NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere had plans to build dungeon to cage women and to exploit them as his 'sex slaves'

During Raniere's trial, a former member of DOS, the sex slave group, read excerpts from a manual which was allegedly written by Allison Mack and Raniere and had been given to the women. A part of it read: 'Your sole highest desire must be to further your Master'


                            NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere had plans to build dungeon to cage women and to exploit them as his 'sex slaves'

A former member of DOS, the sex slave group within the cult NXIVM, testified on Monday, May 20, that cult leader Keith Raniere was planning to build a dungeon so that he could cage women just before he was arrested last year. 42-year-old Lauren Salzman, who is a co-defendant in the case and had accepted a plea deal last month,  spoke about the cult leader's plans during her second day in the stand.

The New York Times reported that she also read excerpts from a manual that had been given to the women in the group. The text, which was allegedly written by Raniere and Allison Mack, allegedly read: "Your sole highest desire must be to further your Master from whom all good things come and are related."

In this courtroom drawing, defendant Keith Raniere, center, is seated between his attorneys Paul DerOhannesian, left, and Marc Agnifilo during the first day of his sex trafficking trial, Tuesday, May 7, 2019 (Source: Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Salzman said while reading another passage from the manual: "The best slave derives the highest pleasure from being her Master's ultimate tool. It doesn't matter what the command is, it matters that you obey. It doesn't matter that you understand the command, it matters that you obey."

She also testified that a DOS master working with Raniere in 2017 ordered items for the above-mentioned dungeon, including handcuffs, wrist and ankle ties, and nipple clamps. The order was ultimately canceled after a shocking New York Times report exposed the cult based on claims from former DOS slaves. The dungeon was never built. 

The testimony came on a day when jurors were also shown receipts for thousands of dollars worth of sex toys that were ordered by a member of Rainere's inner circle. The items included a full-size jail cell described by the seller as "a true piece of dungeon furniture."

Describing the meetings with Raniere, she said that members of a secret society for female followers sometimes called "The Vow" would follow a protocol that drove home his standing as their "master".

Salzman had pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in March this year. She testified that she was a master in the cult and has six slaves of her own. The 42-year-old was allegedly told that the group would teach women to be a "master of your own life". She told the jury that she and the other women in the cult who were branded with Raniere's initials "would be totally nude and sit on the floor below him" but revealed that the cult leader would be clothed while he spoke to them.

In this April 8, 2019 file photo, actress Allison Mack leaves Brooklyn federal court in New York after pleading guilty to racketeering charges in a case involving a cult-like group based in upstate New York called NXIVM (Source: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Prosecutors in federal court in Brooklyn used Salzman's testimony to give jurors an inside look into a bizarre alternate universe they say Raniere created as head of NXIVM, the upstate New York group that offered expensive, multi-step educational programs but was also seen by many as a cult.

In the prescribed manual for the women's meetings, there were statements that said: “You should be a hungry dog for your master.” Raniere sometimes ordered them to use a paddle to spank each other as punishment if they disobeyed his rules, Salzman said.

Her statements stand in stark contrast to those of Raniere's lawyers who insist that his interactions with the women, however unusual, were consensual. Raniere has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of using his teachings to manipulate and exploit women as his "sex slaves." 

On Friday, Salzman identified actress Allison Mack as a high-ranking member of the secret subgroup. Mack, best known for her role as the friend of a young Superman in the "Smallville" series, has pleaded guilty to participating in the collection of embarrassing material from followers — called "collateral" — that the group threatened to make public if they ever tried to defect.

After the group was formed in 2017, Salzman and the other members would begin meetings, with Raniere absent, by taking nude group photos of themselves and sending them to him, Salzman said. They were instructed to make sure their brands were visible and that they had to "look happy," she said.

A federal prosecutor says the self-help guru used threats, "shame and humiliation" while grooming women for sex (Source: Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Salzman testified that any resistance to the orders of the leader known as "Vanguard" was considered an "ethical breach." Begging for his forgiveness was seen as an opportunity for personal growth, she added.

Asked how she felt about Raniere before becoming disillusioned, Salzman said, "I looked up to him. . I wanted to be like him." She also said she yearned to have a baby with him. But Salzman also testified Raniere sought to control her by taking nude photos of her over her objections, giving her instructions on how to groom herself and convincing her to join threesomes with other women. He also nicknamed her "Forlorn" because she had trouble hiding her unhappiness.

"There were lots of times I wanted to leave the relationship and someone would talk me out of it," she said. 

With AP inputs.

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