The New York Times reported that 21 victims will receive portions of the money, part of which will go towards procedures allowing women to remove Raniere’s branded initials from their skin. These women were members of the sect within NXIVM called the Vow, or D.O.S., an acronym for a Latin phrase that means “lord/master of the obedient female companions.”
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The women were physically restrained and branded by others in the Vow as they chanted, “Master, please brand me, it would be an honor.” Members of the group were also labeled as “slaves,” and were made to provide “collateral” material to “masters,” higher-ranking members of the cult. The “collateral” was used to force obedience when Vow members received instructions from higher-ranking members, which included engagement in various sexual acts.
Among the victims receiving restitution are Sarah Edmondson, one of the first to come forward in public about her experience in NXIVM, and women identified as Sylvie, Daniela and Camila. They testified to weeping during the branding process, “disassociating,” sexual assault and solitary confinement and other harms.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis made the ruling on Tuesday in response to around 100 requests for restitution and prosecutors’ recommendation to require payments to 25 people. Garaufis determined 21 victims’ eligibility according to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act of 1996.
Raniere is currently serving a 120-year prison sentence in Tucson, Arizona. Although he has claimed he does not believe in material possessions, prosecutors said he had a substantial interest in a former partner’s estate and had other earnings from NXIVM.
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