This is Part 19 of the Lauren Salzman’s series. We are studying her testimony to try to determine whether she is more victim or perpetrator. In this post, we learn a little more about Lauren and a lot more about Keith Raniere – and what Lauren and other followers were willing to do for him.
This is particularly interesting because it concerns Raniere’s minions, led by Lauren, forcibly holding a Mexican student in a sequestered place – in the fall of 2002 – when she was acting up – and forcing her to take drugs and also putting them in her eggs without her knowing it.
It was a criminal act – and Keith, Lauren, Nancy, and others were involved.
Why this is important is that this happened just a few weeks before another student in Alaska had a so-called psychotic breakdown – and disappeared after telling students that Keith Raniere had gotten her pregnant.
Readers know the name of that woman – she was Kristin Snyder.
And some believe she too was drugged – which may have accelerated her psychotic behavior. Now, Lauren is testifying that Keith and her mother told her to drug a troublesome student.
Lauren is testifying in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. She is a witness for the prosecution. AUSA Tanya Hajjar is examining her.
Q Ms. Salzman, did the defendant discuss an idea or any ideas about DOS in the future, the form it would take?
A To a degree at times. I mean, I think he envisioned that it would have, you know, thousands or, you know, a million — millions of people in it. That there would be actors, you know, so there would be different areas. He spoke a little bit about having like an area have somewhere in the neighborhood of like 300 members.
And there were ideas for group meetings and how to conceal identities during group meetings. So that you could maintain the secrecy and the type of silent-ism of the group, but still have interaction with people who weren’t part of the group.
Q Can you describe that further in terms of concealing their identity, what does that mean?
A Like if you’re going to attend a meeting and you would have a group meeting but everybody might be in masks, or you might have a pseudonym, or you might – like the first line DOS members had different brands than everybody else. So that those brands you might possibly cover with something that looked more uniform to everyone else.
Q Did the defendant ever talk about the effects DOS might have in the larger world?
A Possibly that we might be able to have a candidate – you know, a DOS candidate in like a high-level political office.
Q The DOS candidate means — in a collateralized vow?
Q Ms. Salzman, I want to go back to discuss your initial recruitment into DOS. You testified that was in January 2017?
Q Who first approached you about DOS?
A Keith first approached me.
Q And what did he say to you?
A He said that he wanted to make our relationship closer. He wanted to bring our relationship closer. And he asked me what I was willing to do for my growth and for my commitment to him.
Q What did you say?
A Anything. Anything. I’m fully committed to my growth and fully committed to you.
Q What did he say?
A He told me that there was something that some of the other girls were doing. He was not specific about who the girls were and — but that they wanted to invite me to something and that they were going to be approaching me. He and I had conversations over the next like 24, 36 hours, so I’m not sure exactly in which they took place in which conversation. But we had a number of conversations concerning my enrollment over the next two days.
Q At the time, were you responsible for running a NXIVM Coach Summit?
A I was, yes.
Q Just very briefly, what is a Coach Summit?
A A Coach Summit is an opportunity for the coaches and the higher-level NXIVM ranks. So the people who run the programs, who work with the students, who come in, who participate in the educational programs and who run those. Who run — who work in the centers. Those are our coaches and proctors and senior proctors. These are the high ranks.
This was an opportunity for us to come together and we would put on a retreat once a quarter, but basically, we had centers in three different — mostly in three different countries. So it’s a lot of people from a lot of different areas coming all together and setting their vision for what they wanted to do or achieve the next quarter. And how they could work together to overcome some of the limitations they were having or support each other better.
Q What was your role at this Coach Summit?
A Well, I was an executive board member so the summits in recent years were run by the executive board. And I was bringing ESP to a higher level, like what you might consider like a vice president or a higher upper-level management position.
But in this case, two of our highest ranks and close personal friends had passed away, [Pam Cafritz and Barbara Jeske] so they were the highest ranks in ESP so they were no longer with us. And then the next highest rank was inactive [Edgar Boone]. And so this was the first Coach Summit where I was the highest active rank.
So, it was very important to me to run it well and do a good job and have people feel I was the leader that they — that they didn’t feel that I had gotten my position through default because everybody died or went inactive, but actually that they felt confident in my leadership and felt glad that I was the leader. So it was — it was especially important for me.
Q Were one of those individuals who passed away Pam Cafritz?
Q So what happened after that initial discussion with the defendant?
A Rosa Laura approached me, and we had a meeting in her car where she introduced the concept of collateral and me committing my first collateral. So for secrecy.
Q Did you have subsequent conversations with the defendant around this time too?
A I did.
Q What did he say?
A He told me that he had started a sorority. That there were seven members or founding members, and that they were going to invite me to be a founding member. He told me that the intent was that — which I believe I later found out was not true, but that they had always intended that I would be a founding member. And that he asked me if I could guess who the other members were.
He told me that the sorority had started because of a personal struggle that Camila had had surrounding a suicide attempt. And I can’t quite recall. But definitely those things.
Q You said he asked you to guess. Did you guess?
A I did guess. I wouldn’t have guessed Rosa Laura. But once I knew Rosa Laura, I guessed the others. Because there had just been a series of events of things going around me that I had been aware of with the other members, that once I understood there was a sorority, they made sense. So I was able to guess who was in it.
Q And those individuals, those were the women you’ve identified as the first line of DOS?
A Correct, yes.
Q Did you propose — did Rosa Laura, when she approached you, discuss collateral at that time?
Q Okay. And what happened after that?
A I went home to come up with my collateral, and I came up with the collateral that I submitted to her. That was rejected.
Q Okay. So what form did that collateral take?
A It was — I sent it in a WhatsApp message.
Q And you said it was an account of a crime. You described that earlier?
Q Was this true?
Q When had this occurred?
A In the fall of 2002.
Q Can you explain what it was that you — that happened and that you wrote down as part of your collateral?
A That there had been a woman from Mexico who had come to take an ESP course, and in the — in the days of the course she had what I would characterize as a psychotic episode, like a psychotic break.
And she — in my opinion, she should have been hospitalized. But this was something that we hadn’t — we didn’t see, we hadn’t seen in this way to this extent and didn’t know what to do about it.
So we started seeing bizarre things with her throughout the day. And then she showed up at volleyball where Keith was and became very agitated and physically violent to the people around her.
And he suggested that we should take her — he told us to take her out of volleyball and that we can drive around in the car and try to calm her down, and then eventually told us to take her to a friend’s house. And so we took her a place where she could be safe and wouldn’t hurt herself. Which we did.
And then he was communicating through my mom to me. And later he said it would be good if she could sleep. That he thought if she slept that she could have like a — she would be able to — she was over-processing. She would be able to process and become lucid again. But that this was some type of like a spiritual crisis or something. If she could get through, it could be very progressive for her.
And so we couldn’t get her to calm down or to sleep. And he [Keith] told my mom — he told my mom that if she took Valium she could sleep.
And so my mother had a prescription of Valium that she had gotten from my father [Dr, Michael Salzman], which she gave to me, and in –we wanted her to take the Valium, and she didn’t take the Valium.
And then at one point, she became physically violent. And two men who were there, one man restrained her so that she would stop hitting and kicking other people. And the other one basically ‘pilled her’ like I pill my cat. I just took the Valium and put it right down her throat.
And then — and she was expressing at the time that she felt hurt, like she was being hurt being held down, didn’t want to be held down, and she wasn’t liking what was going on. She wasn’t — most of what she was saying was pretty incoherent. That was not incoherent.
And then she slept for a little while, but then was up again. And there was concern that she wouldn’t — we were concerned that she would still be psychotic. So somebody put another Valium in some scrambled eggs and fed them to her for breakfast. And so eventually she did calm down and reset and went back to what would be considered normal.
But my collateral basically was laying all this out that this woman had been administered prescription medicine against her will. That it implicated Keith, my mom, my dad, and all the friends who were there in this.
And it was the most damaging thing that I could think of that hurt the most important relationships in my life, and I thought would be the most — and was true, and that would be the most weighted collateral. And it would hurt me, you know, so I thought it was the most substantial thing that I could come up with was this.
Q At any point was that women taken to a hospital?
A She was not, no.
Q Did she know that she was being administered Valium in the morning?
A I don’t know. I never told her she was and she and I never discussed it, and no one ever told me she was, so I believe no.
Q Was there a concern about taking her to the hospital?
A I believe there was a concern that if she went to the hospital, it would make NXIVM look bad. Like somehow we caused her to have that. That we have done that to her somehow.
Q You testified you chose this as your collateral because it was particularly damaging to you. Why? Why was that?
A Because it was criminal that I had done. And also because it was — or that I participated in, and I was complicit, and it implicated the people who the most important to me in the same way.
Q And at the time was the defendant one of the most important people to you?
Q Did Rosa Laura Junco accept that collateral?
A No, she rejected it.
Q Did she tell you why?
A She told me that she rejected it because it would be a conflict of interest for Keith to release the collateral because he would be implicated in the collateral. So if I were ever to leave The Vow, he wouldn’t be able to use it, because it would hurt him, so she didn’t accept it.
We see from this post that Keith Raniere was willing to order a woman drugged and held forcibly.
It was in the fall of 2002. In February 2002, Kristin Snyder was in a similar circumstance – only worse for Raniere. She was claiming she was pregnant with Raniere’s child – something far more damaging to Raniere than a mere breakdown that could be attributed to Nxivm courses.
This is evidence that the Nxivm rats were capable of drugging problematic students.
Did they also secretly and/or forcibly drug Kristin Snyder?
It is also evidence that Lauren was prepared to do just about anything for Keith.
It might be true that Esther Chiappone Carlson and company felt the same way too during that fateful week in Alaska.