NXIVM doctor who branded women loses medical license

Posted at 5:12 PM, October 1, 2021 and last updated 7:43 AM, July 5, 2023

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York health officials have revoked the medical license of a doctor with the cult-like group NXIVM who branded 17 women with the initials of the group’s leader, Keith Raniere.

A health department hearing committee sustained multiple of counts of professional misconduct against Danielle Roberts, who belonged to a secret women’s group within NXIVM called DOS that required a “vow of obedience” between master and slave.

FILE – In this Tuesday, May 7, 2019, file courtroom drawing, defendant Keith Raniere, center, leader of the secretive group NXIVM, is seated between his attorneys Paul DerOhannesian, left, and Marc Agnifilo during the first day of his sex trafficking trial. Raniere, a self-improvement guru whose organization NXIVM attracted millionaires and actresses among its adherents, turned some female followers into sex slaves branded with his initials. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, File)

Many of the counts stem from Roberts using a cauterizing device to brand “KAR” on the women in their pelvic region without anesthesia “to intentionally cause them pain,” according to the decision released this week.

The brands were meant to symbolize the women’s status as sex slaves for the now imprisoned self-help guru.

Roberts deviated from the standard of care and “dangerously operated” the branding device on the women, according to the decision first reported by the Times-Union of Albany.

The committee said Roberts was evasive and defiant during her testimony. Roberts “denies being brainwashed, yet she expressed no real remorse, which represented to the hearing committee her distorted reality and the very real concern that others remain vulnerable to her future brandings,” according to the decision.

Her attorney, Anthony Scher, said Friday they were likely to appeal the decision.

“The evidence in the case was overwhelming that she was not practicing medicine and therefore the normal standards that apply to medical practice don’t apply,” Scher said.

Raniere — known to members of the upstate New York organization as “Vanguard” and “the smartest man in the world” — was sentenced last year to 120 years in prison for his conviction on racketeering conspiracy and other charges.

NXIVM, whose followers included millionaires and Hollywood actors, was the subject of two TV documentary series last year, HBO’s “The Vow,” and the Starz series “Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult.”