Lauren Salzman’s New Career is Not Dog Groomer but Victim; and the Argument for Probation

Lauren Salzman during happier days when it seemed that Keith Raniere's teachings would spread all over the world and she would be his queen. She got branded in his name and her world unraveled.

This change of careers for Lauren Salzman from NXIVM teacher and therapist to one of a dog groomer seems to represent a major downward departure – in income.

The average annual salary of a dog groomer is, according to online sources, around $25,000. This is a far cry from the $250,000 annually Lauren used to make with NXIVM as one of its top proctors, recruiters, board member and its director of education.

She can only hope the judge makes a similar downward departure on her sentence.

Dogs often require grooming, but not the same kind alleged to have been done by cult leaders to young women like Lauren when she first started at NXIVM.

As a dog groomer, Lauren’s work includes:

  1. Bathing and clipping dogs to conform to breed-specific styles.
  2. Detangling and removing matted hair
  3. Drying the coat
  4. Checking for parasites and other skin conditions
  5. Trimming nails
  6. Cleaning the ears
  7. Expressing anal sacs
  8. Brushing teeth
  9. Adding bows and nail polish.


There will be someone who will quip, that if Lauren does half as well training dogs as she claims Raniere trained her, there will be some very obedient dogs in Clifton Park.

Lauren worked like a dog to get various certificates.

Her attorneys describe the courses she took to get various dog training or grooming certificates.

Looking up the courses, it seems that her “Dog Emotion and Cognition” course pursues the “science of dog psychology” and “evolutionary and cognitive theory,” plus “experimental methodology,” to learn how dogs compare to other species; it also teaches cognitive games with dogs.

She paid about $225 to watch the five-hour video of Dr. Cliff Faver, The Science of Skin. The video features the needs of short, medium and long coats, causes of hair and skin issues, and solutions to hair and skin issues.

Is It Remarkable?

The use of superlatives in Lauren’s sentencing memorandum relative to her dog grooming career is abundant.

Lauren had “tremendous impact” on colleagues because she achieved the standard in the field – she likes and cares about dogs and customers.

It is said to be “remarkable” that she started her own business, when that business is merely buying a bathtub and a table to bathe and groom dogs.

They write of her “initiative to obtain the proper schooling, certifications, and training” – when all that required was a few online courses.

It is said with amazement that she told her colleagues about her past misconduct — and note her lawyers did not say crimes.

Did she have a choice? She is well known locally. Anyone can google her name and find who she is in a minute.

Lauren Salzman leaves court

There is nothing remarkable about telling dog grooming employers, fellow employees and whoever else is going to find out anyway that she took a plea deal and testified against the leader of the ‘cult” who, she says, deceived her for 20 years and made her do vile things, which are being characterized by her lawyers as misconduct or mistakes.

Lauren’s new career is not being a dog groomer, but persuading people she is a victim, who made mistakes, and committed some misconduct, for which she is remorseful, as opposed to being a high-level, criminal coconspirator in a racketeering enterprise who sought to save herself by informing on crimes of, as the DOJ said in their sentencing memo, her “close friends” and “her mother.”

Lauren Salzman in Court
A courtroom sketch shows Lauren Salzman on the stand. Keith Raniere takes notes in the foreground.

The DOJ wrote as if it were something to be proud of: Lauren Salzman, as a cooperating witness, “answered all the government’s questions, including questions about crimes she committed, as well as criminal activity engaged in by her close friends and family members, including her mother.”

While there is nothing remarkable about becoming a dog groomer, there is something remarkable about informing on your sister or mother.

It is also remarkable that the Department of Justice chose to give her tribute for that and wants a judge to consider leniency for Lauren because she would betray anyone, any time.

Now, I am just a Buffalo guy, but where I come from, informing on your mother — I mean how can anyone have any respect for that person?

Why Probation Is a Good Sentence

Perhaps the most awkward statement the lawyers wrote is Lauren’s colleagues in the dog grooming world, “embraced Lauren and her mistakes with open arms”.

The lawyers do not call them crimes, they call them mistakes. Even so, did these colleagues actually embrace Lauren’s mistakes? Aren’t the lawyers really trying to say that coworkers and employers embraced Lauren, despite her mistakes?

That they embraced Lauren, the victim, a woman they feel sorry for, for being misled by that horrible cult-leader who branded her on her groin with his initials.

Every single dog-grooming employer, co-worker and customer who wrote a letter for Lauren is a woman. I can see them feeling sorry for her, embracing her, not for her crimes, because she suggests she committed no crimes but mistakes – and the big mistake was trusting a man.

Keith Raniere gives his trademark on the lips kiss to Lauren Salzman.

Keith Raniere and Lauren Salzman.

Lauren, the victim, is actually Lauren, the virtuous. She is Lauren, the great sufferer. Lauren, the talented, who overcame adversity. She is Lauren, the survivor.

She was faithful to this man, this supposed saintly genius for 20 years, faithful, loyal, to a man she thought wanted to uplift the world, then suddenly, [while coincidentally facing life in prison], she found he was evil, after all.

Before she was blinded by love. Now her eyes were opened – by, her lawyers say, by reading the Cami texts. She did not know anything of his perfidy before – even though she helped confine Cami’s sister Daniela for almost two years in a room and was hurt and disappointed when Ranierre chose to have a baby with Cami and Daniela’s sister, Mariana, instead of her.

Or that she was required to have threesomes with Pam and other women. Or that he had some 20 women and none of them could have sex but with him. Or that she was going to have a group blow job with him as a recommitment ceremony on the day he was arrested.

She only learned about his deviancy, his evil, [after she was facing life in prison] and read some texts between him and 24-year-old Camila.

Just as dogs are worthy, because of their supposed unconditional love, Lauren gave supposed unconditional love, first to Raniere, then, it seems, to the prosecution [when she faced life in prison] and was willing to inform on crimes on her close friends, and relatives and even her mother,  then unconditional love to the judge, when she wept and he stopped her cross-examination and then to dogs and colleagues in the field.

She Is a Victim

This is the only story she can tell, the only story that allows her to live in society and face the world and not be a pariah.

Or a fool who wasted her life on a madman. A man that any thinking woman would have run from. A man who promised her a baby, and kept her in a harem, even denying her sex for a decade, while she was supposed to wait celibate as he had dozens of women.

Yes, she is Lauren, the virtuous, the long-suffering. Lauren, the forlorn.

Still, in a sense, these women of the dog grooming world might embrace her – for her mistakes, for it might give them a sense of superiority in that they forgive her her mistakes. They who love as much who would never be so blind so as to fall for the rot and garbage such as Raniere spews. They’d be damned if they would be branded by any man’s initials or share him with 20 women.

But they understand a woman’s heart and sympathize with her suffering and some of them had a devious, cheating boyfriend or an asshole husband – and, thus, they could embrace her mistakes.


From henceforward, Lauren Salzman must strive to be a victim more than a criminal.

She did not prey on women. She was preyed on by a man.

She did not lie to women about the brand but was lied to by a man.

She did not lie to women that her Keith was the secret leader of her sorority, she was lied to by him and her lies to women were for the women’s own good, as she took collateral from them.

She did no wrong keeping a woman in a room for almost two years for it was a man who told her to do it. It was Keith, horrid Keith, who told her how it was all for her own good and the good of the women everywhere.

She only wanted to help women.

And never forget, she was just a child, a mere child of 24, when the man Raniere first preyed on her.

This is the narrative she has likely succeeded in persuading her colleagues is true and this is the narrative her lawyers hope the judge believes.

If it works, it is onwards, forwards. She can never hide. Everyone who meets her will know. Her reputation will precede her, unless she goes to some foreign land or backwoods.

People whisper these things. People have to disclose it. Even in the dog world, workers must be told in advance or else it will be whispered among them. Some will smirk, other hate. Still, others will seek to avoid her and it will disrupt things to pretend it did not happen.

The only thing to do is tell everyone upfront. I’m Lauren Salzman — I was once in a cult and the cult leader deceived me.

She must persuade the world she is a victim, now and forever.

And whatever the judge does in sentencing her will go a long way in determining how she fares in this quest to be a victim for the rest of her days.

A non-prison sentence [probation] stamps her as a victim. A prison term makes her a perpetrator.  It might be that simple. That is the line of demarcation. If she gets probation, she can say it to one and all.

That the wise judge knew and he forgave her – for she is a broken woman.

For the rest of her days, she will have to explain her mistake or misconduct if she gets probation or was it a crime?

I would like to see her get probation. No prison.

Call it a symbol of hope, a chance to allow a broken woman the dignity of hope not for a new life for she will always be known for her association with Raniere but for a chance at making the argument stick that bad as it was  – she shifted – and turned on the evil – when the scales fell off her eyes.

And the judge endorsed it by giving her probation.

Her future rests on this argument – she was a victim.

I’d like to see Lauren grooming dogs, clipping their nails and little ears, brushing their coats, cleaning their teeth. Picture that, if you will, as a sentence.

And picture that, instead of the child Raniere promised and for whom she waited years, is a procession of dogs, to love as she once loved Raniere.

The mob doesn’t care. This is not Allison Mack.  No one will really care if she goes to prison or not, and no one will not be deterred from a life of similar crimes if Lauren grooms dogs instead of sits in a cell.

She presents no danger to man or woman, dog or bitch.  She will be on probation for three or five years, she will be nearly 50.

And many a dog will have a fine sheen and a lovely coat, and she can try to restore her life, which will take a lifetime.

And even then, she will never forget.

The NXIVM story is not going away.

Keith Raniere will be remembered and so will she — one of his top leaders who was quickest to turn – and help ensure his imprisonment.

The only question is will she walk free?






About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • I have watched Nicki on her Twitter totally deflect criticism of Raniere and say things I know to be untrue. If she cared for Mack like you believe, how come she never comes to her defense? ..something you would do for a true spouse… instead she keeps going on and on about Keith.

    How can you reconcile these issues and believe she is honest?

    Frank, I am unsure if this is still an active thread but I very much hope you respond.

    • I think Nicki wanted to respond with supportive statements about Allison but felt it would hurt not help her. I am not speaking for her but I believe this is what happened.

      • I agree with David.

        There are ways to show support that do not hurt Allison, Clare or Lauren. Especially now.

        And there were ways to support before. Nicki has lawyers that she could get advised by and could have even written all the women support letters. But she only did that for Clare. It’s obvious why.

        But, more importantly, Nicki claims a lot of things about herself and the teachings of Raniere. About following her own path. Doing the ethical thing and on and on. Going against the norm. Standing up to the courts. She did not even try. Because she simply doesn’t want to or she would.

        So not standing up and defending the ladies of Nxivm does not jibe with anything Nicki constantly preaches.

        And Frank, you pointed out that the dancing for vanguard was not a good look and probably would hurt not help Raniere. And the slave dancers did not care and did it anyway until his cell was moved, etc.

        Because they WANTED to. All of the DOS PR speaks to that concept. Agency. Doing what you want to do.

  • I would not allow Salzman in the same room with my Service Dog, let alone groom him. Turning one’s dog over to a groomer is a matter of *trust.* I don’t care if the woman “cooperated” like a canary. I couldn’t trust her with my beloved dog. Just saying.

  • Frank, I appreciate and have enjoyed this blog you have written for years. You are perhaps the number 1 reason for his exposure and that took a lot of bravery and hardships.

    That being said, I must ask why you are so much harder on Lauren than say Nicki Clyne who barely escaped prosecution herself. This is a woman that will ignore all of Keith’s evil doings and keep proclaiming his innocence while espousing misogynistic rhetoric at every turn.

    You seem to like and trust Nicki for some odd reason while your disdain for Lauren is perfectly clear whether you realize it or not. I believe you even stated at one point that you thought her marriage with Mack was a genuine one that came from a mutual love… I mean, come on, dude…

    If you could respond to this and perhaps explain your reasoning, I would very much appreciate it.

    • I do not have any disdain for Lauren. I hope she gets probation. I believe that much of her admissions of wrongdoing were based on hoping for a lighter sentence and to avoid going to trial. I do not blame her for that. But I am not going to ignore it either. The federal plea bargaining system is coercive.

      Lauren may indeed now realize that Keith is evil but because her expressing disdain for Keith is the key to her liberty – I do not fully trust her statements. She is right about Keith but her motives for what she says are suspect to me.

      Nicki, on the other hand, strikes me as honest – though I believe she is dead wrong about Keith. I think Nicki is where Lauren was before she was arrested and where Lauren would be had Keith not been arrested.

      Had Nicki been arrested perhaps she would have done what Lauren and Allison did – cooperate and say what was needed to be said — I do not know. Maybe Nicki under the threat of years in prison would “realize” that Keith is bad.

      But realization that comes at the point of a sword cannot be counted as the same kind of realization as say that of Kristin Keeffe — who had a realization before the arrests and tried to warn the others.

      So Kristin ranks higher. Nicki is next because she sticks to her guns. Allison and Lauren have earned my sympathy since they believed in Keith and now they are ruined. I can only hope they can make a comeback someday.

      That comeback may be – that while they realized that Keith is evil — they were coerced by the threat of years in prison to force their minds to accept it.

      For me, the best way for Lauren is probation.

      • So, Nicki comes across to you as honest. You do realize that she sometimes straight out lies, right?

        • She honestly still believes in the smartest man in the world. Frank called her honest. Calling her dumb as rocks is completely unrelated to being honest.

          • My experience with Nicki is she is honest. She honestly believes in Raniere. I do not. We have agreed to disagree.

      • Frank, how can you possibly say that Nicki strikes you as honest when she’s straight up lied in interviews on multiple occasions?

      • Frank, you say you believe Nicki is honest, yet even in the most recent YouTube interview with her, she repeats things that are blatant lies, for example, saying that DOS members were *never* threatened with the release of their collateral. Even if it were true that Nicki never observed anyone be threatened with the release of their collateral (which I think is BS, but let’s say that was true), how can she say for certain she knows no one was ever threatened? She can’t.

        According to Sylvie’s testimony, Ana Gaby was threatened with the release of her collateral. That’s at least one person. As I recall, she wasn’t the only one. I don’t believe for a second that Nicki, as a first-line master, wasn’t privy to those conversations. And that’s just one statement from a litany of questionable remarks in that interview. How can you possibly claim she’s honest?

        • I think Nicki has been honest with me. That is my point. I don’t go around monitoring everything she does or says with everyone else. I think her intentions are good. She is sincere. She is not ill-intended. I think she felt that she had a true – although unconventional marriage to Allison.

          Now I only state what I think –and admit I might be wrong — but I think I am pretty good judging what is true and false – and though Nicki and I do not agree on one very pivotal point — she has been honest about it. It is more than I can say about a lot of folks I have interviewed.

          One more thing – she has backbone. She does not hide behind anonymity – and is espousing the most unpopular cause. So I give her credit for that — even if I disagree with the cause and finally I do not think she is dangerous. Just the opposite. I think she is interested in being kind to other people.

          One day perhaps she will realize that much of what his accusers say about Raniere is true — but today I truly believe she does not believe it — so that makes her honest in my opinion.

          • Frank, but she is out there literally lying about the facts of the case. She said no one was threatened with their collateral being released. That’s untrue, Ana Gaby and Sylvie both corroborated that. And she’s said no one ever had their collateral released, which is also untrue, because Sarah Edmondson’s branding video somehow made it onto Mexican television. Those two things aren’t matters of opinion, those are things literally anyone can look up in the court records or on YouTube. She may have been, from your perspective, truthful with you, but she’s willfully distorting the facts with the public. How can you support that?

  • I’m glad to see this reasonable skepticism toward the victimhood narrative in this case.

    Now do Allison Mack.

    The “but she was a victim too!” claim is no excuse for criminal conduct. It is not a get out of jail free card. It may explain criminal behavior but it does not excuse it.

    Lauren, like the rest of them, was an adult woman with resources when she got herself involved with this mess. She dug the hole deeper and deeper. Sure, it wasn’t all her fault but it was still her doing.

    She wasn’t reluctant. She advanced in this criminal enterprise, made good money, wielded power. For twenty years!

    She was friendly with Raniere, very friendly. She wanted to have his baby.

    She was a collaborator. With a criminal sex trafficking cult.

    Some cockeyed narrative about “a man made her do it” does not change anything.

  • Frank, so you are saying that if your mother had been a psychopath like Raniere, you wouldn’t have informed on her because she is your mother. What happened to your journalistic integrity for truth?

      • I see. So, you’d betray the whole world if it was your mom. I guess we are fortunate that your mom is not a dangerous psychopath. I appreciate your loyalty towards your family but just showing how your statement about Lauren betraying anyone anytime, is really a reflection of how you are rather than how she is. For you, your mom (and probably your family) comes before the rest of the world. For her, it seems, truth is more important.

        • Yes, Lauren is a sterling example of truth-telling. But my point is that the DOJ lauds her for betraying her mother. Really, was that necessary?

          Couldn’t they have stopped short of that? Just said she confessed her crimes and provided information that was helpful to the prosecution without mentioning that she informed on her close friends and family and even her mother?

          It’s a little like the Hitler Youth model — government is more important than family. The highest praise goes to those who betray.

          • I see this as a case of divided loyalty. How far does loyalty to family and friends go? And what loyalty to we owe to society? What happens when they conflict?

            Because this isn’t a choice between Mom and the government. We don’t have laws against extortion and sex trafficking for the government’s sake. It’s for society’s sake. For the sake of all of us.

            Sure, we owe our family and friends a lot. We also owe society a lot.

            So this is not Hitler Youth ethics. It’s a moral dilemma civilized people have faced since the advent of Athenian democracy.

          • Well, she is not a sterling example of truth telling. But she could be said to be an example of a woman who has been trying to do what’s right.. and is getting better at it without Raniere’s influence.
            So your issue is with the DOJ, and not Lauren, yet you are taking it out on Lauren. Clearly you don’t give a shot to justice. Man, were you a part of the mafia or something, that family comes before the rest of the world? For you the highest praise goes to those who would betray the world for their family. If I swap family for cult, it really shows the mafia side of thinking you seem to have engrained.

          • I see that there are many similarities between the Mafia and the Department of Justice.

        • Maybe Lauren reasoned she WAS saving her mother by coming clean about the cult.

          Maybe Lauren wanted to get her mom away from Raniere at any cost?

          I remember Catherine Oxenberg saying that she knew what she was doing could get her daughter (India) arrested but she believed jail was better than the cult, for India.

      • Let’s say a mother is a serial killer. Only her son knows. After how many murders should the son recognize he can’t stop her by himself? After how many murders should the son reckon he needs police involvement to stop her? Or should he simply ignore the fact she is murdering people and get along?

        • In the unusual case you present, the murders of course must be stopped. However, we are talking about something a little different in the case of Lauren — she was a coconspirator and she informed on her mother [and friends and other relatives – presumably her sister and brother-in-law]- according to the DOJ.

          Why did she do this? Because she was interested in justice? In saving others from crimes or saving herself?

          • I don’t trust your motivations here, man. You decided to disclose redacted personal information when it wasn’t necessary.. all so you could get clicks. To me, your motivations are highly suspect right now.

          • Well, your initial comment wasn’t so nuanced: “I would never inform on my mother for the simple reason that I owe her my life. Sorry.”

            Imagine she did this because she was interested in justice? Also imagine her own mother encouraged her to tell absolutely everything she knew, including what could be incriminating for her own mother?

            Sorry, but you made a judgment here that is way more out of place than Lauren informing on her mother.

    • Re Frank’s Response to Anon 8:17 :

      At one time in Massachusetts,
      State Troopers were given a personality test. On the test, they were asked if they caught their MOTHER speeding would they give her a speeding ticket.

      The answer the State Troopers were looking for was “no”.

      The test had no wrong or right answers being a personality test. The test was merrily to weed out dishonest or crazy people.

      What normal man would inform on their mother or give her a speeding ticket?

      • So the test had no right or wrong answers, but the state troopers were still looking for the answer as No. Sounds like state troopers are dishonest.

    • I hear Lauren is good at branding if you need your pet branded for identification purposes. Lauren is especially good with the bitches. If your dog has something that looks like “LS” on your dog’s vaginal area…we have no idea what it could mean.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083