Slave master Lauren Salzman says of Keith Rainiere, 58, accused of sex trafficking and other charges: He was my mentor
A top” slave master” in the alleged sexuality cult Nxivm said in testimony on Friday she herself was sexually and psychologically enslaved by Keith Raniere, the sole defendant in a sex-trafficking trial that has produced a rolled tableau of alleged debauchery and cruelty.
Such was Raniere’s control over his adherents, Lauren Salzman said, they came to accept claims about his ability to control the weather or to disable electronics. It was rumoured, she said, that Raniere could stroll through a rain shower without getting wet.
” He would say that his technology was acting up and that he had these types of problems ,” Salzman witnessed.” That it was something special about him. That it was his energy. His impact on the world countries .”
Nxivm, pronounced “Nexium”, operated in New York country and was ostensibly devoted to wellness and personal developing. Within it, however, there was allegedly an inner organisation of ” masters” and “slaves” devoted to Raniere’s sex gratification.
Raniere, 58, was arrested in March 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy, identity stealing, extortion, forced labor, money laundering, wire fraud and sex trafficking. In federal court in Brooklyn on Friday, he watched impassively as prosecutors questioned a former senior aide.
Lauren Salzman, daughter of the group co-founder Nancy Salzman, said that for many years Raniere, who was known to followers as Vanguard or sometimes Grandmaster, was the most important person in her life.
” He was my mentor ,” she said.” School teachers. We had a romantic relationship. A physical and sexual relationship .”
Salzman said the relationship began when she was 21, in 1995. Over time, she said, she became a member of a secret society within Nxivm known as ” DOS” which arranged adherents into a hierarchical order of “masters” and “slaves”, focused on sex obedience to Raniere. Salzman said she was a” first-line slave” who answered directly to the leader.
” I was a slave with Keith as my master ,” Salzman said.” I had other slaves under me .”
Jurors were proven photographs of women ” branded” with Raniere’s initials. Group member Marc Vicente testified that the pictures were kept in an online folder created by the actor Allison Mack, a group member. DOS members were allegedly warned that if they broke with or irritated Raniere, the pictures would be released to families and the press.
Salzman testified that when Raniere could not attend DOS meetings, she and other women were directed toward take nude photographs of themselves and send them to him.
When Raniere was present, she said, followers would strip naked and sit on the floor in front of him while he held tribunal, fully clothed, describing objectives and projects such as a volume or a new dungeon.
Over the course of their 17 -year relationship, she said, Raniere took closeup photographs of her genitalia and forced her into threesomes with other alleged slaves, including Mack.
” Initially, I participated because I was curious ,” she said. Later, she said, she participated because” he wanted that “.
Prosecutors have repeatedly sought to describe Raniere’s hold over his adherents. Witnesses have testified that adherence to his wants often came with strict weight-control guidelines. Saltzman told jurors Raniere gave her a target of 100 lb.
Vicente told the court he had grown concerned about Mack’s weight loss. Raniere’s matter-of-fact reply, he said, was:” Well, I’m trying to break her .”
Salzman and co-defendants including her mother, who was known as ” Prefect”, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and Mack have pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from visa fraud to racketeering. Vicente testified that Bronfman, an important group benefactor, was once forced to wear a jock strap, for misbehaving.
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