A former member of an alleged American sex cult has testified in court that she felt she was being 'groomed' to join part of a 'harem' organised by the group's leader.
The witness, who was only identified by the initial J during her testimony during the sex trafficking and conspiracy trial of NXIVM leader 58-year-old Keith Raniere, said she was drawn to the alleged cult in 2016, according to the
New York Daily News
WARNING: Graphic images
She said she believed the group was a personal development company.
'My understanding now is I was being groomed to be a part of his harem,' the former Los Angeles actress and model told the courtroom.
Raniere faces federal charges of racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child and human trafficking, among others.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
The woman's testimony comes days after another former member of the alleged cult, known only as Daniela, told of how she was
kept in a single room with blacked-out windows
for two years.
She claimed to only have had one set of clothes, which she wore for weeks at a time without washing and she barely had any contact with the outside world.
Daniela also testified that Raniere and other NXIVM members convinced her own family that she had done something horrible enough to warrant being held in a room in isolation, and that they enlisted her family's help to keep her there. She went years without seeing her family.
The NXIVM case has attracted global attention
after Hollywood actresses Allison Mack and self-empowerment figure Lauren Salzman were among those embroiled in the alleged sex cult.
Prosecutors say the 58-year-old Raniere was a con man who peddled expensive self-fulfillment courses as a cover for mentally and sexually abusing female followers through shame and humiliation, including some in a secret society of brainwashed 'sex slaves' he had branded with his initials.
The defendant's lawyers insist that he had no criminal intent and that his interactions with the women were consensual.
Both Mack and Salzman have pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges.
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