Entertainment And News

Clare Bronfman Sentenced To 81 Months In Prison For Involvement With Sex Cult NXIVM

Photo: YouTube
Clare Bronfman

Segreams heiress Clare Bronfman was sentenced to 81 months in jail on Sept. 30 for her involvement with the sex cult, NXIVM. Along with her nearly seven-year sentence, Bronfman was hit with a $500,000 fine and has to pay a $96,605 restitution to one of the victims. She is being charged with "conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification."

“I’m immensely grateful and privileged that people all over the world are praying for me because they know my goodness," she said before her sentencing. "It doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes, I have made mistakes.”

Who is Clare Bronfman?

Clare Bronfman is the daughter of billionaire and former Seagrams chairman, Edgar Bronfman Sr., and half-sister to Edgar Bronfman Jr., who is the former chairman of Warner Music Group. Clare is known for her wealth — she and her sister both have sizable trust funds — and for beng a competitive equestrian. At times during her competitive riding career, she was ranked 12th in the United States and 80th overall in the entire world.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the beverage heiress and the sex cult she was involved with.

RELATED: Shocking New Details About Smallville's Allison Mack Sex Ring Arrest

What is NXIVM?

NXIVM (pronounced like "Nexium") was founded in in 1998 by Keith Raniere. The organization claims to be a self-help entity focused on professional development via "executive success seminars," but former members have alleged that the group is a front for a cult led by Raniere. NXIVM "uses a trademarked method called 'Rational Inquiry' to help adherents achieve their goals (for the reported cost of up to $7,500 for an intensive, multi-day workshop)."  

Is it a sex cult?

There have been reports for several years from women saying that they were coerced into joining an offshoot of NXIVM called "DOS." The New York Times reported that women claimed to have been held against their will, coerced into posing for nude photos that were held as potential blackmail, branded with the leaders' initials, and forced into sex acts with Raniere.  

RELATED: Who Is Keith Raniere? 5 New Details About NVIXM Cult Leader Accused Of Having Sex With 12-Year-Old Girls

How did Clare Bronfman get connected to NXIVM?

Clare first took an NXIVM seminar in 2002, according to Vanity Fair.  She was introduced to the self-help network by her sister Sara, but was initially reluctant to get involved but soon got really into it, even inviting her father to come along. He agreed because he thought it had helped his daughters. Soon, however, he became disenchanted.

What went wrong?

Clare's father got upset when he found out that Clare had given NXIVM a loan of $2 million. After that, he was quoted in a critical article about the organization, saying he thought it was a cult. That created a wedge in the family. There have been multiple legal fights between family members since then.

How dedicated is Clare to NXIVM?

NXIVM is famous for using lawsuits to defend itself against various accusations of corruption. Clare and her sister are so committed to the organization that they have personally bankrolled some of the lawsuits. Reports estimate the sisters have spent up to $100 million on legal fees.

Was she in charge of NXIVM?

The aforementioned report from April 2018 quotes a former NXIVM publicist named Frank Parlato who claims that Clare is "now in charge of a now in charge of an estimated dozen or more 'slaves' spread between New York and Toronto." Parlato claims that Clare is one of the most dedicated and ruthless followers of Raniere. 

What does Clare say?

Clare is continuing to defend NXIVM and Raniere, writing on the organization's website, "Some have asked me why I remain a member and why I still support NXIVM and Keith Raniere. The answer is simple: I’ve seen so much good come from both our programs and from Keith himself.”

As for the allegations that the women in the DOS group are slaves who are forced to get branded and take vows of loyalty, a report states she wrote on her own website, "I find no fault in a group of women (or men for that matter) freely taking a vow of loyalty and friendship with one another to feel safe while pushing back against the fears that have stifled their personal and professional growth. It’s not for any of us to judge how they, or anyone else, choose to advance their lives and values.

She may think it's not for us to judge, but the courts certainly will. Raniere is set to be sentenced on Oct. 27, 2020. Former Smallville actress Allison Mack, who was arrested in connection with the cult, had her sentencing delayed because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic; however, her day in court will likely happen soon.

RELATED: Who Is India Oxenberg? Shocking New Details To Know About Allison Mack's Personal Sex Slave

Rebekah Kuschmider is a DC area writer with a background in non-profit management and advocacy Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and is a contributor the book Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox . She is a cohost of the weekly political podcast The More Perfect Union.