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NXIVM Leader Keith Raniere Transferred To Arizona Prison Known For Housing Sex Offenders

Despite his wish to remain in Brooklyn lockup, alleged cult leader Keith Raniere has been transferred to USP Tuscon, which once housed Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Brian David Mitchell.

By Gina Tron
Keith Raniere, Founder of NXIVM, Found Guilty of All Charges

Disgraced NXIVM leader Keith Raniere has been transferred to a maximum security prison in Arizona known for housing sex offenders.

The 60-year-old self-styled philosophical guru is now serving his 120-year sentence at a federal penitentiary in the Arizona desert known as U.S. Penitentiary Tucson, or USP Tucson, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Raniere was sentenced in October for a slew of criminal charges, including sex-trafficking, child pornography, racketeering, forced labor, identity theft, and obstruction of justice. 

NXIVM ostensibly offered self-improvement workshops, but its members developed an almost cultish devotion to Raniere, who cultivated a reputation as one of the smartest people in the world and who insisted on being called "Vanguard" by his followers. Under Raniere's guidance, a clandestine sect of women followers evolved within NXIVM, known as DOS, that was based on master-slave relationships, blackmail, coercion and sex. Members were ritualistically branded with Raniere's initials as a symbol of loyalty and sexual servitude.

Now, Raniere is located a prison known for is sex offender program. In fact, it’s one of only nine in the federal system that offer treatment for sex offenders, the Albany Times-Union reports.

Raniere apparently didn’t want to go to USP. His lawyer Jennifer Bonjean asked for him to remain in federal lockup in Brooklyn earlier this month, the Times-Union reports.

USP Tucson once housed sexual abusers Brian David Mitchell, who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart, as well as former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar. It also once housed the now-dead crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2014.

While many tried to blow the whistle on NXIVM and Raniere for over a decade, it took a 2017 New York Times exposé quoting former top-tier members to result in his arrest and the arrests of several high ranking members.

Former “Smallville” actor — and high-ranking “slave master,” according to prosecutorsAllison Mack pleaded guilty in 2019 to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. Nancy Salzman, a co-founder of the group, pleaded guilty in 2019 to a racketeering charge for stealing identities of the group's critics and hacking into their email accounts from 2003 to 2008. She also admitted to attempting to alter footage and records due to a lawsuit against the organization. Her daughter Lauren has also pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and admitted to keeping a "slave" locked in a room for two years, whom she would threaten with deportation.