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Doctor tied to NXIVM sex cult has medical license revoked

A New York doctor who performed unsanctioned research on people as part of his alleged connection to NXIVM, a cult-like group that kept women as virtual sex prisoners, had his medical license revoked Tuesday.

Brandon B. Porter, a former doctor at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, violated 40 state and federal regulations, according to an investigation against him by the New York Department of Health. The department’s investigation into Porter found that the doctor not only conducted unlicensed “human subject research,” but that he failed to obtain proper consent from people or keep records from his supposed studies.

Between 2010 and 2017, Porter allegedly performed unsanctioned neurological research on more than 200 “subjects” to study psychological responses to certain stimuli as part of NXIVM’s studies into Tourette’s syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and “Executive Success Program” for self-betterment, according to the department’s investigation.

In one study, dubbed the “Fright Study,” Porter forced his subjects to watch violent and “horrific” video clips, including footage of four women being dismembered with a machete and a conscious male being forced to eat his own brain matter.

“The Respondent, who knew or should have known that human subjects participating in the Fright Study could have been caused mental pain and suffering, and/or psychological injury while viewing the disturbing and violent actual video and film clips, failed to terminate such study,” the department of health said in its investigation.

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The Fright Study was one of many projects tied to NXIVM in which Porter failed to obtain approval from a Health Research Review Committee (HRRC), failed to obtain written consent of the subject, failed to inform subjects of the possible risks to the study, and failed to submit reports to the New York Department of Health’s independent review board.

The investigation into Porter alleges that he joined NXIVM in 2001 and relocated to the organization’s base in Albany, New York, in 2009. Porter admitted to the administrators at St. Peter’s Hospital in September of 2017 that he conducted studies for NXIVM without institutional review board approval and without proper research training, according to the health department’s investigation.

Porter resigned from the hospital a month later.

NXIVM leader Keith Raniere, 58, was convicted in June of racketeering, sex trafficking and possession of child pornography related to his work with the group, which was purported to be a self-help group.

Federal prosecutors said that Raniere created a secret sorority called DOS within NXIVM in which female “slaves” turned over compromising materials that were used to blackmail and force them into sex.

The hearing committee tasked with reviewing Porter’s case called his studies meaningless and that they preyed on some NXIVM members who “expressed vulnerabilities when joining the organization, such as ‘rough’ times and periods of ‘high stress’ in their lives.”

“The Respondent betrayed the trust and confidence the subjects placed in him based on his status as a respected physician when he abandoned his oath by taking inadequate care of them,” the hearing committee said in its decision to revoke Porter’s license.

Porter has a month from the committee’s decision to appeal the revocation of his license. A lawyer for Porter did not immediately return a request for comment from NBC News.


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