Which ‘The Vow’ Subjects Have Been Charged, Tried, or Sentenced? (VIDEO)
As HBO’s docuseries The Vow exposes the horrors of the self-help organization NXIVM, the sentencing of prominent members of the accused sex cult has begun. Executive board member Clare Bronfman, 31, was sentenced to 81 months in prison for her involvement with the group, nearly two years longer than what prospectors requested.
“[Bronfman] never took accountability — in fact, she actually thanked her ‘fans’ in court,” Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Silva Megerditchian told Yahoo Entertainment. “These actions are not looked at kindly by a judge who listened to victims talk about the harm Bronfman caused them.”
While NXIVM leader Keith Raniere has been sentenced, four other defendants, including Smallville alum Allison Mack, who was allegedly involved in the sex slavery cult, have not been. “These other defendants should note the judge is taking the victims’ accounts seriously and believes their lives were ruined because of the actions of NXIVM and their supporters,” Megerditchian added.
Read on for the status of Raniere, Mack, Bronfman, and the other NXIVM defendants viewers of The Vow are getting to know.
Keith Raniere — the co-founder and “Vanguard” leader of NXIVM — was convicted in June 2019 of multiple charges, including sex trafficking, forced labor, and wire fraud conspiracy, as well as racketeering charges that included underlying acts of possessing child pornography, child exploitation, identity theft, and money laundering, per the Times Union. On October 27, he was sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Raniere “[believed] he [would] be vindicated,” one of his lawyers told The New York Times, but federal prosecutors were asking for him to be sentenced to life in prison. “Raniere wreaked a path of destruction through his victims’ lives,” they wrote in a sentencing memo filed with the court in August. “[He] concealed his abuse behind the smokescreen of his supposed ‘personal growth’ programs—a charade he continues to this day.”
Nancy Salzman, the co-founder of NXIVM known to members as “Prefect,” pleaded guilty to a charge of racketeering conspiracy in March 2019 but has not yet been sentenced.
“I want you to know I am pleading guilty because I am, in fact, guilty,” she said in court at the time, per 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 still believe that some of what we did was good.”
Former Smallville actress Allison Mack was arrested in April 2018, and a year later, she pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering acts of state law extortion and forced labor, according to E! News. She’s awaiting sentencing and facing a reported maximum of 40 years in prison.
“Through it all, I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people,” she said in court, per E!. “I was wrong. … I must take full responsibility for my conduct and that is why I am pleading guilty today. I am and will be a better person as a result of this.”
Lauren Salzman, Nancy’s daughter, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges in March 2019, according to CBS News. Court documents revealed that she admitted to keeping a Jane Doe in a room between March 2010 and April 2012 and threatened to deport her back to Mexico if she did not complete the labor Lauren and others requested, per the New York Post.
In May 2019, Lauren testified in federal court that she helped hide Rainere in a suite in Mexico as police arrived to arrest him. “It never occurred to me that I would choose Keith, and Keith would choose Keith,” Salzman said of that moment, per BuzzFeed News.
Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison on September 30 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor people who were not in the U.S. legally for financial gain, as well as fraudulent use of identification, according to CNN.
“Defendant Bronfman twisted our immigration system to serve a reprehensible agenda, and engaged in flagrant fraud to the detriment of her victims and in the service of a corrupt endeavor,” Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement on Wednesday. “With today’s sentence, she has been held accountable for her crimes.”
Bronfman’s attorney told CNN that she “intends to mount a vigorous and immediate appeal.”
Kathy Russell, NXIVM’s longtime accountant, pleaded guilty in April 2019 to visa fraud after knowingly presenting phony documents to a consulate in Mexico to bring a NXIVM member into the United States, according to the New York Post. Her sentencing was pushed back indefinitely this January.