Professor offers insight into cult-like NXIVM

Home in Halfmoon raided by FBI

ALBANY, NY – A psychology professor is offering insight on cult-like behavior, as NXIVM co-founder Keith Raniere is set to be arraigned on sex trafficking and forced labor charges.

“A lot of it is about the power of the leader as well - the leader of a cult has to be charismatic,” Professor Jason Randall tells CBS 6.

Last month, the FBI raided several sites in the Capital Region, including this townhome in Halfmoon, all related to disturbing allegations against Keith Raniere. Officials say he co-founded NXIVM with Nancy Salzman, whose home was also raided. the Times Union reports FBI agents seized more than $520,000 in cash from the house.

It’s alleged Raniere turned NXIVM into a secret society where women were branded with the image of his initials and served as sex slaves.

Professor Randall says the psychology behind why people would join such a group and stay, is complicated.

“When you become part of a group like this, your self-concept becomes tied to the self-concept of the leader, the vision of the group,” Professor Randall said.

CBS 6 will have a crew in Brooklyn tomorrow for Raniere’s arraignment, scheduled for 2 p.m. The full search warrant obtained by CBS 6 can be found below.

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