Witness says she was forced into sex act with self-help guru

Witness says she was forced into sex act with self-help guru
In this courtroom drawing, defendant Keith Raniere, center, is seated between his attorneys Paul DerOhannesian, left, and Marc Agnifilo during the first day of his sex trafficking trial, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Raniere, the former leader of the self help group called NXIVM, has pleaded not guilty to the charges that he turned his followers into sex slaves. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman has told a jury she was forced to perform a sex act with the leader of a secretive upstate New York self-help group.

The witness gave the graphic testimony Wednesday at the federal trial of Keith Raniere (rah-NEER’-ee).

The woman described her experiences as a member of a master-slave society within NXIVM (NEX’-ee-um), a group that’s been compared to a cult.

She says after her designated master ordered her to meet Raniere in private, he had her strip and performed oral sex on her. She said she was ashamed but didn’t think she had a choice.

The woman was allowed to testify only using her first name to protect her privacy.

Raniere has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges. He insists his sexual encounters with followers were consensual.