They joined NXIVM hoping to secure an improved life. But when they left the organization, they found themselves entangled in the court system, bankrupt and in one case suicidal.
Some people who have defected from NXIVM have said the same leaders who preach humanitarianism are also master intimidators who will wring out opponents with years of litigation, use private investigators to bully and urge the government to pursue charges against those they believe have crossed them.
“They’ll go to the ends of the earth to destroy you,” Susan Dones, who once established a NXIVM training site in Washington state but broke away from the group in 2009, said in court last fall. She and her partner and former NXIVM trainer Kim Woolhouse were representing themselves against NXIVM’s claims they had violated their confidentiality agreements with the organization.