Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman have both filed appeals in their criminal cases after being sentenced last month. The Nxivm founder was sentenced to 120 years in prison, while the billionaire heiress who bankrolled the operation got 81 months behind bars.
Meanwhile, the woman who brought down Nxivm and its leader called the convicted felon a "liar," "parasite" and "the definition of evil" at his sentencing hearing last month. OK! has now obtained the 15 victim statements that were delivered that day, including the one from Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson.
This is not a victim impact statement. This is a survivor statement. Keith, you tried to steal me from my husband. You tried to blackmail me. You tried to enslave me. You tried to ruin my life and the lives of my friends, but you failed.
Your brand of your initials on my body is gone. I had it removed with plastic surgery.
But I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I spent my 30s in a legitimate organization; one led by a true humanitarian. Instead of a monster who demonstrated his entire life mission is to destroy as many people as possible.
You used the trust that people had in me and my bright light as a recruitment tool for your personal harem and your insatiable desire for destruction.
In a curriculum that you said taught personal responsibility, you have taken none. You are not a leader or a mentor or a guru. You are a liar, a parasite, and a grifter; all the things that’s projected onto women.
Despite what you tried to teach us in the curriculum, it turns out there is a definition of evil. It’s you, what you have done and continue to do from prison and in this very moment. But your con has come to an end. The world sees your lies. And if there is ever any justice, the world will never see your face in public again.
Thank you to the Court for your time. Your Honor, you’ve saved many lives and my husband and I thank you very much.
Edmondson detailed her branding ceremony on the CBC podcast "Escaping NXIVM." She flew to Albany shortly after giving birth to her first child and was branded in the home of Allison Mack. "I recognized the carpet actually, recognized that smell, recognized Allison Mack's perfume," said Edmondson. "I recognized her plants. She's got very ornate, well decorated, a very pretty home."
She had previously been stripped naked and her eyes covered with a cloth to keep her in the dark as to what is going on, and the identity of the other women. Soon, the branding ceremony got underway, and all Edmondson could do in retrospect is wonder why she did not flee the scene.
"This part is a blur. Dr. Danielle Roberts comes in and we're introduced to her as the is the person who's going to give us our tattoo," said Edmondson. "What happens first, I believe we're asked to get naked again and Dr. Roberts has a stencil. We're supposed to place it on her body so that we can figure out where it needs to go so it's underneath our underwear line so we could still wear a bathing suit and people won't see it."
She continued: "And Lauren Salzman tells us something about the symbol being for the four elements and ... this is the horizon, for air, and this is the mountains, for earth and it's a symbol for the elements and for our strength and our connection to the, you know earth is women, or some bullsh*t. The hardest part for me is just when I go through it like recognizing so many opportunities that I had just to run. You know, it's so hard to explain to people why I felt like I couldn't."
She then told Salzman she did not like the symbol and that it was too big. Her concern was ignored despite the fact that she was married and would have to hide the marking from her husband. Then, she was forced to watch her friends writhe in pain until it was her turn to get on the table. When it came time for Edmondson to lie down she had managed to determine that the more still she was during the process, the quicker it would be.
"I thought about childbirth. I thought, I've already been through pain before. The most searing awful pain was being dragged across my body like a fucking fire, and every time I opened my eyes there is Lauren, staring at me lovingly and reading me this f**king religious scripture about whatever the f**k commitment and honor," recalled Edmondson.
Then, when every girl had been branded, they were all asked to join together and pose for a photo. "She asked us to take a photo a group photo with our brands, and we had to keep doing it until everyone's happy, everyone looks happy," said Edmondson. "And not hiding any part of our body, like girls on a beach, but we're not wearing our clothes like just we're just happy and that was a forced fake photo."
Edmondson then had to go about hiding the fact that she was branded from her own husband. When he did find out the two fled the cult, with Edmondson heading out first on a train with their child and her husband staying behind to tell off Raniere and the other members before joining his wife in Canada.