NXIVM defector Lauren Salzman to be sentenced in July

Albany Times-Union/May 28, 2021

By Robert Gavin

New York — Lauren Salzman, a high-ranking NXIVM defector whose damning testimony helped convict reputed cult leader Keith Raniere on all charges in 2019, is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on July 28.

Salzman, 44, the daughter of NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman and the former director of education in the shadowy human development organization based in Colonie, will be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis at 11 a.m., court documents show.

Salzman, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges in April 2019, became a star witness for federal prosecutors in Brooklyn over four days of testimony. In at times tearful testimony, the longtime Halfmoon woman told jurors that Raniere had been her teacher, mentor and lover – and an inflictor of emotional cruelty who held, then withheld, the possibility of fathering a child over her. 

Salzman, who was in NXIVM's Executive Success Programs (ESP) for nearly two decades, testified that she had been with Raniere in a $10,000-a-week resort when authorities in Mexico arrested the wanted guru on March 25, 2018. Salzman said she faced soldiers pointing four machine guns at her head. Raniere, known within NXIVM as "Vanguard," the most ethical man in the world,  hid in a walk-in closet, she said.

"It never occurred to me that I would choose Keith — and Keith would choose Keith," Salzman testified.

Raniere had fled to Mexico in late 2017 after the existence of his secret "master/slave" group, Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), in which female "slaves" took lifetime vows of obedience to "masters," was exposed, initially by blogger Frank Parlato and then the New York Times.

Former DOS member Sarah Edmondson, a longtime close friend to Salzman and later her "slave" in DOS, revealed that some women in the group., including her, had been physically branded on their pelvic areas with a symbol they later learned was Raniere's initials. Brandings were performed without anesthesia by a person using a cauterizing pen.

Salzman’s sentencing announcement follows the recently announced June 30 sentencing of another high-ranking former NXIVM official, actress Allison Mack, 38, formerly of Halfmoon. Salzman and Mack were among the eight women who formed the "first-line" of DOS. Women in the group — also known as "The Vow" — were required to repeatedly hand over collateral, such as humiliating information about themselves or family  members that often was untrue.

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