This is Part 20 of the Lauren Salzman series. It is based on her testimony at the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. Lauren was a witness for the prosecution.
We are studying her testimony to try to ascertain whether she seems more a victim or a perpetrator. In this post, we learn that Lauren was branded on January 10, 2017. This is interesting for Raniere chose this date for her branding on the same date he chose Pam Cafritz’s memorial service.
Cafritz died in November 2016 – a fact that Raniere kept that hidden for several weeks – presumably in order to rearrange her finances and her will to suit him. Raniere inherited $8 million from Cafritz – her entire estate.
He finally told Nxivm members that she was dead and set the memorial for January 10th. He also set a branding session for Lauren and a few others that day. This is classic Raniere.
What is fun about this post is that Lauren reveals that Raniere was almost giddy about the branding – and the fact that he, a man, was the founder and head of a sorority. At Pam’s memorial service, he is privately showing Lauren that he finds this uproarious.
But he put on another face in front of the others at the memorial. He got up in front of everyone and made a touching, tender speech about Pam being his life partner – and he wept, yes he wept openly in front of his followers.
So much did he miss her [I think he might have killed her.]
And then he went behind the curtain and laughed heartily at the fun of Lauren and the other women getting painfully branded on their pubic region with his initials and how they were his slaves.
Lauren relates, along with how she put together her collateral. And in one rather sickening section, she describes how Rosa Laura Junco [the woman who offered her virgin daughter to Raniere] explained to her and she evidently adopted it – hook line and sinker – how noble these women were to give up so much for their heroic endeavor.
Lauren wanted to be an “amazingly noble person,” of which there are “just a few people, and most of us know who they are that walk the earth.”
Poor sick Lauren.
AUSA Tanya Hajjar is examining Lauren on the witness stand.
In our last post, Lauren explained how she had pledged as first collateral damning information that Keith, her mother, Nancy Salzman and she had conspired to both forcibly and surreptitiously administer Valium to a Mexican student who was acting up. That collateral was rejected because it could get Keith in trouble.
Q And at that time, did you believe your collateral would be released if you violated The Vow?
A Yes. And to me that — that whole thing speaks to if he’s planning on releasing the collateral, but this one [the collateral about the Valium] he couldn’t release because it would hurt him, so I would be able to get off the hook. So I needed to submit something that wouldn’t hurt him so he would be sure to feel good releasing it, if I ever break my vow.
Q Did Rosa Laura suggest something else as collateral?
A She suggested naked pictures.
Q Did you ask her if she had taken any?
A I did. Because that wouldn’t be something I normally would do. And it was just an unusual request and I felt very vulnerable doing something like that. ‘Is that something you had done?’ [I asked Rosa Laura] Just so I know where it came from. The only time I had ever done it was when Keith took pictures of me and I was very uncomfortable about that even with him.
So she said, yes, that she had done that. And for me, that made a big difference because Rosa Laura was very conservative and came from a very conservative background. So when she — if she had done it, then I was like, well, okay, I mean if you’ve done it, you feel confident.
And I asked her, too, like what’s going to happen to the pictures? And she said, ‘Don’t worry, they’re going to be safe and secure.’ She was going to keep it in a box safe in her house and nobody was going to ever see it. And I was like, okay, and so then I did that. I took, I believe, three pictures of myself that I put on a USB drive and I gave them to her.
Q After you gave Rosa Laura Junco the drive with the naked photographs, what did you do next, what happened next?
A Then once I did that, she told me — she gave me the DOS pitch. She explained to me the concept of the vow of obedience. That this is a lifetime vow of obedience. I asked if it was to her, and she told me it was to Keith. And that — she explained the concept that he would be my master and I would be his slave, and the idea that having a master in your life is to help you learn to become a master in your own life, and that we’re all slaves of something. That we serve something in our life. And we could learn to serve our issues, or we could learn to serve our principles. So that this was about learning to — how to serve our principles with the highest value.
And she told me that there would be a collar, which initially I did interpret to mean like a BDSM collar. But then she told me that was not what she meant, that she meant a piece of jewelry that I wouldn’t take off that symbolized my chain to my master.
And she explained that there would be a brand. And that the brand — the idea of the brand was to memorialize on our body our promise to ourselves that we made for this lifetime commitment to our growth and to our master.
And this idea that to serve our highest principles ultimately at some point, if you’re going to be noble in your life, if you look at people who have been noble in life, like they’ve gone against tremendous adversity. You know, it’s not just everybody that we can say that amazingly noble person, there’s just a few people, and most of us know who they are that walk the earth that we look at and pulled out as these respectable people who are upheld, incredible noble principles against adversity.
And they did so in the face of being sometimes murdered or persecuted or these types of things, and that to become that type of a person you have to go through experiences that are difficult or that are painful.
And this is something that we had studied in ESP and something I taught in my curriculum. I was very familiar with the concept. I was very enrolled in that idea of doing hard things to become somebody who could do hard things when it was most important in doing hard things to uphold your most –your highest ideals.
And that going through the branding was an experience of overcoming pain for this principle. And the principle was this principle of love and of a sense of self.
And I was concerned about the brand, like I — that was not something that I ever, you know, thought of. But when she gave me that explanation for it, like I don’t have any tattoos, it was — I would never have gotten something like that. But when she explained it like that, the idea of overcoming pain for a principle was compelling to me.
Q You mentioned that you were enrolled in that idea. What does that mean?
A Yeah. Yeah, you could say — or I came to agree with it and support it. And I wanted to go forward with that. So I said, yes.
Q Was Rosa Laura branded at the time?
A Yes, and she showed me her brand. And she asked me if I knew what it was and I couldn’t — I didn’t know what it was and she pointed out it was Keith’s initials.
Q But when you looked at it at first, you couldn’t tell what it was?
Q At some point later, did Rosa Laura Junco tell you anything about whose idea the brand was?
A Yes. I mean I had — my understanding was that the women had decided that they wanted to be — some women who were not — I was never told who the women were, but that the women had decided, like somebody wanted to get a tattoo at some point and then another person said that we should get a brand because even tattoos could be erased or there’s some impermanence now. So a brand would be more permanent. And that the women had decided this.
And after Keith was indicted and arrested, arrested and indicted, I said something to Rosa Laura about it, and she said the women didn’t choose it, ‘why would we ever choose something like that? Who would choose that?’ And she basically said, ‘you know, Keith wanted us to do it. That’s why we did it. None of us would have ever come up with the idea that we would brand ourselves. That’s crazy.’
Q Initially were you told about the existence of other women in DOS aside from this initial group?
A I believe I was told there were some but I wasn’t told who they were. But not that I was being invited as a founding member, which is different.
Q And beyond the naked photographs, did you have to submit additional collateral?
Q And what kind of things did you submit as collateral?
A Basically everything material I owned; my finances, my investment accounts, my two homes, two cars, all my art, anything that I owned. And then I believe I also made commitments that I, you know, would resign from my positions, these types of things. It was — it was I would give up everything that I held dear to me – in my life.
Q Did you in a document list all these things?
A I did. I believe I sent it in a Telegram initially. Yeah, that’s what I believe that.
Q Did you, in fact, get branded?
A I did, yes.
Q And how soon after you agreed to join DOS were you branded?
A Within like 48 or 72 hours. It was very quick.
Q When was your branding ceremony scheduled for?
A January 10th, 2017.
Q Did it coincide with something in particular?
A It was — it coincided with the first night of Pam’s memorial.
Q This is Pam Cafritz, the woman who died a few months prior?
Q Did you have a discussion with the defendant at the memorial service?
A I did, yes. Yes.
Q Can you explain what happened?
A He was asking me about the branding ceremony, like, ‘so tonight is the night we’re going to do?’ And he was like very excited about it. And he was similarly excited like when he told me he started a sorority, he laughed about it. Like this was some really strange and unusual funny thing or — but to me it wasn’t because everything that we had done in 20 years were all things that Keith had started. So it wasn’t a different type of thing in my mind. He started everything. So him starting this was not unusual.
And I had been in a sorority in college that was co-founded by a man. So it wasn’t like even to me that a man might found a women’s organization. But his reaction to it was unusual. Because he wasn’t usually emotionally expressive in that way about the different things.
And his enthusiasm and excitement about the brand also stood out, because it was — like it stood out in contrast to — we were at some memorial service, it was very somber and sad and serious. So his excitement and enthusiasm especially stood out to me.
Lauren is given to making such Kool-Aid-laden statements as “having a master in your life is to help you learn to become a master in your own life, and that we’re all slaves of something. That we serve something in our life. And we could learn to serve our issues, or we could learn to serve our principles. So that this was about learning to — how to serve our principles with the highest value.”
I think she really believes that.
And if she were to be free – I am betting she will opt to be a slave again to someone – for as she says “we’re all slaves of something.”
And she has good judgment on what or whom to be a slave to: So how about being a slave to a sick criminal warped psychopath sadist?