A woman implicated in a sex-trafficking case involving an upstate New York group known as NXIVM has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
Lauren Salzman entered the plea this past week at a hearing that was not on the court calendar.
A judge then sealed a transcript until parts of it could be blacked out. She is the daughter of Nancy Salzman, 64, who co-founded an alleged sex slavery ring associated with NXIVM.
The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on Friday about how the plea was handled.
Salzman was one of four co-defendants of Keith Raniere, leader of NXIVM, which has been compared to a cult. He has denied charges that he had sex slaves who were branded with his initials.
Raniere was indicted along with Nancy and Lauren Salzman, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman, Kathy Russell and “Smallville” actress Allison Mack on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges last year.
Prosecutors later added charges accusing Raniere of exploiting teenage girls, leading to speculation that his co-defendants might agree to cooperate against him.
Earlier this month, Nancy Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy for her part in the NXIVM operation. Known to her followers as the “Prefect,” she entered her plea at a Brooklyn Federal Court hearing and will face 33 to 41 months in prison at her July 10 sentencing.
The Newark, N.J., native admitted to committing identity theft by changing the user names and passwords of people identified as adversaries of NXVIM, and to editing video recordings before surrendering them to authorities.
Prosecutors have said she developed a women’s empowerment therapy program called “Explorations of Meaning” that was used to manipulate members of the cult.
Mack is accused of recruiting women and bullying them into having sex with Raniere, some of whom were branded with a symbol that prosecutors say included his initials.
Prospective slaves were asked to provide “collateral,” such as explicit photos, videos or personal confessions, to prevent them from leaving the group or divulging it, according to prosecutors.