What it feels like to get branded by a sex cult

The New York Post/May 20, 2019

By Emily Saul and Kate Sheehy

Getting branded by a sex cult is as excruciating as you might think.

“It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced,’’ Nxivm slave master Lauren Salzman testified Monday in Brooklyn federal court.

Salzman, 42, detailed how she had the initials of accused sex-cult leader Keith Raniere seared into her during a disturbing videotaped ceremony in January 2017.

Salzman said she was led to a massage table in a room in “Smallville’’ TV actress Allison Mack’s upstate home and had a stencil of “KR’’ put on her hip right above her bikini line.

She then recited, “Master, please brand me.

“It would be an honor, an honor I want to wear for the rest of my life.”

Salzman said she remained clothed — unlike other branded slaves, who were naked for their ceremonies — because the “doctor’’ who performed the procedure on her was below her in rank in the cult.

But “there was an error,’’ the slave master recalled.

While Raniere’s initials were supposed to be about 1-inch-by-1-inch in size, her branding ended up more than twice that, said Salzman, who is testifying at Raniere’s sex trafficking trial. She has already pleaded guilty in the case.

Salzman said there was heavy pressure to recruit more slaves to the cult, and she quickly landed one.

She said Raniere told her of the recruit, “She’s your slave now.

“And he had told me that means if you tell her she has to have sex with another man, not her husband, she has to do that. If you tell her she has to have another man’s child, she has to do it.”
Salzman said that when she had her first own slaves branded, she wanted the occasion to be extra special.

She brought them to her home, “led them downstairs, got them in a circle in the living room.

“I did a candle-lighting ceremony,’’ Salzman testified, saying they next shared dinner before heading to Mack’s home for the branding.

But it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns.

Her first slave, Jimena, “was squirming and squealing,’’ Salzman said.

“It scared the other girls,’’ she said. “She asked for a cloth to bite down.’’

The women received a larger branding than usual, just like Salzman’s, she said.

After the women were branded, Salzman said, they all had dinner then went to Mack’s house.

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