One day after she was sentenced to probation, former NXIVM director of education and top EM therapist, now dog groomer, Lauren Salzman wrote a letter of support for her mother, Nancy Salzman to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
Nancy’s attorneys tried to keep Lauren’s and other supporters’ letters under seal, but the judge required the attorneys to publish the letters.
Here is Lauren’s complete letter. My commentary on this letter is found in the post: Debunking Lauren’s Bogus, BS Claim to Moral Superiority for Her or Her Grifter Mother Nancy Salzman.
Here is Lauren Salzman’s complete letter:
August 29, 2021
Dear Judge Garaufis,
Respectfully, I write to support my mother, Nancy Salzman, because I occupy a unique position as both her daughter and codefendant. Also, I feel my prior relationship with Keith Raniere and NXIVM provides me with relevant information.
It is appropriate to be angry at people who commit crimes and hurt others. Sometimes people involved with and victimized by criminal organizations are satisfied with simple explanations for what went wrong. They want more than anything to exorcise their outrage, to move on and try to heal. However, often the actual events that took place don’t support the dominant narrative. For someone involved with NXIVM (like me), it is excruciatingly painful (and humbling) to spend time unraveling how we could have participated in the criminal events, and to achieve an accurate understanding of our personal responsibilities.
In the complex system of abuse in which my mother and I participated, what happened is not cut and dry. How it happened is complicated, as were many of the people involved. Less complicated, however, is to step forward and accept the truth, saying, “I did this and that wrong deed, and I accept responsibility.” The number of people who have taken this step, in relation to the universe of culpable actors, is relatively few. But Nancy is not among them.
My mother stood up shortly after our arrests, and upon learning the fast-emerging truths of what had happened, she spoke the truth to her co-defendants. She acted decisively on her belief in what was being revealed, instead of spending time, as had been our practice, demonizing our critics and weaving complex defensive narratives. She pleaded guilty, and in so doing, changed the course of the case, by forging a path for others to do the same.
The truth is that many hundreds of people actively promoted Keith and his initiatives for years and reaped significant financial and other benefits. Many were fervent supporters championing his rise to power from which perch he did significant damage to many more people than would have been possible had he not enjoyed broad support. Although the group that conceived and carried out illegal activities was smaller, very few have owned up to their participation as perpetrate.rs as readily as they don the victim’s cloak. Some of us have rightly been held to task for our conduct, both in public and in a court of law; but I think it is easiest to view the six of us charged as the full complement of “bad guys” now brought to justice, which is hardly the complete picture, and fails to serve the interests of relating the whole truth.
My mom has taken responsibility. When she appreciated the enormity of what she had participated in, she was quick to decide what was right, and do it. She not only pied guilty, but she offered to help the prosecutors. She urged me to do the same, knowing full well that some of the information I would share would implicate her in criminal activity. She urged this upon me anyway because she believed it was the right thing to do and because she felt responsibility and shame. So, I made my own personal decision to follow her advice and cooperate with the government as best I could.
Some people think we pled guilty for the sole purpose of getting ourselves off the hook, but there is no off the hook in our situation. We struggle every day with personal issues relating to the abuse we suffered at Keith’s hands, someone we trusted implicitly and idolized. More so we carry guilt and sadness for helping support his corrupt agenda, and know that we, in positions of authority at NXIVM hurt people who trusted us. There are former members who with good reason aggressively scorn us.
But many others have simply managed conveniently to forget their own complicity and their own commission of crimes in Keith’s service. We case defendants faced public shaming and continue to be shunned and scorned. I believe these consequences of the case will never completely go away. We’ve lost our whole community. We have lost respect. We have lost our belief in ourselves, and in people we trusted and revered. There is no off the hook. I question whether I will ever have the ability to fully recover, and as my mother and I have talked about it, I know she feels similarly.
Many will rightly say that we brought all of this upon ourselves and that we deserve whatever pain and punishment is visited on us. But for my mother, from very shortly after her arrest (and not to get off any hook), she posed the question, “What must we do to make it right; and what may I do to make it right?”
My mom is a good person. That cannot also be said of Keith. As co-founder, titled Prefect, and NXIVM President, it is understandable she is cast as Keith’s right-hand woman, and, as such, presumed to have been completely on board with his many criminal schemes. But while she and Keith were the co-founders of the entity that would become NXIVM, she did not systematically lie, mislead, and take advantage of people in pursuit of demented pleasures, as has been revealed to the chief focus of Keith’s life.
So, while it’s easy to over-simplify and to cast Nancy as Keith’s right-hand-woman, on board and his partner in every crime, Keith was too clever to let Nancy know anything at all about his most depraved project, DOS, and she did not know.
Moreover, Nancy was abused by Keith just as he abused everyone within his orbit. He came into her life at a vulnerable moment for her and convinced her that what he could offer her was far more valuable than anything she had done in the past or could do on her own in the future. He scammed her into leveraging her life savings and the good will she had built over her long self-made career to support a notion that he, the “smartest and most ethical man in the world,” had what was needed to help humanity rise to its greatest potential.
Honestly, Keith’s stated objectives for a more noble human existence was a beautiful vision, so compelling that almost 20,000 people embraced it. And he, the master craftsman that painted this picture, was so good at what he did that before 2017 only a handful of people were able to divine that he was not who he purported to be. Unfortunately, individuals who rightly became disaffected with Keith before his arrest were attacked viciously and written off as scorned lovers, disaffected ex-employees, controlling parents of the more privileged and sheltered NXIVM members, some of whom had themselves engaged in highly questionable, if not overtly criminal conduct, so it was difficult to discern that, at bottom, they were telling the truth versus being vindictive, as was fed to us loyalists.
When there were defections of ranking members and demands by them for money in return for services rendered, it was characterized as extortion and an attack on the organization. They were branded enemies to be shunned, and we were the good guys.
Behind the scenes Keith fired most of the executive board blaming us for not handling things better and we believed not only that we had destroyed his organization because of our shortcomings but that we owed it to him to fix it . He installed a new “business building” board with Clare [Bronfman] at the helm and closed my mom out of all NXIVM operations.
From then on, even though we had board meetings in her house he refused to let her attend. Later, he moved the location of the board meetings to Clare’s house and would scold me if I even let me mom know about them. When asked why, he was quick to anger and pointed to limitations he perceived my mom to have that he insisted were bad examples for the organization.
In instances that she was allowed to attend meetings, he refused to look at her and if she spoke he would discipline her for interrupting him or requiring him to expend additional effort on her behalf. He constantly humiliated her in front of others and made her feel that she was stupid. My mother was often exhausted because of how hard she worked, but Keith insisted that her need for rest was out of weakness or an indulgence.
Additionally, he required that she stay up late at night to work with him and wake up early to cook him breakfast each morning before he went to sleep for the day. At times, her fatigue was so pervasive that she would fall asleep anytime she sat down. He would then discipline her and point out to others how “disintegrated” she was that she couldn’t even stay awake while he was speaking. He even went so far as to write into the curriculum how my mom’s drinking was a dependency and demonstrated a lack of personal evolution. Not surprisingly he failed to include the multitude of other caffeinated and energy enhancing drinks that he consumed daily.
When DOS went public, he forbade us from telling Nancy anything outside of the cover-up story he had crafted. She did a lot to try to find out what was going on, but he, both to her privately, and then in a public forum for high ranking NXIVM members, denied all knowledge of DOS and its creation. He subsequently advocated for the benefits of what he explained away as some kind of “edgy” and “character building” group and published a public statement to that effect online. Then, since Allison [Mack] and I were the only members of DOS that were mentioned publicly, he let us take the full public hit for DOS, both inside and outside of the organization. As a result, my mother believed that through my impulsiveness and lack of critical thinking, I put her entire company and reputation at risk. This almost destroyed our relationship.
When Keith went to Mexico in November of 2017, he cut communication leaving us alone to navigate the media explosion and the unfolding investigation that would become this case. It was only then that I finally told my mother that DOS was started by Keith, but she didn’t truly learn the DOS story until the trial.
Having said this, very quickly after we were indicted and became privy to the case discovery, my mom began to see who Keith really is. She saw it before I did and was instrumental in helping me come to grips with reality. She pushed me to plead guilty and supported me in my cooperation agreement. We both felt strongly that the right thing to do was to take responsibility, tell the truth about what happened and try to help resolve the case. I know we both still stand at that decision.
Since my decision to plead guilty and change careers, my mom has been nothing but supportive. She has helped me emotionally and financially to restart my life. She has assisted me in pursuing meaningful counseling and ongoing education in my new field of work. She has made sure I have had a place to live. She has spent the greater part of the last 3 years facing her own major health issues, while managing the medical care needs for both her parents who have steadily declined in health throughout this case. My grandfather passed away recently, but up until the end, taking care of him was an enormous job. He was completely bed ridden for the last year of his life and my mom served as his nurse and care manager. Without her, he would have certainly died after a heart attack he suffered last summer. Because of her care, we were able to have an extra year with him, and he was able, as he deeply wanted, to spend his final year in his home with his wife.
My grandma is in the midst of declining mental health. She has lit fires in her home several times. She has fallen and cut her head open twice. She requires round the clock care and can’t be left unsupervised. She now often forgets who we are and how we’re related to her. Even though care aides help, my mother is my grandma’s main caregiver. Without her, my grandma, who just lost her husband of 72 years, would be in a nursing home unable to receive any visitors due to covid.
I believe that if you look at how my mom has spent her time on home detention, you will see her true nurturing and supportive nature. This is the core of who she is and has always been. Yes, some angry voices have risen against her, and it is true she made some poor- even morally deficient and criminal – choices, but the majority of them were grounded in her belief in Keith’s essential goodness, and her wrong-headed view that his ideas would promote greater happiness and decency for humanity.
Also, she is truly repentant, and trying to be the strong one for our entire family. Given her personal regret, her fear of being separated from her loved ones, including her newborn grandson and failing mother, and worrying over her own serious health challenges, she still pushes forward. She works, maintains family connections, and tries to integrate into her life the tragic truth of what NXIVM turned into, and to deal with it responsibly. That is the kind of person she is.
Thank you for your time and consideration of my perspective,