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NXIVM doctor who branded women still practicing during investigation

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Sep 28, 2018, 12:03 PM EDT

Dr. Danielle Roberts, a woman who has been accused of branding women involved in the so-called NXIVM “sex cult” DOS, is reportedly still practicing medicine, making public appearances, and attempting to recruit new members to the group.

That’s according to a recent report from The Daily Beast, which says that, despite claims from The Daily Mail, Dr. Roberts has not yet been cleared by the state of New York for her role in in the organization. Dr. Roberts was named earlier this year following the arrests of NXIVM founder, Keith Raniere and actress Allison Mack, both of whom face sex trafficking and sexual slavery charges after they were arrested and accused of grooming women to enter into a non-consensual sexual relationship with Raniere. That grooming involved a strict diet and specific hygiene practices to make themselves more in line with Raniere’s personal tastes, as well as the searing of a brand into the skin above their hip. A graphic description of this process was at the core of the New York Times piece which first brought these allegations to light.

It is that branding process for which Dr. Roberts reportedly faces a review by the New York State Department of Health. The State told The Daily Beast that it could not confirm or deny any ongoing investigation and Dr. Roberts so far faces no criminal charges. Roberts was named by DOS member Sarah Edmondson, who said Roberts was the one holding the cauterizing iron during the branding ceremony. Edmondson reportedly filed a complaint with the New York Department of Health back when she first made her claims against the organization but was told that the department could not take action as she was not officially acting as Edmondson’s doctor at the time.

Mack and Raniere, who are listed as co-defendants on court documents, were arrested back in April of 2018 and face multiple counts of sex trafficking and sex slavery, among others. Both also face racketeering charges, along with other NXIVM leadership, for recruiting members to the organization that functions very much like a pyramid scheme. NXIVM’s recruitment, however, doesn’t end with the core organization. Several smaller groups have been set up by NXIVM leadership, including Raniere and Mack, as a means of recruiting members to the organization without directly using its name. Among those are groups like Jness (a “women’s empowerment group” to which Mack attempted to recruit several prominent celebrities), a number of self-help and real estate companies, and a company called “exo/eso” which was founded by Dr. Roberts. These companies and groups are listed in court documents as being “affiliated in any way with Keith Raniere, his teachings, his purported technology, his purported tools, or Allison Mack.

Roberts still lists exo/eso on her CV, a self-help organization which is described as a “program designed to build total mastery over the physical, emotional and thought components of human performance.” This program carries a price tag of $750 per class. According to the Daily Mail, Roberts will also be appearing at a New York medical conference called Navel Expo where she is expected to promote membership in the group. Alex Lubarsky, the founder of the conference, spoke with The Daily Beast about the allegations against Dr. Roberts and remains supportive of her, explaining that he has known her for years and “just couldn’t believe she would do something intentionally sinister.” Lubarsky also pointed out that Dr. Roberts would be “speaking not on behalf of whatever other organization she was involved with, she’s speaking as a physician who’s focused on human optimization. That’s the only part of Dr. Roberts that I’m interested in.”

According to The Daily Beast, the Navel Expo materials contain no reference to NXIVM and the exo/eso website no longer exists, but a whistleblower and former attorney for the group claims exo/eso is a direct recruitment tool for NXIVM, chosen by Raniere to be its face and lend creditability. Other anonymous sources credited in the article also confirm its link to NXIVM and Mack appears in a trailer for the program.

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