Nancy Salzman may not have been the highest-profile name caught up in the NXIVM scandal, but as new HBO documentary The Vow shows, she was one of the most important members of Keith Raniere's horrifying cult group. Where is Salzman now, years after the NXIVM scandal broke wide open? For now, NXIVM's "Prefect" is in something of a state of legal limbo, having admitted to some of her involvement in the "self-help" organisation but still awaiting news on what, exactly, her sentence will be.
According to The New York Times, Salzman helped Raniere found the group back in the 1990s. She reportedly assisted Raniere in developing the "behavioural programs that formed the basis of NXIVM" and continued to have a strong influence on the group until its exposure in 2018 as a cover for recruiting into a cult involving sexual slavery and blackmail. Specifically, according to the court case against her, she was involved in identity theft, alteration of records and recordings, and attempts at surveillance. She pleaded guilty to the charges, which accused her of attempting to obtain contact info and passwords of "enemies" of NXIVM in order to illegally monitor them, as well as illegally editing recordings to remove incriminating portions.
The New York Post clarified further that these "enemies" were suspected moles in the organisation, whom Salzman monitored to see if they were revealing any of the group's secrets. She also confessed to having others destroy some video tapes, which contained Raniere's "teachings," so that they could not be used against any of them.
Salzman was the first of the inner circle to agree to plead guilty, which she did in court in March 2019. "I want you to know I am pleading guilty because I am, in fact, guilty," she said in court, according to the New York Post. "I accept that some of the things I did were not just wrong, but sometimes criminal. I justified them by saying that what we were doing was for the greater good. I am deeply sorry for the trouble I caused my daughter, [and] the pain I caused my parents." She added: "I still believe that some of what we did was good."
Salzman also brought her daughter, Lauren, into the NXIVM fold, where she became one of the higher-ranking members in charge of branding new recruits as part of the inner circle, known as DOS. At her own trial in April 2019, Lauren Salzman confessed to having kept a woman captive for nearly two years, threatening to have her deported to Mexico unless she obeyed the orders of Salzman and other members. Both Salzmans agreed to testify against Raniere as part of their plea deals, and Lauren in particular became a devastating witness for the prosecution, revealing horrifying details.
As of now, Nancy Salzman is still awaiting sentencing after her guilty plea. Initially, sentencing was supposed to happen in the fall of 2019, but got pushed back to March 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, the sentencing of all the NXIVM cohorts was pushed back indefinitely. The Vow airs on Fox Showcase from Sep. 20.