Just days after NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, the leader of the controversial New York-based self-help group, was found guilty of federal sex trafficking and racketeering charges, Lifetime has announced a new movie about the case.
NXIVM Cult: A Mother’s Nightmare (working title) will center on the true story of actress Catherine Oxenberg and her fight to save her 28-year-old daughter India, who joined NXIVM in 2011 but has since left, from the group.
Andrea Roth will play Catherine, while Peter Facinelli has been cast as Raniere. Jasper Polish also stars as India, and Sara Fletcher will portray Keith’s associate in the group, Smallville actress Allison Mack.
“When Catherine learns about a leadership seminar from a new organization called NXIVM, she decides to take her twenty-year-old daughter India to the professional development meeting,” according to the logline. “Led by the extremely enigmatic Keith Raniere, Catherine can’t help but shake the feeling there’s more than meets the eye with the self-help organization. Despite Catherine’s best efforts, India is drawn deeper into the cult, eventually joining a secret sorority of female members who are branded with the cult leader’s initials, ordered to maintain a restricted diet and forced to recruit other women as sex slaves.”
“NXIVM Cult: A Mother’s Nightmare tells the story of a mother who will stop at nothing to get her daughter back and exposes the intricate seductive power of Allison and Keith and the mental and physical abuse India fell victim to.”
Raniere pleaded not guilty on all seven charges he faced. His conviction follows the April guilty plea by his top lieutenant in the group, Mack, to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering charges. Mack will be sentenced in September and faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Raniere will also be sentenced in September and could face life in prison.
Prosecutors described NXIVM as a sexual pyramid scheme involving sex slaves, with Raniere at the top. The group has long marketed itself as a group that empowers people and helps them manage emotional trauma, but prosecutors said it has a darker side built on coercion and manipulation.
Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE after Raniere’s conviction, Oxenberg, 57, said she “couldn’t stop sobbing.”
“It was like all of this pent-up emotion and I was trying to be quiet and not be disruptive,” she said. “I’m so grateful to those jurors, I cannot tell you, for seeing through the monster that Keith Raniere is.”
NXIVM Cult: A Mother’s Nightmare will debut this fall on Lifetime.
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