In an amended complaint in a federal civil lawsuit prosecuted against 12 former NXIVM members, it is now being alleged that NXIVM founder, Keith Raniere, forcibly raped Camila, a Mexican woman, who was a part of his inner circle of women.
Camila, 31, joined some 80 other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Raniere, heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, Kathy Russell, Allison Mack, and several others, all of whom were associated with NXIVM in the past.
The plaintiffs are represented by a team of lawyers led by Philadelphia attorney Neil Glazer.
Camila has made numerous allegations in the lawsuit. In addition to being a victim of statutory rape when she was 15, when Raniere was 45, she alleges that, he and Nancy Salzman groomed her since she was 13, isolating her from her family, and that Raniere took sexually explicit photos of her when she was 15.
She also alleges that Raniere took nude photos of her when she was 15.
Sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child porn were proven to the satisfaction of a jury at Raniere’s criminal trial as three predicate acts of racketeering charges. These acts were that Raniere took photos of Camila on November 2 and November 24, 2005, when Camila was 15 and possessed the pictures [child porn].
Some 22 photos of Camila were found on a hard drive by the FBI in 2019. The device was seized in 2018 in an FBI raid on a townhouse Raniere used as his library in Half Moon, NY. The photos of Camila were not discovered until 10 months after the hard drive was seized and within a few weeks of trial.
The predicate acts concerning Camila were proven to the satisfaction of the jury as were all other predicate acts and charges.
Raniere was convicted on all counts at his criminal trial and sentenced to 120 years in federal prison.
What did not come up at the criminal trial is Camila’s allegation that, when she was above the age of consent, Raniere forcibly raped her.
Here are the allegations contained in the Glazer lawsuit:
Camila… informed Raniere that she was no longer interested in having a relationship with him. Raniere’s response was to tell her that she was a psychopath with no conscience and to threaten to kick her out of the apartment where she lived, expel her from the NXIVM community, and send her to Mexico, where she would be institutionalized under horrible conditions.
To Camila, these were not empty threats; Raniere had done the exact same thing to her sister, Daniela, with whom she was no longer in contact. Camila realized that she was trapped, dependent on Raniere and [other NXIVM] Defendants for everything, at risk of being arrested and deported if she were ousted from her apartment.
Raniere also escalated his manipulation of Camila, abusively screaming at her, cornering her, physically restraining her, even storming out of the apartment and then berating her if she did not run after him and beg him to come back.
On one such occasion, Raniere stormed out of the apartment and Camila followed him into the residence at Hale Drive where Raniere often had Camila (and other women) meet him for sex. Raniere told Camila that she had put him into a difficult position and was ruining his life. He then pushed her onto the floor, removed her pants and underwear, and forcibly raped her while she cried. After the rape, he brusquely sent her back to the apartment.
In another incident, he forcibly raped her in her apartment.
Following the rapes, Defendant Nancy Salzman added a new segment to the Jness curriculum (which Camila was required to attend) teaching that when men sense that their partner is trying to leave them, they rape them as a natural way of marking their territory. This was in addition to teachings that many women can only climax while being raped and other teachings that normalized sexual abuse and assault.
The severe abuse continued and, deeply depressed and in despair, in April 2015 Camila attempted suicide, slashing her wrists in the bathtub in her apartment. When Raniere found her, bleeding and in shock, he scolded her, explaining that had she been successful it would have led to serious consequences for him. He then forbade her from going to a hospital, instead sending photographs of the wounds to Defendant Nancy Salzman, a trained and licensed nurse.
Salzman said nothing about the incident, and Camila received no medical or psychiatric care. Instead, Raniere demanded that Camila provide to him and a member of his Inner Circle a written “vow” of obedience and, soon thereafter, that she begin providing “collateral,” ostensibly to hold her to her word that she would not attempt suicide again.
He also demanded that she find another sexual partner for him because she was supposedly no longer “pure” enough for him. As Camila would later discover, however, this vow and collateral, and the demand to recruit other women, would be used to bind her to the group Raniere [and other women were forming called DOS.]
Will Camila Collect?
The Camila testimony is sure to be explosive if the civil lawsuit makes it to trial. Depositions may begin soon, now that the last of the NXIVM defendants, Kathy Russell, is scheduled for sentencing early next month.
The civil lawsuit was on hold until the criminal case was concluded.
Many new discoveries are expected in the civil suit, which obviously, as a suit seeking monetary damages, is focused largely on the defendants with the most ability to pay, Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman.
If Camila and the other plaintiffs are to collect anything at all, it will likely come from the deep pockets of these two women.
Clare is serving an 82-month sentence in federal prison. At the time of her bail hearing in 2018, she claimed approximately $200 million in assets.
Sara Bronfman left the US when the Raniere prosecution began and went first to France and later to Portugal. Her net worth is not known but could be substantially higher than her sister’s, whose legal expenses have been high the last few years.
Prior to her arrest, Clare moved a substantial portion of her wealth into trusts believed to be a shield against seizure.
It is not known how much of Sara Bronfman’s wealth has been transferred out of the USA, beyond the jurisdiction of the US Courts.
A lesser focus for collecting damages, should the plaintiffs win a judgement, may be the incarcerated Raniere who inherited $8 million from one of his inner circle women, the late Pamela Cafritz. The estate is currently in limbo, with potential or real IRS claims.
Some of the estate may be used to pay federal statutory restitution to adjudicated victims of Raniere, in the amount of about $3.4 million, of which Camila is to be paid the largest sum. The judge awarded her more than $500,000 in restitution.
Next in line for p[ayment of ant judgment is Nancy Salzman, who may have a few million in assets based on real estate she owns and possible cash she has stored, and Allison Mack, who also may be a “minor” millionaire. She may still have some real estate and other investments in California.
The rest of the defendants are largely without assets.
The lawsuit, if it is not settled, may not go to trial for several years. With Sara Bronfman out of the US and not likely to return, she cannot be compelled to appear. She has retained attorneys in New York and based on past experience of her in litigation, she will likely spend more money defending the case than it would take to settle it.
Camila, who is reportedly living in Mexico, may not see any money anytime soon if she ever sees anything at all.