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.
As a dog groomer, Lauren’s work includes:
- Bathing and clipping dogs to conform to breed-specific styles.
- Detangling and removing matted hair
- Drying the coat
- Checking for parasites and other skin conditions
- Trimming nails
- Cleaning the ears
- Expressing anal sacs
- Brushing teeth
- 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?