Eerie Similarities In the Cases Against R. Kelly and NXIVM ‘Sex Cult’ Boss Keith Raniere

Dishevelled garments. Collateral to make sure silence. Pressured abortions. Obligatory journeys to look at basketball video games in native gyms. Strict guidelines—and punishment for disobedience.

Over the past two weeks, jurors within the R. Kelly sex-crimes trial in Brooklyn federal court have heard a slew of allegations about a terrifying regime imposed by the disgraced singer on his staff and, most of all, younger women and men he focused for intercourse.

Among the many alleged guidelines: The ladies and women in Kelly’s orbit weren’t allowed to do something with out the singer’s permission, together with urinate. They had been additionally pressured to put on saggy clothes to discourage male consideration, and the singer made them present collateral—or false letters or movies detailing abuse and felony exercise—to show their loyalty, prosecutors say.

“I wasn’t supposed to inform anybody I used to be spending time with him,” Jerhonda Tempo, who advised jurors she had a six-month relationship with Kelly when she was 16, stated on the stand. “I needed to name him daddy. I needed to put on saggy garments. I couldn’t go away the place I used to be with out permission. I wouldn’t eat with out his permission. I wouldn’t even go to the lavatory with out his permission.”

If Kelly’s guidelines weren’t adhered to, witnesses stated, there could be punishment, starting from being left in a room for days, to being overwhelmed by the singer, to having to urinate in a cup.

“His guidelines, these punishments, they saved his victims compliant,” Assistant United States Lawyer Maria Cruz Melendez stated throughout her opening arguments. “He used each trick.”

Whereas Kelly’s alleged techniques to make sure loyalty and management could seem uniquely torturous, authorized consultants canvassed by The Each day Beast stated the rulebook described by prosecutors mirrored these of previous, infamous cult leaders.

Most of all, they pointed to self-help group NXIVM and its “intercourse cult” founder, Keith Raniere.

“Prosecutors are sticking to the identical blueprint if it’s labored up to now. That’s why we’re seeing racketeering expenses in a sex-abuse case for the second time,” former federal prosecutor Neama Rahman advised The Each day Beast.

As Rahman famous, “one of many first occasions” such a case was introduced in Brooklyn federal court docket was towards Raniere.

After all, Kelly has not been convicted and has pleaded not responsible to all expenses; his protection group didn’t reply to a request for remark for this story. Likewise, attorneys for Raniere—who has been confined to a federal penitentiary in Arizona—didn’t reply to The Each day Beast’s request for remark.

However each males have been accused of utilizing collateral to make sure silence and complicity. Each allegedly imposed a strict guidelines system primarily based on their sexual preferences. Each allegedly leaned on the creation of a hyper-loyal internal circle who helped them commit crimes.

Maybe most bizarrely, each are accused of wanting their staff and “followers” to look at them play sports activities.

“Each thought they had been above the legislation. Like so many different cult leaders, they’re malignant narcissists—that means they’ve psychopathic tendencies that always result in felony conduct,” Steven Hassan, a licensed therapist and cult knowledgeable who began the Freedom of Thoughts Useful resource Heart to assist cult escapees, advised The Each day Beast.

In Kelly’s ongoing trial, prosecutors allege that the Grammy-winning singer was on the helm of a felony enterprise—made up of his drivers, bodyguards, and assistants—that took extraordinary steps to make sure that each certainly one of his wishes was happy.

The argument is key to the federal racketeering case towards the singer, a statute generally referred to by the acronym RICO—and infrequently reserved for mafia bosses. The identical racketeering cost was employed within the prosecution of Raniere, the place Brooklyn prosecutors acknowledged the NXIVM chief was on the helm of a felony enterprise made up of these on the high of the group.

All through Raniere’s 2019 trial in Brooklyn federal court docket, jurors heard how the 61-year-old used NXIVM to have intercourse with underaged women, pressure ladies he impregnated to have abortions, and secretly orchestrate a ladies’s empowerment group dedicated to branding and intercourse.

In that group, ladies had been pressured to be “slaves” who blindly obeyed their “grasp’s” requests to limit their diets, have intercourse with Raniere, or keep inside rooms for years as punishment.

“Coercive management Raniere and NXIVM exerted is akin to R. Kelly’s, which is itself akin to coercive management in an abusive relationship between two folks.”

— Ivy Nevares

Authorized consultants consulted by The Each day Beast famous that whereas Raniere’s enterprise was way more outlined in construction—and arranged as a basic pyramid scheme—Kelly’s alleged counterpart was “far looser.”

It might even have been simpler to arrange.

“R. Kelly had the benefit of a fan base he might simply recruit from. Most of his intercourse abuse victims wished to get into the music scene,” former prosecutor Rahman advised The Each day Beast. “The most important distinction is that Raniere needed to construct his multi-level advertising firm and private improvement firm from the bottom up, whereas R. Kelly had a built-in platform to recruit victims.”

Moira Penza, the previous Brooklyn federal prosecutor who received a conviction towards Raniere, advised The Each day Beast that when attempting to make use of the RICO expenses for these kind of alleged perpetrators, it’s important to show people’ sample of conduct was aided by underlings.

“One of many methods you do that’s to point out that the felony acts had related means and strategies of fee,” she stated. “By displaying that the identical guidelines, rituals, and debasement had been used to victimize completely different women and younger ladies over time, and that completely different members of R. Kelly’s internal circle helped make use of these strategies, the prosecutors can show that this was a felony group—not only a unhealthy man appearing on his personal—engaged in a sample of felony exercise.”

To place it merely, prosecutors want to point out that not solely did Kelly—like Raniere—want these weird guidelines to train energy, however that his needs had been carried out.

“In most felony organizations, you’ll have one head, the alpha, and there are sometimes these rituals set as much as mirror to others his significance,” the previous federal prosecutor added.

Former NXIVM members advised The Each day Beast they noticed loads of similarities between Raniere and Kelly.

“Coercive management Raniere and NXIVM exerted is akin to R. Kelly’s, which is itself akin to coercive management in an abusive relationship between two folks.” Ivy Nevares, a former NXIVM member, advised The Each day Beast.

She added that she thought there have been loads of variations, after all: “I are inclined to suppose NXIVM was far more advanced not simply in its guidelines and rituals, but additionally in its advanced system of coercive manipulation.”

One other former NXIVM member, who didn’t want to be recognized for worry {of professional} retribution, expressed shock when The Each day Beast relayed the similarities between the techniques Raniere used and people allegedly employed by the “I Imagine I Can Fly” artist.

“R.Kelly is rather like Keith… besides no less than R. Kelly has some expertise,” she stated.

The previous NXIVM member additionally famous that some of the weird similarities is each males’s alleged need to have their constituents watch them play sports activities—a attribute Hassan stated was “textbook” for malignant narcissists who need to be perceived as highly effective.

In keeping with testimony in court docket, Kelly would make his staff and girlfriends watch him play basketball for hours. Throughout video games, a number of witnesses have testified, the ladies could be pressured to put on saggy clothes, sit within the nook, and solely take a look at Kelly. If the ball would come in the direction of them, the ladies had been pressured to show towards the wall to keep away from unintended eye contact with the opposite male gamers.

“They’d cheer for him. They’d solely cheer for Rob,” Suzette Mayweather, a former assistant of the singer, advised jurors.

One accuser—when requested by the protection how Kelly’s girlfriends had been anticipated to look at solely Kelly throughout a fast-moving recreation of roughly 10 males—revealed she would “go by the sneakers.”

Raniere, alternatively, would make his NXIVM members attend nightly volley video games on the gymnasium contained in the group’s Albany compound.

Rahman agreed that the requirement to look at sports activities was “one other type of management by the chief of a intercourse cult.”

One other similarity is that each Raniere and Kelly allegedly felt the necessity to have their constituents provide collateral that could possibly be used as blackmail in the event that they had been to defy the strongmen.

In NXIVM, collateral often included sexually express photographs, false letters alleging abuse by members of the family, or entry to members’ monetary belongings.

In Kelly’s trial, an accuser who was recognized as “Jane” testified that she needed to write faulty letters no less than twice per week.

In a single brutal letter learn aloud in court docket, she wrote that her mother and father wished to extort Kelly and that she manipulated the singer to have intercourse along with her when she was 17. Different letters acknowledged that Jane had stolen cash or jewellery, was molested by members of the family, or that she “would spank myself actually exhausting till I had bruises.”

“The defendant would produce other girlfriends make me write these letters. He stated they might go to his attorneys and so they’d by no means see the sunshine of day,” Jane stated.

The now 23-year-old advised jurors a number of ugly particulars about her relationship with Kelly—together with that singer allegedly made her get an abortion in 2017 as a result of he wished to “preserve my physique tight and he wished to have a household after he removed the remainder of the women.”

In Raniere’s trial, a former member testified that Raniere forced her and her two sisters to get abortions after he impregnated them. The girl, recognized as Daniela, advised jurors she was pressured to have an abortion in 2006—months after her older sister. She additionally testified that her youngest sister Camila additionally had an abortion years later, two days after her 18th birthday.

In what is taken into account some of the horrific punishments Raniere pressured on an NXIVM member, Daniela also testified that she was left in solitary confinement for 2 years in her bed room after he accused her of stealing. In actuality, Daniela stated, the act was punishment for expressing curiosity in one other man and gaining weight.

Whereas Daniela stated that the door was unlocked, she advised jurors in 2019 that the concept of leaving the room—and dealing with attainable punishment for betraying Raniere and his internal circle once more—was intimidating sufficient to remain inside.

Likewise, “Jane” stated Kelly saved her inside an unlocked room in his Chicago studio for over three days after she purchased the wrong-sized pair of Hollister sweatpants. She stated that she knew she “would get in hassle much more” if she tried to depart.

Whereas Raniere was convicted of intercourse trafficking of kids and little one pornography, prosecutors in Kelly’s trial have accused the singer of further violence.

The singer is accused of brutally beating a number of ladies he was concerned with, along with sexually assaulting no less than six ladies and two males. Among the many ladies who stated they had been spanked, slapped, and thrown round by Kelly is Tempo, who stated the singer referred to as her a “foolish bitch” in 2019 earlier than beating her up for mendacity.

“Rob slapped me 3 times. He stated if I lied to him once more, it’s not going to be an open hand subsequent time. He spit in my face and in my mouth and choked me,” Tempo wrote in a Jan. 2010 journal entry she learn aloud in court docket in regards to the final time she noticed Kelly.

Regardless of the variations of their alleged conduct, to Hassan, the similarities between the boys show a bigger sample: that leaders of cults want rituals, followers, and loyalists to verify “they’re at all times wanted.”

“All cult leaders appear to need energy, cash, and intercourse. Some cult leaders like all three. None of those folks need anybody to say something unfavorable,” he stated. “They only need reward.” | Eerie Similarities Within the Circumstances Towards R. Kelly and NXIVM ‘Intercourse Cult’ Boss Keith Raniere


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button