Cult

The Many Homes of the NXIVM Sex Cult

The upstate New York homes of some of the key players in NXIVM, the twisted “sex cult” chronicled in the hit HBO documentary “The Vow,” are likely to go on the market soon. Whether buyers will line up to purchase the Albany-area townhouses, where women were enslaved, brainwashed, and branded, remains to be seen.

The final episode of the nine-part documentary premiered on Sunday. The series gives viewers an inside look at NXIVM, which initially billed itself as a self-improvement group. But beyond its personal and professional development seminars, NXIVM’s charismatic leader Keith Raniere oversaw a shadier subgroup called DOS.

With the help of “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, DOS allegedly recruited female members into “slavery” ultimately answerable to Raniere’s sexual whims. Women were put on extremely low-calorie diets and branded with Raniere’s initials via a cauterizing pen designed to burn flesh. If they tried to leave, DOS would threaten to release embarrassing collateral the women had provided, such as naked photos.

Now, two homes of high-ranking NXIVM members and the group’s headquarters are to be forfeited to the federal government, as punishment for their crimes.

Raniere, who went by the title “Vanguard,” was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking last year. He now faces up to life in prison. He’s slated to be sentenced on Oct. 27.

Other high-ranking members of the group, including NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman and her daughter, Lauren Salzman, pled guilty along with Mack to charges levied against them. They have yet to be sentenced. But as a result of their pleas, a U.S. District Court judge signed three preliminary forfeiture orders against the women last year. This basically means they have to surrender more than a half-million dollars, a Steinway grand piano valued at $40,000, as well as two townhouses and three commercial

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