THE woman who co-founded the twisted NXIVM sex cult broke down in tears as she pleaded guilty to racketeering.
Nancy Salzman admitted teaming up with self-styled guru Keith Raniere, to run the group which allegedly brainwashed women into becoming sex slaves and branded them.
NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman has pleaded guilty to racketeering[/caption]
During Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors accused Raniere of raping two underage women for years and taking photos of one of the girls, then aged 15, performing a sex act.
Several women, including ex-Smallville star Allison Mack and Seagram liquor heir Clare Bronfman, allegedly helped run the operation and are awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
In some cases, NXIVM leaders branded women with Raniere’s initials and blackmailed them with sensitive material, such as naked photos.
Salzman told a judge in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday that she set up the group with Raniere because she wanted to help people improve their lives.
But she admitted that she later lost her way when she joined efforts to spy on perceived enemies seeking to expose the Albany-based group as a cross between a pyramid scheme and a cult.
“It has taken some time and soul searching to come to this place,” said Salzman, choking back tears.
“I accept that some of what I did was not just wrong, but criminal. … If I could go back and do it all over again, I would. But I can’t.”
She also apologised to her daughter and co-defendant, Lauren.
“I am deeply sorry for the trouble I have brought to my daughter,” she said.
FACES 20 YEARS IN JAIL
Salzman did this without a plea deal in place and said she was eager to begin atoning for hers sins, with her crime carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
“I am pleading guilty because I am in fact guilty,” Salzman said.
“I got involved with NXIVM because I believed we would be helping people, and I still believe some good came out of it.”
The judge scheduled her sentencing for July, and it is unclear if she will now be testifying against her former co-defendants in the case.
Salzman, a registered nurse who was known as “Prefect” within NXIVM, was involved in stealing identities of the group’s critics and hacking into their email accounts from 2003 to 2008, prosecutors said.
They also alleged that she conspired to doctor videotapes showing her teaching NXIVM’s lessons before the tapes were turned over to plaintiffs in a New Jersey lawsuit against the group.
The plea comes about six weeks before Raniere’s trial, expected to detail allegations that a master-slave society within NXIVM brainwashed women into having unwanted sex with him.
CHILD SEX CLAIMS
On Wednesday, prosecutors unsealed an indictment against Raniere accusing him of twice inducing a minor to “engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing one or more visual depictions of such conduct” in 2005.
In a statement on Wednesday, defense attorney Marc Agnifilo denied the new allegations and questioned the timing with his client nearing trial on other charges.
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Raniere, 58, was arrested in Mexico in 2018 and is being held without bail in Brooklyn on sex-trafficking charges.
At the time of his capture, Mack was living with him at a luxury villa in Puerto Vallarta, according to court papers.
Sentencing for Salzman was set for July 10.
Allison Mack in awaiting trial for her alleged role in a sex trafficking cult[/caption]