural life in jail. Catherine gets choked up talking to the press about what Keith’s guilty verdict means to her and his victims. India tells us that it only took the jury four hours to decide on the guilty on all counts verdict.
“Breaking Free: Still Learning”
Dr. Lalich says India will have to work harder to mentally free herself from the indoctrination she experienced because she was only 19 when she joined the cult. Then we cut to Catherine and India talking about their relationship when India was still in. They are obviously close and it is apparent Nxivm was not able to destroy their bond. It’s nice to see. India is lucky.
You know who isn’t lucky? Lauren Salzman, who was the same age as India when she was brought into Nxivm, by her mother Nancy. She began sleeping with Keith shortly thereafter. She has been manipulated, indoctrinated and coerced for 20 years. I genuinely feel bad for her. Perhaps we will get to know her better in season 2 of “The Vow.” She was barely mentioned in this series.
We cut to India talking with “Jill.” It’s almost comical, because Jill’s head is pixelated out and it just looks bizarre to see one pixelated head talking to India in close up. Don’t mind me, I’m getting a little punchy. Anyway, they are talking about their brands. India tells her that she opted to get her brand tattooed to disguise it. Jill is really impressed by how well the scar is concealed.
Cut to India with her boyfriend, Patrick, who is a chef. He’s cute. She tells us he did a lot to help her heal from her lingering starvation behaviors around food. India is kind of giddy talking about him, which is nice to see.
India says that she wanted to figure out how to use her experience in Nxivm in a way that was positive. We then cut to Arizona State University Law School. India is with former members Tabby, Debora, Naomi and Kelly who have all come to give a lecture. India tells us that these law students are the ones that will be writing the future legislation that will protect people from future Keith Ranieres.
Kelly tells us that people who are still in Nxivm have told her to basically shut the hell up and stop talking about it. That only made her want to share her story even more. We then cut to clips of each woman talking to the class about their feelings and experiences in relation to the cult.
Debora shows how easy it is to go along with what you are instructed to do by telling the class to clap and bow. The students look a little weirded out at first, but they all eventually comply. She explains that is where it can all start. Overriding your instincts to not go along with something, simply because you were told to do so. Tabby shares how much money she wasted on Nxivm and that she got nothing out of it, but more bills to pay for the therapy she needed after she left. Kelly shares of how she was recruited because she had great business connections and was smart. Naomi says that the scars being in a cult leave aren’t necessarily physical ones like a brand on the body, but a brand on the brain. India shares her experience in DOS and urges the class to not judge them for joining a cult, but to seek to understand how and why it happened.
The students express gratitude for the women sharing their stories with them. India is hopeful that what she and the other women are doing now is just the beginning and will make a difference. Naomi is still pushing to educate the public as she sees it as a human rights issues and that laws in the US need to be more strident when it comes to coercion. Former member Ashley just earned her law degree specializing in the subject of coercion. Debora does stand up where she talks about being in a cult.
Catherine tells us that in the US, self-help is an 11 billion dollar business and it’s completely unregulated. Rick Ross shares that he has had to participate in interventions with medical doctors and even a psychologist that got ensnared into cults. The point being that anyone, no matter their intelligence level or education, has the potential to be susceptible to a cult. Catherine says that India’s intelligence, altruism and desire to participate in something noble is what made her vulnerable. Yeah, okay, Catherine. Let’s not get carried away.
Dr. Hassan says that we are no longer in the information age, but because of the internet, we are now in the age of influence (and influencers). He is right and how scary is that? I will say again, look at the insane Qanon movement that is spreading like a virus. It’s so fucked up and so many different types of people actually believe in it. Dr. Hassan says there is a difference between ethical and unethical influence and unethical influence is about power and control. We conclude with India basically saying that everyone has the potential to be vulnerable to a cult and she will continue to work to educate the public about that fact.
Keith was sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Nxivm loyalists still practice “readiness” drills and some dance beneath the window of Keith’s prison cell.
Dr. Brandon Porter who conducted those mind fucking “fright experiments” was charged with 25 counts of medical misconduct and lost his medical license.
Dr. Danielle Roberts’ (the doctor who branded the women) medical license is under review.
Clare Bronfman received an 81 month sentence.
Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman and Lauren Salzman are all awaiting their sentences which has been delayed due to the COVID pandemic.