THE leader of the NXIVM sex cult says he was knocked unconscious after being punched in the head by a fellow inmate in prison.
Keith Raniere claims he was placed in solitary confinement after the attack and was “left dizzy for days and could not get out of bed”, in legal papers obtained by The U.S. Sun.
The 62-year-old has also been placed in a cell with an intersex woman – despite his conviction for sex offenses – and been housed in a cage next to a cell smeared with human feces, according to his lawyers.
Prosecutors said Raniere created a secret society within NXIVM, called DOS, where female “slaves” were branded on their pubic area and told to hand over over nude photos and other compromising materials that could be used for blackmail if they tried to leave.
Raniere, who is currently trying to appeal his conviction, filed an affidavit listing his alleged abuses behind bars at USP Tucson, Arizona, as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the prison.
His supporters say it is not known what prompted the attack but point out that it occurred the day after TNT re-ran an episode of “Rich and Shameless” called “The Heiress and the Sex Cult,” featuring former members of NXIVM who accuse Raniere and Clare Bronfman of wrongdoing.
Raniere’s attorneys claim his current treatment is part of an ongoing effort by the Bureau of Prisons and authorities to suppress his ability to fight his case in court.
Lawyers for the NXIVM boss filed the initial complaint against the BOP back in May claiming the prison had scrubbed Raniere’s contact list and blocked his communication with his power of attorney.
They allege the prison made these changes the day after Raniere filed a motion to stay his appeal over allegations that the FBI tampered with the photos used as evidence at his trial.
The government called Raniere’s claims “frivolous” at the time.
Raniere is still being held in the SHU where he is required to spend 23 hours a day in a tiny cell, often with another inmate and is allowed one hour of recreation time to walk around a small cage, according to his supporters.
Prison guards recently put an intersex woman in the solitary cell with him and then a few days later they placed both of them in a holding cage next to a cell with human feces all over the floor and smeared on the walls, Raniere’s attorneys say.
They were allegedly forced to stay there for hours and even eat their lunch there, they added.
Stacy Scheff, Raniere’s lawyer said: “Mr. Raniere is the subject of ongoing retaliation by the Bureau of Prisons.
“Mr. Raniere was retaliated against by having his contacts and call list scrubbed the day after he filed a motion exposing FBI malfeasance.
“Mr. Raniere filed a grievance about that retaliation and was shortly thereafter assaulted by another inmate.
“Following the assault, Mr. Raniere was placed in the SHU to investigate the assault.
‘HELD IN A CAGE’
“That investigation cleared Mr. Raniere of any culpability. According to BOP policy after the investigation was concluded, which was weeks ago now, Keith should have been returned to his normal housing, but the retaliation continues as he remains in the SHU.
“Currently he is allowed one five-minute phone call per month, he cannot have a razor, he has no access to legal resources, and given books ‘at staff discretion.’
“This is particularly egregious because Mr. Raniere is still actively fighting his case in the courts.
“Recently, Mr. Raniere was held in a cage for four hours next to day-old human feces, which was on the floor and had been smeared all over the wall. He was even forced to eat lunch here. Mr. Raniere has been given no explanation as to why he remains in these unacceptable and inhumane conditions.”
At Raniere’s trial in New York, over a dozen victims gave gut-wrenching testimony about how Raniere manipulated and sexually abused them.
“I still have dreams about you where I’m being punished by you for something trivial and I can’t speak up for fear of public shaming,” said former NXIVM member turned whistleblower Sarah Edmondson in a victim statement.
However he still has a loyal group of followers and supporters who have been campaigning for his release – including actress Nicki Clyne.
The former Battlestar Galactica actress said: “Keith is concerned for his safety, because he is constantly being cycled through cellmates, and all it takes is one bad cellmate in solitary to end his life.”
Another former NXIVM member, Eduardo Asunsolo added: “Keith has lost pounds since being in solitary, where he was placed for the sole reason of being the victim of an attack. This is a human rights issue.”
The Sun reached out to USP Tucson and the BOP for comment.