Self-help guru was really a cult leader, who pressured women into sex, prosecutor said

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By Associated Press

A self-help guru groomed women for sex, subjecting them to “shame and humiliation” and threatening to expose their “deepest, darkest secrets” if they didn’t comply with his wishes, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Hajjar presented opening statements at the sex-trafficking trial of Keith Raniere, the former leader of an upstate New York group called NXIVM that’s been likened to a cult.

The prosecutor alleged that Raniere had sex with a 15-year-old girl and took nude photos of her; she also described how some female followers were branded with Raniere’s initials.

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