Torture was a way of life in the Nxivm sex cult, a former disciple testified Monday.
Sick svengali Keith Raniere wanted his collection of female sex “slaves” viciously spanked with studded sex toys, had them branded in excruciatingly painful procedures — and even plotted to build a basement dungeon to cage some of the women, ex-slave master Lauren Salzman told a Brooklyn federal-court jury.
The idea was that “you were just in there till they let you out,’’ said Salzman. “It could be 10 minutes. It could be an hour. it could be days.”
The dungeon — slated for a home that the group bought in upstate Waterford — was just one in a slew of twisted plans Raniere used to keep control of his beaten-down harem, Salzman said.
Testifying at Raniere’s sex-trafficking trial, Salzman said his all-female top echelon of slaves would be ordered to get naked for a photo before every meeting — and then the punishments began.
“We would take the naked picture, and everyone would take the number of whips commensurate with our failures,’’ said Salzman, 42.
The weapon of choice was a metal-studded rubber paddle, part of a $900 trove of sex toys ordered by Nxivm higher-ups in 2017, according to testimony.
The understanding was that “it should really hurt,’’ Salzman said of the spankings. “We were to paddle each other.”
Raniere even “would call in” to make sure people were being hit hard enough, Salzman said.
He was very specific about the “wrist flick’’ and making sure it was done to inflict the most pain, she said.
The cult leader himself once grabbed the device to personally deliver blows, she said.
But that wasn’t the worst of it.
Salzman called her branding with a cauterizing pen “the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.”
She detailed how she had Raniere’s initials slowly seared into her, as did other slaves, during a disturbing videotaped ceremony in January 2017.
Salzman said she was led to a massage table in a room in “Smallville’’ actress Allison Mack’s upstate home and had a stencil of “KR’’ burned into her hip right above her bikini line.
She then recited, “Master, please brand me. It would be an honor, an honor I want to wear for the rest of my life.”
Salzman said she remained clothed — unlike other slaves, who were naked for their ceremonies — because the “doctor’’ who performed her branding was below her in rank in the cult.
Salzman said there was always heavy pressure to recruit more slaves to the cult, and fortunately, she quickly landed one.
She said Raniere told her of the recruit, “She’s your slave now.”
“You were just in there till they let you out. It could be 10 minutes. It could be an hour. it could be days.”
“And he had told me that means if you tell her she has to have sex with another man, not her husband, she has to do that. If you tell her she has to have another man’s child, she has to do it.”
Salzman said that when she first had her own slaves branded, she wanted it to be extra-special.
She brought them to her home and “ did a candle-lighting ceremony,’’ Salzman testified, saying they next shared dinner before heading to Mack’s home for the branding.
But it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Her first slave, Jimena, “was squirming and squealing,’’ Salzman said.
“It scared the other girls,’’ she said. “She asked for a cloth to bite down.’’
Salzman said that the inner circle she was a part of, known as DOS, was designed around keeping Raniere sexually satisfied.
The creepy guru had sex with seven of its eight members, including Mack and her now-wife, Nicki Clyne, Salzman said.
The only one he didn’t have sex with was Rosa Laura Junco, Salzman said. She didn’t explain why.
One of Raniere’s top henchwomen was kept busy ordering “BDSM sex-torture things … handcuffs, nipple clamps … all things that were sexual in nature,’’ Salzman said.
Among the devices they bought was a remote-controlled shock collar, called a “puppy trainer.’’ Two sex cages had been ordered, too, Salzman said “for the people who were most committed to growth.’’
She was worried that she was going to eventually be asked to get in it.
“What I imagined was being there and having to go to the bathroom,’’ she said.
Raniere also was obsessed with landing photos of his women’s private parts.
“He looked at a picture specifically of my vagina and said he wanted to know why it looked groomed,’’ Salzman said.
And he liked the women stick-thin.
When one of Salzman’s hungry slaves texted her, “Master, may I eat extra calories today?” she dutifully replied, “No … I don’t think you need this. … Your calories are already high.’’
Mack creepily likened herself, Salzman and other slave masters to “sister wives.’’
After her own branding, Mack told her, “Isn’t it great? “Now not only do you have a master [Raniere], you have all of these sister wives. We’re going to raise our babies together,” she said.
But there was one woman the guru kept out of the master-slave scenario — Seagram’s heiress and Nxivm benefactor Clare Bronfman.
“Clare’s name was raised a bunch’’ in terms of becoming a slave master, but Raniere said no, “he wanted to keep that separate,’’ Salzman said.
Still, that didn’t stop Raniere from sleeping with Bronfman, court documents state.
Salzman, Mack and Bronfman have all pleaded guilty in the case. Clyne is not charged.
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