A key suspect in the major NXIVM case has pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy and admitted that she kept a woman as a slave.
The New York Post reports that Lauren Salzman, the daughter of NXIVM president and co-founder Nancy Salzman, made the plea last week in an unannounced court hearing. Per the Post, she made a number of shocking admissions: She first revealed that from March 2010 to April 2012, she had “knowingly and intentionally harbored” an unnamed woman in a locked room and threatened to deport her to Mexico when she “did not complete labor requested by [herself] and others.” Salzman also admitted to being a member of DOS, a sorority within NXIVM that allegedly brands women with founder Keith Raniere’s initials.
Salzman’s confessions line up with a number of allegations against NXIVM, which purports to be a “self-help” organization focused on empowering women. But prosecutors and those familiar with the group paint a different picture: that it was in fact a cult that recruited, groomed, and blackmailed sexual partners for Raniere, who went by the name “Vanguard.” Publications including the New York Times had investigated the group’s criminal activity before 2018, but it wasn’t until Raniere was arrested and charged with sex trafficking in March of that year that the organization slowly started to crumble.
In court, Salzman expressed regret for her involvement, saying, “I’m very sorry for my poor decision-making and decisions that result in the harm to others and not the just victims in this case but to hundreds of members of our community and their friends and families as well.”
Salzman’s secret court appearance comes two weeks after her mother became the first person in the NXIVM case to be convicted when she pleaded guilty to her own racketeering charge. And, like her daughter, Nancy didn’t deny the allegations against her, saying through tears, “It has taken me some time and some soul-searching to come to this place.”
Those still awaiting trial are founder Raniere, who was recently hit with an additional child pornography charge after prosecutors alleged that he recorded sexual acts that he coerced a girl into; actress Allison Mack, who claims she came up with the branding ritual and has been charged with sex trafficking; and Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and former bookkeeper Kathy Russell, both of whom are facing racketeering conspiracy charges for their alleged involvement.
Salzman now faces up to 20 years jail time, but that sentence could be shortened if she cooperates against those still awaiting trial — a possibility that those who have been closely following the case are speculating.