Keith Raniere, who ran a cult-like group that kept women as virtual sex prisoners to service him in upstate New York was sentenced to 120 years prison on Tuesday.
Reniere was convicted on federal sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography charges last year for his role in the alleged sex cult called NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”).
The sentence was issued by the US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who presided over the six-week trial last year that ended in Raniere convicted on all counts.
Acting US Attorney Seth DuCharme said he hopes the sentence will serve as a warning to any aspiring cult leaders.
“When justice catches up to you, as it did today, it is severe,” DuCharme told reporters outside court in Brooklyn. “Keith Raniere will not be able to victimize people anymore after today's sentence and we’re very grateful for that.”
Marc Elliot, a former NXIVM member and supporter of Raniere's, said the defendant didn't get a fair trial.
“We all should be fighting for due process no matter how much you don't like it or how inconvenient it is,” Elliot said. “Because if someone or society ever turns on you, you better hope to God that due process and laws are still standing to protect you.”
Appearing on Dateline NBC from jail, Raniere apologised for the “tragedy” and “hurt” he caused the victims but also claimed he was not guilty.
“I am innocent,” Raniere said.
“This is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt,” he added. “There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I'm the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”
NXIVM is the subject of the HBO docuseries “The Vow”, which is set to feature Raniere in its second season next year.
This article originally appeared on Over60.