Police in the northern Italian town of Novara raided properties believed to be operated by an alleged sex cult. An investigation into the cult was launched two years ago after a former member reported the group's activities. An unnamed 77-year-old man is believed to be the leader of the organisation. The group reportedly targeted young women who were eventually indoctrinated and abused. Even though the police raided a number of properties associated with the organisation, they have not announced any arrests.
On Sunday, July 19 police raided multiple businesses and properties that operated on behalf of the unnamed cult. Police were informed of the cult's existence by a former member who claimed that she was forced into slavery by the group. Apart from properties at Novara, police also raided locations in Milan and Pavia provinces. Though the police have not announced their findings, the activities of the cult have been revealed.
The pyramidal organisation was headed by the elderly leader who was referred to as "He" or "The Doctor" by the cult members. Women who were a part of the cult referred to each other as "beasts." The "beasts" were not allowed to utter the name of their leader. The followers of "The Doctor" treated him like a God. He dictated and controlled every aspect of his followers' lives.
According to Il Messaggero, the cult targeted young and rich women. They also reportedly targeted minors and forced them into sexual slavery. Using businesses like dance schools, herbalists, craft shops and a publishing house, the organisation drew in new members. The police revealed that many psychologists worked closely with the leader to identify easy targets and brainwash them into becoming members.
The cult used various methods to make the women dependent on them. By forcing the women to cut off ties with friends and family outside the cult, they isolated the vulnerable women. Many of the female members paid large sums of money to become members.
Once indoctrinated, the women often underwent sexual torture and abuse which their leader convinced them would "light their inner fire." Police released a video of topless women in short skirts performing a dance as a part of the cult's many rituals.
As the investigation remains ongoing, the police have not revealed the identity of the leader and the members of the cult.