Meet the Brutal Prisoner Who Struck Raniere Two Months Ago

Maurice Adonis Withers

 Who is the man who punched and knocked out Keith Alan Raniere?

He is Maurice Adonis Withers, 33.

Raniere is 62.

Withers is a fellow inmate in max security USP Tucson. He came to Tucson following his conviction for sex trafficking in May 2017.

Withers trafficked women and children and faced life in prison. He got an 18 year sentence.

The jury convicted Withers of six counts of sex trafficking. Each count carries a minimum sentence of 15 years. 

Withers got barely over the minimum. 

Raniere was convicted of trafficking one woman, Nicole – one time. He got 40 years for Nicole, as part of a total 120 year sentence.

His other charges included attempted sex trafficking, racketeering, and forced labor.

In Raniere’s case, a jury reached a guilty verdict in less than three hours. In Withers’ case, it was also less than three hours.

Raniere had a six-week trial.

Withers had a four-day trial.

The jury also found Withers guilty of three counts of interstate trafficking for prostitution.

Like Raniere, Withers’ sex offenses involved a minor.

Raniere was convicted of photographing the minor, but not sharing her photos.

Withers sex trafficked children.

Withers’ other charges include:

  1.  two counts of sex trafficking a minor,
  2. three counts of sex trafficking by force or threats or coercion,
  3. one count of attempted sex trafficking by force or threats or coercion,
  4. one count of transporting a minor from Wisconsin to Nevada for prostitution,
  5. two counts of transporting individuals from Wisconsin to Nevada for prostitution.

Evidence against Withers included testimony from five victims, statements he made on Facebook, and a cell phone video.

Withers had been sex trafficking for seven years. 

Withers’ 18-year sentence was lenient.

He faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to a maximum of life in prison for four counts of sex trafficking of adults by force.

On his two counts of sex trafficking a minor, he faced a minimum of 10 years to life.

He faced a maximum of 10 years for the two counts of transporting an individual for prostitution.

On Nov. 20, 2017, US District Judge William Conley sentenced Withers to 18 years in prison plus lifetime supervision.

“It’s clear the defendant chose vulnerable women at vulnerable times to move them into prostitution for his benefit,” Conley said.

“I apologize for the influence I had over them. I regret the choices that led me here today,” Withers said at the sentencing.

Withers was what some describe as a “Romeo pimp.” He would meet women on social media, act as a boyfriend, and soon lead them to sex for money with others.

There seemed a little of the cult in some of his victims. 

Women said they had no mind of their own once Withers got hold of them.

One victim, Tiffany, said Withers made her “fall in love.” 

“You fall in love with them, and then they beat you down, brainwash you, and they manipulate you, and then they traffic you.”

She said Withers kept her secluded, got her fired from stripping jobs, and undermined friendships. 

“It’s like you lose grasp of the real world,” Tiffany said. “He just had complete mind control. You couldn’t think for yourself. He thought for you. He spoke for you.”

She started by giving customers nude massages. Withers pressured her to “up-sell,” and offer customers more.

She said he intimidated her by pinning her in a corner, yelling in her face, and degrading her.

According to the US Attorney, Withers used force and threats of force to coerce women to work as prostitutes for him.

The women worked in Madison, Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo, Wisconsin. He transported three victims to Las Vegas to engage in prostitution for a month.

Five victims testified at his trial about Withers’ use of force, threats, and coercion, which forced them to be prostitutes.

Withers recruited women and girls to prostitute since 2010, and used social media to find them.

The US Attorney characterized Withers’ control of the women as semi-cultic.

His tools of pimping included virtual mind control.

He also used violence, threats, intimidation, degradation, and psychological manipulation.

One of Withers’ techniques to brainwash the women was to work them in glamorous settings, like the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee. 

Withers used Back Page ads to set dates and get affluent men for clients.

Sometimes Withers turned to violence when women did not do as he commanded.

Women testified he grabbed their faces and struck women.

He was also active in managing their time. Sometimes the venue was cheap and tawdry. It was not always glamorous hotels.

Withers set up a date for one woman and instructed her on how she should complete the sex act. He stood outside the car watching throughout and knocked when the time was up.

On the same day, Withers drove the woman to Madison, where he instructed her to engage in another commercial sex act.

She did not want to do it with the client but felt she had to get money and give it to Withers to get back home. Since she observed Withers hit another woman, she felt she had to do the sex act with the stranger and she did it.

Withers would sometimes mislead women about the duration of out-of-town trips.

One woman testified she thought she was going with him on a day trip to the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

Kalahari Resort

Instead, it was a several-day drive to Denver and Las Vegas, where she and other victims engaged in commercial sex acts.

The woman said she felt “scared” that he would leave her behind without money. She also felt “terrified” after she saw Withers hit another woman. The fact that Withers possessed a gun also enhanced her fear.

Withers also employed food deprivation. He did not give her food when she needed it for her hypoglycemia.

One woman testified she did not want to go on some dates but was “terrified” that Withers would “make” her, and if she refused, he might kill her.

Withers also expected his women to perform for him on demand.

In Las Vegas, Withers slapped a woman when she objected to oral sex with him.


Keith Raniere is assigned to a unit at USP Tucson. In the dining room, a man named Adonis Withers punched him in the head.

Contrary to what some headlines in other publications might lead people to believe, Withers did not recently punch Raniere.

The incident occurred on July 25, 2022, according to Raniere.

Withers punched him in the head in the dining hall at USP Tucson while the former NXIVM leader was carrying his food.

He knocked Raniere unconscious. 

Just as Withers got far less prison for crimes arguably as bad or worse than Raniere’s, he got less punishment for his attack.

Prison policy is that anyone involved in prison fights goes to the SHU.

Raniere remains in the SHU almost two months later. Withers has been out for several weeks – despite Withers initiating the attack.

Raniere’s lawyers say the BOP is retaliating against Raniere for suing them for blocking his communications with his Power of Attorney, Suneeel Chakravorty.

Raniere’s followers blame this writer, in part, for the attack. They say Withers struck Raniere immediately after the TNT episode of Rich and Shameless’ The Heiress and the Sex Cult appeared on TV in prison.

Parlato was the consulting producer and appeared in the episode.

His followers believe Withers was morally outraged at the vile behavior the show falsely depicted Raniere to have done.

But this writer believes Withers was jealous of Raniere’s celebrity. Perhaps Withers felt Raniere was a more popular sex trafficker than he. And after all, Withers did far more sex trafficking than Raniere.

Another area where the two men are similar, yet divergent, is their use of body art. 

Raniere arranged to have his female “slaves” branded with his initials on their groins. Raniere himself is not known to have any brands or tattoos.

Withers is not known to have branded or tattooed his slaves, but sports a tattoo on his own body.

His tatoo proclaims his business model: “Ain’t No Money Like Hoe Money.”

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Although his sexual behavior was atypical and manipulative. He was leading a movement in furthering human potential. He was on path to change society for the better. The world needs more people similar to Keith. He is deserving of punishment for wrongdoings but 120 years is unacceptable.

  • Hi:
    Is Keith in a federal prison or State prison? I’m not savvy about which charges are State and which are federal. Please excuse my lack of sentencing protocols, but I would think that with the. Bronfman money, couldn’t he serve in one of those mafia federal prison’s? I’m not taking a stance here, so no condescending or hateful responses please. Thanks, Elaine, Seattle

    • He is in Federal prison. And much disfavored and disliked officially. Bronfman finally bought herself a more comfortable prison, but it took a year and a half and maybe a million. She went from a max security hell hole to a low-security, and she will go to a camp. Raniere was well situated in a sex offender max security – but he sued the prison warden, and the boss of the prisons, and they retaliated.
      It gets worse and worse, and Bronfman’s money is spent on him fighting instead of bribing. Stupid on his part.

  • Raniere is a despicable garbage human. Ruined many lives. He got punched once. Big freaking deal. Happens every day in middle schools across the country. He will survive. Punish the puncher, but pump the brakes on the poor Keith reporting. Ridiculous.

  • The Moral of the Story:

    Take a plea bargain do 15 years!

    Fight the system do 200 years!

    Kieth is an idiot!

    That’s a 185 year difference incase you can’t do the math.

    • Personally,
      I believed Raniere deserved
      20 years.

      “There’re two kinds of people in prison. The ones we’re mad at and the ones we’re scared of. The later need to stay in prison.”
      -Retired Warden

      At 80 years of age Raniere would no longer be a threat.

      How do you reduce the US prison population if we hand out absurd sentences?

    Western District of Wisconsin

    U.S. Attorneys » Western District of Wisconsin » News
    Department of Justice
    U.S. Attorney’s Office
    Western District of Wisconsin
    Monday, November 20, 2017
    Madison Man Sentenced to 18 Years for Sex Trafficking
    MADISON, WIS. — Jeffrey M. Anderson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that Maurice Adonis Withers, 28, Madison, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 18 years in federal prison for trafficking five female victims. This prison term will be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.

    On May 5, 2017, after a four-day trial in federal court in Madison, Withers was convicted of nine counts of sex trafficking, including three counts that involved a victim who was a minor. Withers used force and threats of force to coerce women to work as prostitutes for him in Dane and Sauk Counties, in the cities of Madison, Wisconsin Dells, and Baraboo, and also transported three of the victims to Las Vegas to engage in prostitution there for a month.

    Specifically, Withers was convicted of two counts of sex trafficking a minor, three counts of sex trafficking adults by force or threats or coercion, one count of attempted sex trafficking an adult by force or threats or coercion, one count of transporting a minor from Wisconsin to Nevada with the intent that the minor engage in prostitution, and two counts of transporting adults from Wisconsin to Nevada with the intent they engage in prostitution.

    The evidence presented at trial included testimony from all five victims about Withers’ use of force, threats, and coercion that caused them to engage in prostitution in 2015. The evidence showed that Withers had been recruiting women and girls to prostitute for him since at least 2010. Testimony at trial established that Withers met women and girls on social media, and that he targeted especially vulnerable women and girls. Once these victims met Withers in person, he would coerce them to work for him as a prostitute, and if they resisted, he used violence, threats, intimidation, degradation, and psychological manipulation to force them to do his bidding.

    Acting U.S. Attorney Anderson said, “Withers exploited vulnerable young women by forcing them to engage in prostitution. I commend the trial team, investigators and victim advocates for their dedicated and meticulous work in this case.”

    Attorney General Schimel said, “Paying for sex is not a victimless crime and the ‘Johns’ who support this modern day slavery are as guilty as the “pimps” and traffickers who prey on the victims. I’m encouraged by the sentencing of Withers and look forward to continuing the successful partnership between Wisconsin DOJ and U.S. DOJ as we seek to end human trafficking.”

    The charges against Withers are the result of an investigation by the Madison Police Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation; Sauk County Sheriff’s Department; and Wisconsin Dells Police Department. The prosecution of this case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Pfluger and Corey Stephan.

    Human Trafficking
    USAO – Wisconsin, Western
    Updated November 20, 2017

  • Castext




    WILLIAM M. CONLEY District Judge


    [ … ]


    [ … ]


    [ … ]

    I. Timeliness

    II. Merits

    [ … ]

    A. Count 7

    [ … ]

    B. Count 3

    [ … ]

    C. Count 4

    [ … ]

    D. Counts 8 and 9

    IT IS ORDERED that defendant Maurice Adonis Withers’ Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal (dkt. #142) is DENIED.

    Entered this 22nd day of June, 2017.


    District Judge

  • Federal Bureau of Prisons:

    TUCSON, AZ 85756
    Phone: 520-663-5000
    Fax: 520-663-5024

    Register Number: 10300-090
    Age: 33
    Race: Black
    Sex: Male
    Located at: Tucson USP
    Release Date: 03/24/2032


    TUCSON, AZ 85756

  • Maybe Mr Withers can start a new career as a celebrity media prisoner. I hope he gets an interview series in the media. How about photo ops and filming.

    The camera crews and journalists should start looking for dates. Mr Withers’ schedule can be full of interviews in no time.

    And soon Mr Maurice Adonis Withers will have his own publicist and agent to handle the finances and his contracts. All it takes is enough hype and Mr Withers’ career really takes off. An autobiography and a film version of his life could follow. Mr Withers would be a modern version of the Kardashians.

  • Mr. Maurice Adonis Withers has managed to also get some media attention that Raniere has had or has enjoyed for years because Raniere always wants to be the center of attention in everything and everywhere, including prison. And a picture of Mr. Withers was also included, which makes the whole thing an even bigger satisfaction for Withers’ ego. There are those who are jealous of the fact that media coverage benefits only a few. Mr. Withers is no exception, I would assume. Mr. Withers wanted to get something out of this, which he succeeded in doing by attacking Raniere. Congratulations on Mr. Withers’ success.

    • Nah. It’s more likely Raniere paid Withers (through commissary or other benefits via Clare’s money pot) to hit him so that the he could start this narcissistic charade of conspiracy driven victimhood (though there are no ultimate victims, except him of course).

  • Let’s not white wash this case at this point and go all poor Raniere now. How quickly people forget what this case was REALLY about.

    The Conspiracy involved other defendants.

    The is a different between running a mofia type organization like NXIVM with the RICO charges where other co-defendant were arrested along with Keith Rainier
    Nancy Salzman 3.5 years
    Lauren Salzman probation
    Clare Bronfman 7 years
    Allison Mack 3 years
    Kathy Russell probation

    Vs Maurice Adonis Withers
    Who was acting alone as a pimp

    The EDNY had a lot more to prove against Raniere, hence a six week trial.

    Raniere was found guilty of
    Racketeering Conspiracy
    Forced Labor Conspiracy
    Wire Fraud Conspiracy
    Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
    Sex Trafficking
    Attempted Sex Trafficking
    Plus other predicate acts which lead up to his 120 year sentence.

    If people remember, Raniere ne er put on a defensive. His loyalists wouldn’t come forward at the time and take the stand for him.

    Now they belly ache, I was bullied by the prosecution. Which is total bullshit. Raniere’s legal team could of stopped that in a NY minute via misconduct rules

    They must of been warned by their lawyers to not be put under oath based on their behavior in DOS.

  • Frank
    Are you kidding me? YOU actually care about these pieces of garbage and their sentences ? YOU sure changed your tune, in promising victims families closure and a film and all of that other mess. This is absurd that YOU have turned on them and NEVER apologized for ANY of your actions with or to them.
    What gives ?
    Rainere and Withers are human garbage. They need to be kept behind bars and NEVER let out. Are YOU really for this shit ?

  • Wouldn’t it be infinitely easier for everyone to have them both sentenced to death? There really is no intelligent counterargument to this. Oh, there is one but it is outweighed by the benefits: they’d suffer less.

  • Sentencing varies widely. For comparison, the median time served for murder (State prisons) is 13.4 years

    This guy got 18 years. Hardly a light sentence by comparison. He’s just your basic pimp.

    Raniere got 120 for running a sex cult, branding women, blackmail and racketeering.
    Their cases really don’t have all that much in common. Nor, in practical terms, are their sentences much different. If Raniere had gotten the identical 18 year sentence, given his age he’d probably die in prison anyway.

  • It seems they’re setting up Raniere to be killed. His complaints and information released on the FBI tampering and prosecution misconduct are valid.

    If he’s killed, they will bury the entire case. They will make him a difficult prisoner who needs to be relocated. It’ll happen then.

    Our prisons are torture chambers. Our government is abusing its power and its people in public and behind prison walls- all under the bs of “justice” for the people.

    • You are pulling on the same thread as Nicki Clyne. Go to Nicki Clyne’s Twitter account and Dossier Project, you’ll find like-minded people there. There you can cry about what is being done to Raniere …

      Nicki Clyne
      13 h
      If a government can torture its own citizens and know no one will care because they have been deemed a monster in the court of public opinion, we have no justice system and we are no better than the fascist regimes we criticize.

  • Retaliation by the government. Those in power abuse power. There is no accountability.

    They are blatant in their abuse because there’s no accountability. I applaud his supporters and FR for managing to get this information and for making it public.

    The man is in for life. Let him be.

    • Raniere & his supporters bribed officials and abused the legal system to torment their enemies. Now they’re crying about corruption? Raniere sentenced a lover who no longer wanted to be exclusive to solitary confinement. He stole millions from his gullible female followers. His doctrines dictated that sick people shouldn’t seek treatment or complain about their condition. Yet he gets to complain?

      The remainder of his life without the chance to violate another child will repair his ethical breach. Every moment of discomfort he feels for the rest of his life should bring him joy. He can use the time to contemplate all the ways that he created his current circumstance for himself.

  • Maybe Withers punched him to get his (Withers’) name in the press. Gives him bragging rights to his friends outside of bars. I punched that As Seen on TV cult dude.

  • When you compare this man’s sentence to that of Raniere it does seem that Keith might have gotten the short end of the stick but for whatever further advanced enlightenment he might obtain while meditating for the next 117 years behind bars. A special gift from the ‘universe’, if you will, for Keith’s on gain.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083