What a mother.
That’s Lauren Salzman. A real mother.
This is our next in our series on Lauren Salzman. In this and the next few posts, we are going to learn a lot about the dynamic that led Lauren to be a captor for Daniella, the Mexican woman who was held prisoner in her room – in literal solitary confinement – for 700 days.
This is by far the supreme blemish on Lauren and in this post, we see how Keith set it up. He utilized Lauren’s desire for motherhood to make her do atrocious things. That kind of desire for motherhood is so abhorrent and hideous that one thinks that if they had a child, he or she would be a blight on the earth.
We also get some interesting background on Daniella and her family, a family madly devoted to Nxivm and Keith Raniere, led unhappily by their curiously unprotective parents. Three sisters, all of them seduced by Raniere, and a son – all caught in the web of Keith Raniere thanks to the lack of vigilance of the parents.
But let us keep in mind that without enablers like Lauren and Pam Cafritz – women who lied for him constantly and accepted his polyamory as quite natural – Raniere’s abuses could not have been accomplished.
In every abuse he ever did, he was never alone. He always had a female accomplice or two to help get the victim in place. And one of the greatest of these accomplices was Lauren Salzman.
AUSA Tanya Hajjar is examining Lauren. This is the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. The date is May 21, 2019.
Q Ms. Salzman, I now want to direct your attention to the early 2000s when you testified that you first met Camila and her sisters.
Q Can you describe NXIVM’s initial expansion into Mexico?
A Yes. I was involved in teaching a course in Michigan and Edgar Boone took that course, he was a Mexican man from Monterrey, and he had run a human potential school in Monterrey before prior to taking our course and said that if he liked the course he would want to close down his school and work with us and bring our course to Mexico, which he did.
Q And can you describe where you first met Daniella?
A I met Daniella in Monterrey, Mexico in 2001 and I taught an intensive down there at a museum, and she was one of the students in my — in my course.
Q Where in Mexico was that?
A It was in Monterrey.
Q And do you recall approximately when that was?
A It was sometime in 2001. I just can’t recall the specific date. It was after September.
Q How old was Daniella when you first met her?
A Seventeen or eighteen.
Q What were your first impressions of her?
A She was very bright and she, like, grasped the concepts that was teaching in the course very quickly comparatively to others, and most of the people — I think almost all of the team that I had taught or most of the people I had taught up to that point had been adults, so she took to it much faster and more enthusiastically than most of my students.
Q Did there come a time where Daniella’s parents proposed having Daniella stay or go to the community — to the NXIVM community?
Q Can you describe how that happened?
A … Her father called me and basically said that she was supposed to go to Switzerland to study abroad for a year but wanted to know if she could come to Albany to study with us instead.
Q What was her father’s first name?
Q And her mother?
Q And the first names of her siblings?
A Marianna, Camila, and Adrian.
Q Was Marianna the oldest sibling?
A Marianna is the oldest, yes.
Q And Daniella was the second oldest?
Q And the third and fourth sibling, what orders were they?
A Adrian and then Camila was the youngest.
Q What happened after you spoke to Daniella’s father?
A Well, what he was proposing was something we had never had. There wasn’t a work study program for students in that way, so I brought the request — I told him I didn’t know that that would be possible, that I brought the request to Pam Cafritz to bring to Keith, and I heard back that that was something that they were willing to do and that Keith wanted to meet her.
Q How did Daniella arrive at the intensive in the first place? What was her introduction to NXIVM?
A Her parents enrolled her.
Q And her parents had attended intensives before that?
Q How many?
A At least one. I remember seeing them on two occasions, but it could have been that they took a five-day and came back for the second half, or they could have been repeating, but I saw her parents on a few occasions before I met her.
Q Were Daniella’s parents enthusiastic about NXIVM and ESP?
A Yes. Very.
Q Were her parents enthusiastic about Daniella moving to the community?
Q Did Daniella, in fact, come to live in the NXIVM community?
A Yes, she did.
Q How old was she at the time?
A Seventeen or eighteen.
Q At some point, did her siblings join her?
A They did, yes. Marianna first and then the other two.
Q And where did her family live within the NXIVM community?
A They had an apartment in Cohoes, which is a town, like, just one or two towns over from where the rest of us lived in Clifton Park.
Q Did she eventually move?
A They did. They eventually moved to Clifton Park into Knox Woods, the development where a number of us were living at the time.
Q How old were Adrian and Camila at the time that they moved to the community?
A I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I think Camila was maybe 14 and Adrian 16.
Q Did Adrian have a nickname?
Q Were they in high school?
A Yes. I believe they were in high school. I think originally they enrolled in Cohoes High School. I’m not sure if they transferred or not. I think Adrian graduated and Cami didn’t.
Q Did Camila stay in high school, as far as you knew?
A I don’t think she stayed in high school, no.
Q What was your understanding of what Daniella was to be doing in the NXIVM community?
A Initially what I thought she was going to be doing was coming to do, like, an internship with us or similar to, like, what her work — her study abroad would be, that she would come and study with NXIVM instead, so I thought that she would become a coach and study the ESP curriculum, similar to the way everybody else did but maybe in a more condensed or expedited version — like, version of it, so that she would have, like, full-time school like she would have had abroad.
Q Is that what happened?
Q What happened?
A I’m not sure exactly what happened, but she started spending a lot of time with Keith and working with him.
Q Working with him how?
A She was doing research for him and helping him by reading books on a variety of different subjects and summarizing them — like, distilling them down to the most relevant or valuable aspects of the books to save him the time of having to read the whole book to get what the information was out of it.
Q So she distilled the concepts in the book to a more – to an easier format or something?
A That’s what I understood she was doing.
Q Was this for the defendant, these reports of these books?
A Yes. She was helping him, was my understanding, in doing research for him.
Q What kind of subjects were these books on?
A I don’t know all of the subjects. I remember one in particular, she was doing research on cryogenics because she had learned some interesting things about it that she shared with me, but I know, like, she — at one point she was doing calculus problems — I don’t know if she was doing that on her own or for him, I know she later did that on her own — but I think there were a variety of different subjects that she was studying.
Q And the output, the thing she was creating, was that so that the defendant didn’t have to read the book?
A Yes. And that he could use the information for whatever he was working on.
Q Did she spend time with the defendant, as you observed her?
A Yes. I observed that she was spending time, and it seemed like she was spending more time than I had observed because there was a familiarity and comfortability that I didn’t know when it happened.
Q Can you describe that?
A Yeah. I mean, in the early days of, like, when I first met Keith and he was living at 3 Flintlock, I experienced it to be more of like an open-door policy where people were always coming and going there was a lot — we spent a lot of group time together; and around the time that Dani came and Marianna, I think there were other things surrounding it, but it became less and less like that, and Dani started hanging around a lot and it became — or — I started seeing her when I would go over to Flintlock to see Keith, she would be there, and it became clear to me that they were spending a lot of time together. She started to lose weight and wear more revealing clothing. I remember she was wearing, like, a lot of miniskirts and things like that, so I started to assume they were — they were or at some point they would have a relationship.
Q What was Marianna doing at this time?
A I’m not sure exactly about the time frame of everything, but Marianna, when I met her, wanted to be a professional tennis player and Pam befriended her and the two of them were spending a lot of time together doing athletic stuff, and I think Keith was advising them or coaching them on how to coach Marianna to improve her tennis.
Q And this was Pamela Cafritz?
Q What about Adrian? What was he doing within the community?
A Adrian went to high school at first, and then at some point he went to live with Mark Vicente and some other men in the community — Ben Myers and Jim Del Negro — but he was studying to be part of Mark’s video team so he was learning filming and video editing.
Q And what about Camila?
A Camila came to work in the Rainbow program, which was the multicultural children’s educational program and she was a Spanish teacher there.
Q Daniella and her siblings, did you have an understanding — were they Mexican nationals?
A That was — yes.
Q Did you have an understanding of their visa status within the United States?
A Initially, I didn’t, but during this time, there were — we had started teaching classes in Mexico and a lot of Mexicans were coming to the United States and taking a lot of courses with us, and so I started to learn that there’s a certain amount of time that the Mexicans had to spend in Mexico to be able to qualify for their visa, so they were allowed to come to the States but only for a certain amount of time and there were restrictions.
So all the Mexicans that I was interacting with besides these — Daniella and her siblings — were having Visa constraints that I didn’t see them having, they never went back; and so I started asking Keith, like, ‘What’s going on with their visas?’, and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s being taken care of.’
And then I went and asked Pam about it and Pam said, “Well, they are getting visas through the father’s, it’s coming,” so I thought that they were doing that or in the process of doing that.
Q Did you later learn anything about Daniella’s status in the United States?
A Yeah. There was some sort of incident where Marianna was upset about something and I was called and asked to help and I think Karen Unterreiner was involved and Karen called Daniella over to speak to Monkey [Marianna’s nickname] — to speak to Marianna, and Marianna basically was saying, ‘I don’t want to talk to any of you,’ and threatened that she was going to call the police if Dani didn’t leave, and she did end up calling the police but hanging up. And I can’t remember if they called back or they came, but we ended up having to deal with the fact that she had made the call, but I learned that the reason that call was threatening was because it put — Daniella was not legitimately there; she was — her status was illegal.
Q Did you become aware at some point that Daniella had made a land border crossing?
A Yes, I did. There was a party that I attended at my mom’s old house at 7 Grandhill Road in the early 2000s — I can’t quite recall the date, but at the party, I was there, my mom, Keith, Kristin Keeffe, Kathy Russell, Daniella, and there were others, I just can’t quite recall who, but Kristin Keeffe shared that she and Kathy had brought Dani into the U.S. through a border — a Canadian border — the Canadian border.
Q Between approximately 2004 and 2006, did Daniella do work for the defendant?
A I think so. Along the lines of what I was saying – what I was sharing.
Q And did there come a time where the defendant stopped speaking to Daniella?
A Yes. Somewhere between 2008 and 2010. I’m not exactly sure when — the exact time.
Q And can you explain what happened?
A He told me that they had had a fight, she had come into 3 Flintlock — so into his house without being invited, just walked in — and he closed himself in the bathroom and they were, I guess, arguing or something through the door and that at one point he had given her — she wanted to know something and he said to her: ‘If I tell you this information, I’m never going to speak to you again. Do you want to know this?’ And she insisted that yes, she did want to know this and so he wasn’t speaking to her.
Q At some point, were you approached about meeting with Daniella to coach her in some way?
A Yes. A few separate times. Closer to 2008, Karen had asked me if I would help her to meet with her —
Q Who is Karen?
A Karen Unterreiner. — and so I had had a few meetings with her in those years; and then again later Karen approached me as well, closer to 2010, to help her again; and then Keith approached me finally to help her.
Q Did you learn anything about Daniella’s relationship with the defendant?
A I did. So closer to 2008, I recall two times that she came over to my house and was upset and communicated that she was asking Keith whether they would have a relationship in the future and he wouldn’t give her an answer about it and he wanted her to go work that out with somebody else, and that she had asked him if he felt good with her sexually and that he had told her no, and she asked him, did he feel good with anybody sexually and he had told her yes, and so she was –this was upsetting to her.
Q Ms. Salzman, how old was Daniella when she told you about her relationship with the defendant, approximately?
A She was in her 20s. I’m not sure, 22, 24.
Q And when she told you these things about her relationship, was that prior to when the defendant approached you about a plan regarding Daniella?
Q And what did Daniella tell you … about her relationship with the defendant?
A … That Keith had wanted her and [her sister] Marianna to both take a nap with him, and she — this was upsetting, and I had understood that — it to be, like, a naked nap, was how I interpreted it.
Q Did you understand, then, there to have been some sexual interaction with Daniella and the defendant at this time?
Q After that point, did the defendant approach you with a plan regarding Daniella?
A Yes, he did.
Q Okay. And what was the plan as to Daniella?
A So this was later, like, in two thousand — closer to 2010. He called me on the phone and said that there was a project and I should only take it if I really wanted it, and he told me that there were various problems with Daniella; that she had been — among other things, she had been stealing from the family — she wasn’t working, didn’t do the work that she had committed to do, she had said that she was going to lose weight but instead she had gained 40 pounds, and that she was stealing from the family – stealing food and locking the family out of the house, these various things — and so what he proposed was that Dani be given an ultimatum that she go in her room with no distractions and come up with a plan for how to fix this or — and that — or be sent back to Mexico.
Q These issues the defendant raised to you, those were things that he communicated to you?
Q And when the defendant approached you about this project, as you described it, was this after he had stopped speaking to her for some period of time?
Q As you understood it, if Daniella didn’t stay in the room, she would be sent back to Mexico.
A Yes. That if she didn’t meet the conditions of satisfaction to come out of the room and came out of the room, she would be sent back to Mexico.
Q Did you understand what the conditions of satisfaction were, as you put it?
A I understood that it was a plan that — to rectify what she had done, but when I asked specifically, like, what her breach was, Keith told me she knew what she did, she knew what it was.
Q When you say “breach,” do you mean an ethical breach, like the concept you talked about before?
Q Did the defendant acknowledge a relationship with Daniella?
A No. We never discussed it.
Q Did you want to participate in this project?
A I told him, no, I didn’t want to take the project, but I asked him, ‘Why do you think that I should take the project?’
Q What did he say?
A And he said that, ‘Someday you might have a child’ — which, in my mind, was ‘someday we might have a child,’ because that was the whole plan that we were going to have children, and at the time also I was working in Mexico and kidnapping was a thing. Like, we knew a number of people who had been kidnapped or knew family members who were kidnapped, so he said, ‘Someday you might have a child and somebody may call you on the phone and say to you, “I have your child,” like, basically “I kidnaped your child and I’m going to kill them if you don’t give me a million dollars” and you’re not going to know what to do, so you can learn to work with that personality now or you can deal with it then.’
Q In the context of what he was telling you, who was the personality that he was describing?
A Daniella, that Daniella is this type of personality that’s manipulative to this degree and has, like, a sociopathology, and you can learn to work with that now or you may someday be in a situation where you are not going to be a good mom to our kid basically.
Q Did you believe him?
A Yes, I did.
Q What happened after that conversation —
A And especially at that time, too, it was — I thought that Keith understood everything about people’s psychodynamics; if Keith observed something and I couldn’t see it, it was because I didn’t understand and needed to learn something.
Q So you have a different perspective now?
A Well, I didn’t observe directly the things that he was describing from Daniella, and I don’t think that the things that were listed — that she didn’t complete book reports; that she gained weight instead of losing it; and that she was stealing food from her family when she was completely dependent on her family and an illegal alien in a country where she couldn’t legitimately work — raise to the level of going back to Mexico if she doesn’t address them.
We see an interesting story here and the pattern for Raniere is always the same.
The parents wanted their children to do a work-study program in Albany to learn more about Raniere’s amazing teachings. Lauren went to Pam, Keith’s greatest pimp. There are three young girls? How delightful. Yes, we will do it. Keith wanted to know all about the girls.
They move her up, under Pam and Keith’s tender supervision. Keith has sex with one after the other. Gets all three of them pregnant. The youngest one, he can’t even wait for her to come of age. He starts with her when she is 15 or possibly younger.
And when Lauren learns that the beast wanted to have two of the sisters, Marianna and Daniella, take a naked nap with him, [and that got both sisters upset,] there was one person who was not upset. No, it did not unsettle Lauren.
Lauren is always willing to comply, to go along, to support. Whether it is naked naps with sisters and a hairy beast or even the imprisonment of one of these young women, who had come there when they were in their teens.
Nothing fazed Lauren, no duplicity, no act of cruelty, no inhuman acts by the monster himself, nothing thwarted Lauren’s resolve.
All it ever took for Keith was to dangle motherhood in front of her. She did not want, at first, to do this dreadful thing to Daniella, Lauren claims. But Keith dazzled her – he tells her that if she were ever to become a mother, she would need to understand sociopaths like Daniella in case their child was ever kidnapped by a sociopath like Daniella.
Complete nonsense is accepted as divine prescience.
And Lauren got the message. If she did not go along [she did not even know what Daniella’s breach was], Keith would withdraw, as he had done before, the hope for her having children with him.
Ah, idiotic Lauren, what monstrosities would she not commit in order to have a child with Raniere? What a monstrous child it might have been too. In most worlds, motherhood is thought to be unselfish, but Lauren’s desire for motherhood was so criminally and egregiously selfish, that she makes an eloquent argument for mandatory sterilization of the criminally insane.
She would smother the hopes of so many people, branding, blackmailing, deceiving, and even imprisoning them for the one false dream of having a baby with a monster.
By all manner of deductive reasoning, Lauren is a monster herself.
And the final, cruel laugh was on her. Raniere had his child, not with her, but with the older sister of the woman they imprisoned.
And Daniela came back to be part of the case that helped imprison Raniere and quite shortly will imprison Lauren Salzman.