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Clare Bronfman, child of the Seagram's family, has received a sentence of 81 months in prison, and has also been fined $6.5 million USD for her participation in an illegal sex cult.
Bronfman, according to evidence, put at least $100 million USD of her own money into the NXIVM cult, which physically branded women and made them engage in sexual acts against their wills.
According to the National Post, Keith Raniere, the founder of the cult, created it to build a sort of de facto harem, with multiple women as his slaves. These women were branded with his initials, forced to go without food for long periods, and were on call for his sexual desires.
NXIVM fronted as a women's group, offering to help them fulfill and better themselves. It charged members high fees for courses, and constantly pressured them to sign others up.
Some members were then tapped to enter the "inner circle", at which point Raniere would demand information that could later be used for blackmail purposes. This sometimes even included nude photos.
Bronfman was a member of NXIVM's executive board, and the charges hinged around her helping Raniere procure slaves by cherry-picking them from his organization.
"She used her incredible wealth and attempted to use her social status and connections not only to support NXIVM's work but also as a means of intimidating, threatening, and exacting revenge," was the comment from the judge who presided over the case, Nicholas Garaufis, on Wednesday, after the sentencing hearing.
Nine separate women who were victims came forward in that hearing to talk about their experience. Their testimony, among other factors, led Garaufis to hand out an even harsher sentence than the one recommended by prosecutors.
Bronfman said, "I'm immensely grateful and privileged because, all over the world, people are praying for me because they know my goodness. It doesn't mean I haven't made mistakes because I have." She had requested no prison time at the hearing.
"Many people, including most of my own family, believe I should disavow Keith and NXIVM, and that I have not is hard for them to understand and accept," Bronfman wrote. "However, for me, NXIVM and Keith greatly changed my life for the better."
The Bronfman family immigrated to Canada in 1898, fleeing programs in what is now Moldova. They eventually made their fame and fortune running whisky stateside during Prohibition. They are one of Canada's most high-profile families and have had close ties to the Trudeau family for decades now.
Clare's relative Stephen is a chief Liberal party fundraiser and has recently been called to Parliament to explain possible irregularities regarding an offshore trust.