A New York jury spent only five hours deciding that NXIVM leader Keith Raniere (58) is guilty of trafficking in human beings and made sex slaves of women.
The decision was made after a six-week trial in Brooklyn, New York.
Ranieres's lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, told ABC News that his client will appeal the guilty question.
"It's a very sad day for him. I do not think he was surprised, but he claims he did nothing wrong, says Agnifilo.
Read too: Promoter of alleged sexual cultures: – A criminal, a predator and a criminal boss
Abused and threatened
NXIVM, which was described as a self-help group in New York, is considered a sex cult according to US promoters.
As chief executive and only man in the organization, Raniere will have manipulated women and used them as sex slaves. The 58-year-old man is accused of forced labor, trafficking in human beings and possession of child pornography.
Among the members were actor Allison Mach, known from the Smallville series, who acknowledged his involvement in the NXIVM and risked a lengthy prison sentence.
During the six-week trial, several women explained how they were cheated in the organization before being sexually abused.
Before women became members, they had to reveal their deepest secrets and be portrayed naked. If they tried to leave the network, they would have been threatened with the images sent to outsiders.
Read too: It reveals the most intimate secrets of the supposed sexual cult
– a manipulator
A brutal initiation ritual should have been that they had the brand's Ranieres initials near the groin. The jury also heard that a woman was forced to consume only 500 calories a day to achieve what Raniere perceived as an ideal weight.
If the non-commissioned designations are completed, they must have been punished by beating or whipping.
(The case continues below the photo)
"Raniere, who has cast a genius, has in fact been a manipulator, a criminal head of a cult organization involved in sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion, foreclosure, trademark, degradation and humiliation," said American lawyer Richard Donoghue . The Guardian after the jury solved the question of guilt.
Raniere, who has always denied the punishment, did not explain during the trial. The 58-year-old man, who has to wait until September 25 before the sentence is ready, risks his life in prison.