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Nancy Salzman, the co-founder of the disgraced self-help group NXIVM, has been sentenced to three and half years in prison.
The 66-year-old former president of the group, who came to be known as “Prefect” by members, pleaded guilty in 2019 to a racketeering charge for stealing personal information of the group's critics and hacking into their email accounts from 2003 to 2008. She also admitted to attempting to alter footage and records due to a lawsuit against the organization.
Salzman apologized in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday prior to her sentencing for her allegiance with former NXIVM leader Keith Raniere.
“I am horrified and ashamed that I promoted ... him,” she said, according to the New York Daily News.
The day before Salzman’s sentencing, her attorneys David Stern and Robert A. Soloway tried to paint her as one of Raniere’s many victims, claiming that she “has been fooled, controlled, humiliated, and ultimately led to engage in criminal conduct by an egotistical, self-important, sex fiend.”
Some former NXIVM members are celebrating the sentence.
“It’s a wonderful day in Brooklyn NY,” Toni Natalie, the ex-girlfriend of Raniere, tweeted on Wednesday. ”Nancy Salzman was sentenced to 42 months in a federal prison. Her prison sentence will begin January 19, 2022, not soon enough!”
Natalie was one of the first people to blow the whistle on Raniere. She began publicly speaking up against him in 2010, years before it became common knowledge that Raniere was running a sex cult within NXIVM. Then, the group battled her in court for years.
In the tweet, she included a photograph of herself smiling alongside a happy-looking Susan Dones and Stanley Zareff, a representative for India Oxenberg. Oxenberg was indoctrinated into the group’s inner sex cult, known as DOS, where she became a “slave.” Dones, another former member, told Oxygen.com last year that Salzman asked her in 2008 if she would cover for the group's crimes and she declined. She then left the group only to be embroiled in court battles with them for nearly a year.
The sentencing came on Wednesday after several of Salzman’s victims testified about her abuse, the Daily Beast reports.
Sarah Edmondson, a former NXIVM recruiter who later became a vocal opponent of the group, told Salzman through a video statement that she is “not sure you will ever understand how your lies and faulty teachings affected me and others.”
The former DOS survivor added, “I still have dreams about you where I’m being punished by you for something trivial and I can’t speak up for fear of public shaming."
Salzman’s daughter, former NXIVM recruiter Lauren Salzman, was also present in the courtroom. Lauren was sentenced to probation in July after also pleading guilty to racketeering charges and admitting to keeping a slave confined to a room for years.
The elder Salzman is not the only member of NXIVM to be sentenced to prison. Raniere was convicted for racketeering, sex trafficking, and other charges in 2019. He was sentenced to 120 years in 2020. Allison Mack, another former high ranking member, was sentenced to three years in June.
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