What’s life like for Lauren Salzman after the NXIVM cult?
Lauren Salzman, daughter of NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman, worked her way up quickly through the ranks. She wasn’t just another member, she was high up in the inner-circle and a very sought-out coach & teacher within the group. However, as she climbed NXIVM’s ladder, a dark side emerged.
Lauren Salzman had a funny streak and a heartwarming personality. She was a great coach because she made lessons relatable and broke down NXIVM’s concepts in an understandable way. Since she was so bubbly & warm, there’s nothing her best friend in NXIVM, Canadian actress Sarah Edmonson wouldn’t do for her, including joining DOS.
Lauren Salzman in DOS
Those of you who watch HBO’s The Vow (or followed the NXIVM case) will know that DOS was the sex-slave pyramid scheme nestled within NXIVM where participants were called “slaves,” received brands & had every aspect of their lives micromanaged by their “masters,” including food intake.
The Vow shows texts between Sarah Edmonson & Lauren Salzman where Edmonson asks her “master” if it’s OK if she goes to sleep for the night! Edmonson recalls in The Vow that other slaves would run errands or do household chores for Salzman.
Lauren Salzman was also the one who brought Sarah Edmonson to Allison Mack’s house to get branded. This was Edmonson’s “wake-up” moment where she knew something was deeply wrong in NXIVM.
Lauren Salzman was also a slave
While The Vow doesn’t say for sure, Sarah Edmonson suspected that Lauren Salzman was Allison Mack’s slave. Mack starred on Smallville and was considered the top of DOS, along with founder Keith Raniere. The way DOS worked was that it billed itself as a female empowerment group but really, it was a sex trafficking pyramid scheme.
In DOS, a “master” would recruit six slaves in their pod and then push their slaves to recruit their own slaves, becoming “masters” in turn. The “slaves” would have to serve their masters with petty chores, errands, and check-in with their masters three to four times a day. Masters like Lauren Salzman heavily pushed recruitment.
DOS members also had to put up “collateral,” or explicit photos & videos of themselves that their “masters” could blackmail them with if they didn’t comply. The Vow shows that this was more than a one-time thing. Masters would ask for new collateral monthly, sometimes weekly.
Was Lauren Salzman arrested like Allison Mack?
After Sarah Edmonson was branded, she left NXIVM. She warned the members taking over the Vancouver Center, which she previously ran, about the group, and to not let them in. She knew her “collateral” was probably already exposed, but she didn’t care (phone conversations in The Vow show Edmonson asking Salzman to destroy it, but it’s clear Edmonson didn’t believe her). She wanted out.
Edmonson went to The New York Times to expose NXIVM & DOS. From there, several former members like documentarian Mark Vicente and NXIVM’s former publicist Frank Parlato came forward to expose NXIVM. After several exposes and a federal investigation, NXIVM’s ringleaders, including Raniere & Mack, were arrested.
In the investigation, it came out that Lauren Salzman’s crimes were particularly heinous. She kept one of her slaves locked in a room for two years for failing to comply. She threatened to deport her slave, a Mexican citizen if she didn’t comply. For these crimes, Salzman was arrested & charged.
Lauren Salzman’s life today
Lauren Salzman had twenty-two slaves when she was exposed & arrested, according to the New York Times. Like Allison Mack, she pled guilty to racketeering & racketeering conspiracy. She was supposed to be sentenced in 2019, and could face up to twenty years behind bars for her part in NXIVM.
Alas, Salzman still awaits her sentence a year later, partly due to court closures amid COVID-19. She’s under house arrest with an ankle bracelet tracking her movements. The only person in NXIVM she’s allowed contact with is her mother, Nancy. She tried to argue for some restrictions to be lifted per Bustle, but a judge denied her request.
According to Frank Parlato, the judge may be considering “upward departure” for some NXIVM members. In Clare Bronfman’s case, the judge will use this legal guidance to extend her sentence from months to years. It’s possible the same sentencing guidelines are being considered for Lauren Salzman, Allison Mack, and others involved in this horrible scheme.