In October, the New York Times published a report on secretive group Nxivm, run by leader Keith Raniere from its Albany headquarters. Dyanasty actress Catherine Oxenberg believes her 20-year-old daughter is being held by the group and, on Monday, met with prosecutors in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to present evidence.
Shortly after the Times report, Oxenberg came forward with her story, speaking with People magazine about her daughter, India. Oxenberg claims to have been the person who first suggested India look into Nxivm, which advertises itself as a self-help organization, as a way to bond. According to Oxenberg, India has spent her inheritance on classes with Nxivm and recruited friends to the organization.
Last April, Oxenberg spoke with a woman named Bonnie Piesse, who had just left the group. Piesse mentioned that India was in danger and had begun to starve herself, which is consistent with reports that Raniere pressured women in Nxivm to eat very little:
Piesse, who last saw India in the days before she left Nxivm in January 2017, says, “India was in a bad situation. One time she told me that she wasn’t going to eat for three days [out of ] penance to try and correct her behavior.”
Oxenberg last saw her daughter in May for her birthday, and says she was significantly underweight and that India told her that she hadn’t had her period in a year and her hair was falling out. India returned to Albany and cut off contact, but has maintained a social media presence:
On Oct. 19, India posted a message on her Facebook page: “I’m absolutely fine, great actually. I would never put myself or the people I love into any danger.”
The NYT report initiated a review into the organization from the New York State Governor’s Counsel. At Monday’s meeting, Oxenberg wished to present evidence that India’s connection to Nxivm is no longer voluntary, but is rooted in blackmail and physical manipulation like starvation and administered punishments.
“Some people have said this is a voluntary sorority. The women I have spoken to tell a far different story,” Oxenberg said. “Coercion is not voluntary. Extortion is not voluntary. Blackmail is not voluntary.”