Former high-ranking NXIVM member Lauren Salzman has avoided prison time for her role in the cult.
While Salzman could have ended up serving seven to nine years behind bars, she was sentenced on Wednesday to time served, five years of probation, and 300 hours of community service.
Salzman had previously spent a number of years in home confinement, after pleading guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges in April of 2019.
Her mother, Nancy Salzman, co-founded NXIVM with Keith Raniere in 1998. While the younger Salzman was once a close confidante of Raniere’s, she would ultimately testify against him in his 2019 trial, proving key in securing his conviction. It appears that her cooperation (as the highest-ranking NXIVM member to take the stand) may have resulted in a lighter sentence.
“The defendant helped Keith Raniere implement some of the most twisted, manipulative and reprehensible schemes,” Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said of Salzman on Wednesday, according to the NY Times. “She is also herself a victim of Raniere and his depravity.”
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NXIVM claimed for many years to be a multi-level marketing company, centered around self-help. But that label belied much more sinister activity, on the part of Raniere, former Smallville actress Allison Mack, and other members, including sex trafficking, forced labor and racketeering.
The cult has recently served as the subject of a number of docuseries, including Starz’s Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult and HBO’s The Vow. In the latter, Lauren Salzman is shown recruiting female NXIVM members into DOS—a secret society, in which they were branded and forced into sexual slavery. One of the women Salzman recruited was Sarah Edmondson, who later helped bring NXIVM down, after sharing her story with The New York Times in 2017.
To date, three other NXIVM members have been sentenced. Seagram’s heir Clare Bronfman’s was sentenced to 81 months in prison last September. Raniere was sentenced to 120 years the following month. Mack’s sentence of three years came more recently, on June 30.
Nancy Salzman will be the next to go before the court, on September 8. The elder Salzman previously plead guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy.
A second season of The Vow was ordered last fall.
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