NXIVM Leader Keith Raniere Hit With Child Pornography Charges, Co-Founder Nancy Salzman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

Image: AP

There’s been a major update in the ongoing criminal trials surrounding NXIVM, the self-help organization and alleged “sex cult” that reportedly branded women with the initials of their leader Keith Raniere and forced them to offer up life-destroying collateral should they ever speak out publicly against the group. Nancy Salzman, the registered nurse who co-founded the group with Raniere, has plead guilty to conspiracy during a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Her sentencing is set for July 10.

Salzman teamed up with Raniere to form what she assumed was going to be a totally legitimate self-help organization, but quickly became involved in criminal activities to protect it. She admitted to stealking the identities of people looking to expose the group, hacking into their emails from 2003-2008, and tried to edit videos illuminating her criminal activities before they were surrender to plaintiffs in New Jersey. Salzman told the courtroom:

“It has taken some time and soul searching to come to this place. 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.”

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Hours after Salzman entered her guilty plea, federal prosecutors brought new child pornography charges against Raniere, alleging he had images of sexual relationships with two underage girls. One of them was 15 years old, NBC reports. He is scheduled to go on trial next month.

Clare Bronfman, heir to the Seagram liquor fortune, was arrested for racketeering conspiracy related to her involvement with the organization last summer. Allison Mack, Smallville actor and allegedly Raniere’s right-hand, was arrested last Spring on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy related to NXIVM. If convicted, she faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

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Maria Sherman

Senior Writer, Jezebel. Opinions expressed here do not reflect my own.