NXIVM founder Keith Raniere is speaking out in a rare interview.
In what NBC News is calling Raniere's "first interview since his arrest" in March 2018, the leader of a group that federal prosecutors said enlisted "sex slaves" will appear alongside investigative journalist Frank Parlato (who is facing his own legal troubles) in a Dateline interview that was partially shown on NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt on Friday. The full interview will be shown on a future Dateline episode.
In a preview of the Dateline interview released early Friday, the leader of the supposed self-help group both apologized for pain his community caused and maintained that he was "innocent," though he did not say of what (Raniere was convicted of charges of sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering).
He told the news program, "You know, one of the things that’s most important in our country is the justice system. And although, you know, people can hate me and do, and think I’m an odious type of a character, you know, awful actually." He added, "Both the devil and a saint should be able to get the exact same treatment under our justice system."
When Parlato asked whether Raniere will state that he is innocent at his upcoming hearing, Raniere responded, "Yes, I am innocent. And although it is, this is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt, I think the main thrust of this has been the oppression but really a different issue, which is hard for me to express. There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I'm the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined."
However, in another clip that the news program excerpted prior to the Dateline interview, Raniere also copped to some culpability in the NXIVM fallout. "I apologize for my participation in all of this pain and suffering. I've clearly participated. I've been the leader of the community," he said.
Raniere was convicted on all counts of sex trafficking and charges of coercing women into sex by using "collateral" to force them into intimate acts in June 2019. His sentencing date is Oct. 27.
Last month, Raniere also gave a statement to the documentarians of HBO Max's The Vow, which focuses on women who joined and later left NXIVM, that aired during the series finale on Oct. 18. The series said the telephone conversation occurred in September 2020. The Vow has been renewed for a second season, HBO announced last week.