US

NXIVM cofounder and Keith Raniere’s ‘second-in-command’ Nancy Salzman to be sentenced

NXIVM cofounder and Keith Raniere’s alleged ‘second-in-command’ Nancy Salzman has arrived at court where she will be sentenced for her part in the sex cult.

Salzman, 66, linked arms with two companions as she walked into Brooklyn federal court, New York, Wednesday morning, more than two years after she pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge. 

She is expected to face between 33 and 41 months in prison.   

NXIVM was founded by Raniere and Salzman as a purported self-help group and multi-level marketing company in Albany, New York, in the 1990s, offering personal improvement and professional development training programs. 

In 2015, a number of NXIVM employees entered into a secret society known as Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS) – a sex cult controlled by Raniere. 

As part of the secret master/slave club, women were branded, turned into his sex slaves, made to live off just 500 calories a day and forced to make a lifetime vow to obey their ‘masters’. 

Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison in October 2020 for charges including sex trafficking after being found guilty of turning cult followers into sex slaves and sexually abusing a 15-year-old.

A handful of other members of the sex cult have also been charged.

NXIVM cofounder and Keith Raniere’s alleged ‘second-in-command’ Nancy Salzman (center) arrived at court Wednesday

Salzman, 66, linked arms with two companions as she walked into Brooklyn federal court, New York, Wednesday morning where she will be sentenced for her part in the sex cult

Salzman, 66, linked arms with two companions as she walked into Brooklyn federal court, New York, Wednesday morning where she will be sentenced for her part in the sex cult

US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis will hand down Salzman’s sentencing Wednesday.  

Salzman’s attorneys have asked the judge that she be spared from any jail time and – at most – be sentenced to two years home confinement. 

In a last-ditch attempt for leniency, they claim in a court filing that she was also a victim of the sex cult leader Raniere who ‘fooled’ and ‘controlled’ her for ‘most of the past 20 years’.

Her attorneys argue Salzman was not aware of the existence of DOS until it was publicly exposed – something they say prosecutors also agree on. 

Salzman has shown ‘genuine remorse’ for her part in the cult, was the first member to plead guilty and turn her back on Raniere – helping encourage others to also plead guilty, her attorneys wrote in a court filing.  

However, prosecutors say Salzman, who was known as ‘Prefect’ to the cult members, was an enabler for Raniere’s criminal enterprise and helped him gain access to the female victims he controlled. 

They argue she tried to intimidate Raniere’s critics and should be handed a ‘substantial’ sentence. 

‘For years, Nancy Salzman attempted to investigate and intimidate perceived critics and enemies of Raniere,’ they wrote in a filing. 

Salzman’s daughter Lauren Salzman, 45, was also part of the cult and was spared jail time by the same judge in July. 

Lauren, Raniere’s longtime lover, was facing nine years behind bars after pleading guilty to charges of racketeering and conspiracy, but was instead sentenced to five years’ probation after her testimony helped put away her ex. 

Nancy introduced her daughter to Raniere and the two embarked on a long-term relationship.

Lauren became a ‘first line’ master in DOS and recruited numerous other women into the secret society.  

NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere (pictured) was jailed for 120 years last year

NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere (pictured) was jailed for 120 years last year

Raniere's initials K.A.R. were tattooed above the bikini lines of the members of the secret master-slave group DOS. Pictured a brand received by a female member

Raniere’s initials K.A.R. were tattooed above the bikini lines of the members of the secret master-slave group DOS. Pictured a brand received by a female member

Following her 2019 arrest, Lauren admitted to locking a young woman in a room and threatening to deport her to Mexico if she did not fulfill her duties to DOS. 

She also admitted to extorting the recruits by demanding ‘collateral’ in the form of nude photos that could be used as blackmail if they refused orders.  

Nancy had written a letter to Judge Garaufis pleading for him to be lenient with her daughter and taking responsibility for her daughter’s part in the cult.

‘I am responsible for Lauren being before you, having endured arrest, prosecution and successful cooperation, and now facing her own judgment,’ she wrote.   

Raniere, 60, was found guilty in Brooklyn federal court in June 2019 on charges that included sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, human trafficking and multiple counts of racketeering – including sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography, extortion and identity theft.

The sexual exploitation count relates to a girl who was just 15 when a 45-year-old Raniere had sex with her and took nude photos of her.  

Salzman's daughter Lauren Salzman, 45, was also part of the cult and was spared jail time in July. Lauren is seen leaving court flanked by her lawyer

Salzman’s daughter Lauren Salzman, 45, was also part of the cult and was spared jail time in July. Lauren is seen leaving court flanked by her lawyer

Smallville actress Alison Mack (pictured at her sentencing in June) was jailed for three years

Smallville actress Alison Mack (pictured at her sentencing in June) was jailed for three years

Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman, another prominent cult member, was sentenced to six years in prison in September

Dr Danielle Roberts, who branded the women, has never faced any charges

Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman (left), another prominent cult member, was sentenced to six years in prison in September 2020. Dr Danielle Roberts (right), who branded the women, has never faced any charges

The girl, who is now an adult, and her two sisters also fell pregnant by him and say he forced them to have abortions. 

He also punished young women including a teenager who he held in a bedroom for two years as punishment because she had gained weight and shown a romantic interest in another man. 

More than a dozen former DOS members testified at his trial that they were branded with Raniere’s initials K.A.R. above their bikini lines in their pubic region with an insignia during a nude ceremony.  

The symbol was carved using a cauterizing pen – a medical device used for surgeries to cut through flesh – while the women were held down naked on a table and were given no anaesthetic for the procedure.    

A federal judge sentenced him in October 2020 to spend the rest of his life in prison after 15 of his victims spoke or had victim impact statements read out in court. 

Many of the cult members also turned on their leader during their own cases.  

A sign outside the now-defunct NXIVM  headquarters is seen in Albany, New York

A sign outside the now-defunct NXIVM  headquarters is seen in Albany, New York

Smallville actress Alison Mack, who was a senior member of DOS, was sentenced to three years in prison in June after pleading guilty to sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy in April 2018.  

Mack admitted that at Raniere’s direction, she obtained compromising information and images of two unidentified women – called ‘collateral’ within the group – that she threatened to make public if they didn’t perform ‘so-called acts of love.’

Prosecutors also said Mack ordered victims ‘to perform labor, take nude photographs, and in some cases, to engage in sex acts with Raniere.’ 

Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman, another prominent cult member, was sentenced to six years in prison in September 2020 for conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, and to fraudulent use of identification.  

NXIVM’s longtime accountant Kathy Russell has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and will be sentenced later this year.  

Dr Danielle Roberts, who branded the women, has never faced any charges.       

THE NXIVM MEMBERS CHARGED IN SEX CULT CASE

Keith Raniere 

Charges: Racketeering conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit identity theft.

Plea: Not Guilty

Verdict: Guilty, all counts

Sentence: 120 years in prison 

 Clare Bronfman

Charges: Racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit identity theft

Plea: Guilty (plea deal)

Sentence: 81 months in prison and $500,000 fine

Allison Mack

Charges: Racketeering conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking

Plea: Guilty (plea deal)

Sentence: Three years in prison 

Kathy Russell

Charges: Racketeering conspiracy

Plea: Guilty (plea deal)

Lauren Salzman

Charges: Racketeering conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy

Plea: Guilty (plea deal)

Nancy Salzman

Charges: Racketeering conspiracy

Plea: Guilty


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