High-Ranking NXIVM Member Avoids Prison After Helping Secure Sex Cult Leader’s Conviction
‘This almost destroyed me,’ Lauren Salzman told the court about the role she played in Keith Raniere’s group.
A former high-ranking NXIVM member has avoided prison time after she worked closely with prosecutors and testified against the cult’s leader, Keith Raniere.
On July 28 in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis sentenced 45-year-old Lauren Salzman, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges and has been on home confinement, to five years of probation and 300 hours of community service.
In a memorandum, prosecutors requested leniency for Salzman, crediting her for her four days of “credible, detailed” testimony during Raniere’s 2019 trial that “substantially contributed” to his conviction and 120-year sentence on sex trafficking and other charges.
Salzman could have received up to nine years behind bars.
On the latest episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast, we're taking a dive deep into the world of NXIVM, days before actress Allison Mack’s sentencing in connection with the cult. Listen to the full episode: https://t.co/3Va6Tw2mfy pic.twitter.com/eqxsMxrrJ7— People (@people) June 28, 2021
“The defendant helped Keith Raniere implement some of the most twisted, manipulative and reprehensible schemes,” Judge Garaufis said at sentencing, according to The New York Times. “She is also herself a victim of Raniere and his depravity.”
Salzman first got involved with the cult in college when her mother and NXIVM co-founder, Nancy Salzman, encouraged her to take courses in order to unlock her potential in life, defense attorneys noted in a pre-sentencing memorandum, CNN reported.
Salzman’s mother has pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy. She will be sentenced on September 8.
Lauren Salzman eventually went on to become part of Raniere’s inner circle and have a years-long sexual relationship with him.
“I do not have enough tears for how deeply sad, ashamed and regretful I feel about my time with Keith Raniere and my participation in his wrongful initiatives,” Salzman wrote the judge in a pre-sentencing letter. “I can’t even begin to imagine the pain, feelings of betrayal, feelings of violation and lasting emotional trauma that the victims have experienced.”
“The manipulation and years of abuse that I participated in and was complicit in became very clear,” continued Salzman, adding: “This almost destroyed me, but it also gave me a clear path and direction.”
Salzman now works with dogs and said she is “finally in a stable and consistently positive and progressive situation.”
“I feel proud of my choices and relieved to finally have a life that is my own, an experience I never had prior to now,” she wrote.
For more on the now defunct NXIVM cult and its founder Keith Raniere, stream The Lost Women of NXIVM now on discovery+.