As we wait for the sentencing dates for Allison Mack, Keith Raniere, and Nancy and Lauren Salzman – and the actual sentencing of the already-scheduled Clare Bronfman and Kathy Russell – it is instructive to cull some gems from the trial of Raniere.
Here is one: Both Allison Mack and her spouse, Nicki Clyne – both DOS slave masters in the scurrilous Nxivm cult – reveled in assigning their female slaves to seduce their master – Raniere, who was known also as Vanguard.
Monday, May 20.
The trial of Keith Alan Raniere in Brooklyn federal court.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis presiding. Lauren Salzman is on the witness stand. Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar is doing the examination.
Lauren is talking about DOS – the master-slave group Raniere created as a women’s empowerment group. It is a group of women who are all slaves to one man, Raniere.
Lauren spoke about how she went to see Allison Mack in San Diego where she was appearing in a play.
A I was in San Diego – I was invited, Allison was in a play in San Diego, and I went to see her in the play. And I invited Audrey and Amanda [two of Lauren’s slaves] to come with me.
Q And when was this approximately?
A In April of 2017.
It turned out that Lauren was perhaps not the best slave master since she was at times not strict enough with her slaves.
It so happened that one of them failed in a “Readiness Drill” – a requirement of the slaves to all respond – within 60 seconds – of being texted. Showing that they were ready for commands at any time.
The drills began with Raniere texting his eight first line slaves and they, in turn, texting their slaves. It could happen anytime day or night and all the slaves had to respond to their master within 60 seconds or the whole group could be punished.
One of the punishments Raniere devised was a bare ass paddling – meant to hurt.
Q And what was this paddling of penance for?
A Failure of readiness.
Q Which meant what exactly?
A That they failed to get all of the people in their line reporting in for readiness in the one-minute time frame.
Q To your knowledge, did Audrey, in fact, get a paddling penance for failing?
A Yes, she did.
Q How do you know that?
A Because I saw her take it. I was in the room with her.
Q Were there other times where – that Audrey was paddled or paddled others?
A Yes. Audrey and C— took a paddling penance that I was unaware that they were going to take it at the time, but they sent me videos of it.
Lauren explained more about her visit to Allison in San Diego.
So we had arrived in San Diego, and Allison started pointing out areas where my slaves were failing…. I was getting a lot of feedback from Allison that I was not doing a good job as a master.
And so when I received the text from [my slave] Audrey about at being at the garden [where they were to meet]… Allison told me that she would have said [if it was her slave] “are you rushing me?”.
So I wrote [to my slave]: “Are you rushing me?”
I wanted to show Allison that I was a good master and willing to discipline my slaves and teach them how to be good slaves.
Lauren testified about many of the details of DOS and then AUSA Hajjar brought her to the sexual nature of DOS.
Q When you were first recruited into DOS, did you believe that DOS was sexual in nature?
Q Did you come to learn that there was a sexual component in DOS?
Q Can you give some examples of that?
A Well, naked pictures. Specifically, up-close vagina pictures that I think are sexual in nature. Paddling, I thought was sexual, it had a BDSM component. The dungeon was all BDSM equipment that I was told about. Seduction assignments, I think, are sexual in nature. And having sexual relationships or interactions with a slave is certainly sexual in nature.
Q Did there come a time where you learned that other first-line DOS masters had assigned their slaves to interact with the defendant?
A Yes, I did. … we were having a first-line DOS meeting, and we were talking about where in each of the … five enrollment stages… [where] each of the slaves were….
And Allison shared not only where everybody was in each of the five stages but that she had tasked a number of people [slaves] to do something she called “the assignment”. And I had never heard about the assignment.
And so I was like, “What’s the assignment?” … it turned out the assignment was that she had tasked them to seduce Keith…
Q Did you understand “seduce Keith” to be a sexual act?
A I interpreted it that way, yes, I did.
Q Was there more conversation about this assignment at that time?
A Not right then, but later we had more discussions about it.
Q Did you have a conversation with the defendant about it?
A I did. I went to him and asked him about it. And he told me that the purpose of the assignment was … for women to be able to have an experience with a man where the man could abuse power but didn’t, and that he thought that that would be a good experience for them to have, a growthful experience for them to have.
[In other words, Raniere told Lauren that he would turn down the slaves who came to seduce him – a blatant lie.]
Q And how did you take that?
A … I felt concerned about it, and I still felt that it was a type of abuse of power. Because I couldn’t imagine being a man and having a woman come and do things to try to seduce you and you not having some sort of experience of power in that situation.
But also if I imagine going to try to seduce a man who I didn’t have any sexual relationship with, especially if that man didn’t take me up on the offer, I would then have feelings toward that man. I would have feelings towards them once I tried to seduce them, even if didn’t have those feelings before, especially if he didn’t take advantage of the situation, I would like him more.
So I couldn’t imagine that not changing the interaction he was having with the slaves. But then I needed to believe also that he would never do that [have sex with the slaves assigned to seduce him] and that it was just him not abusing power and giving them a good experience and so then I … compartmentalized it and moved forward believing this is all good, and DOS is good and it can’t be … what I’m imagining … it’s just my fears…
Q Did you believe the defendant when he said that no sexual interaction would take place?
A I wanted to believe him. I wasn’t sure.
Q Did you have a later conversation with Allison Mack in San Diego?
A I did. Allison and I can’t recall the specific words that she said in the conversations we had in San Diego. But I came away from the conversations with her believing that Keith was having sex with all her slaves, based on all the assumptions that she was using and the way she was talking about things during the time we were there.
Q What happened after that?
A I came home and said to Keith: “Are you having sex with Allison’s slaves?
And he said: “No.”
And I said: “Why does she think you are?”
And he said: “Because I didn’t correct her.”
Q What did you understand that to mean?
A I understood it to mean that he was trying to be truth — like be right on the technicality. Because in my mind the next question was: “Well, how did she get that impression in the first place?” … I didn’t ask it, because I believe he knew what I was asking and specifically chose not to tell me the truth about it.
And so I believed that either he was lying to me in that moment or he was lying to Allison, but in either case, he was lying to somebody about this.
Q So what did you after you spoke to the defendant?
A I went back to Allison.
Q And what did you say?
A “ Is he fucking your slaves,” is what I said.
Q What did she say?
A She said: “Just Nicole* and Sukie. But we’re going to start working with India and Jay.”
And I said to her: “When you say working, do you mean fucking?”
And she said: “Yes.”
[* Nicole is Allison’s slave – and she is not Nicki Clyne. It is important to distinguish between Nicki Clyne and Nicole. Nicole was the slave who was blindfolded and tied to a bed while Raniere was present and Camilia Fernandez gave her oral sex without revealing her identity. It was part of the sex trafficking acts that convicted Raniere.]
Q What did you do after that [after she learned that Raniere had lied and was having sex with Allison’s slaves]?
A I suppressed my feelings about it and continued forward.
Q Did you later come to learn that Allison’s slaves were not the only ones to get the seduction assignment?
A Yes. I can’t remember the time frame, but at one first-line DOS meeting, I said something along the lines that Allison had been the only one who had assigned people this [seduction] assignment, and Nicki [Clyne] said: “no, she’s not.” And then I learned that other people have been tasking their slaves to do the assignment.
Q At some point did you learn that Nicki’s slaves had been tasked to that assignment?
Q Did you subsequently raise Nicole’s name with the defendant again?
A Yes, I did.
Q What was your conversation with him?
A … when I had asked him about the seduction assignment, was that it wasn’t always going to be him doing the seduction assignment; that at some point, somebody else was going to be doing the seduction assignment. And Cami [Fernandez] and I had a conversation about it at one point in time and I went to him and said “Camila and I were talking about who was going to be run the seduction assignment, and he said, “Nicole was going to be heading that testing.”
So it appears that Allison was willingly getting her slaves into the seduction assignment and so was Nicki Clyne, who is presently the leader of DOS.