“The Vow” finale hinted at several big interviews gearing up for the second installment on HBO. Any additional details on what we can expect for season two will have to wait until 2021 (when next set of episodes is scheduled to drop). Until then, here’s an update on all the major players in the docuseries that exposes the practices of the self improvement organization and cult known as NXIVM. What’s next for NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman and whistleblowers Mark Vicente, Bonnie Piesse and Sarah Edmondson?
Do not read if you haven’t watched the season one finale of “The Vow” — spoilers ahead.
What do we know about the future? In September, filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim revealed their plans to interview all parties involved in NXIVM to Variety “We reached out to everybody involved — many people, on all sides of the story — and we are continuing to film.” Looks like they made good on that promise as the last episode strongly implies the duo landed interviews with both Raniere and Salzman. But where are they now?
The finale replayed Raniere’s arrest in 2018. Over a year later, he would be convicted on racketeering and sex trafficking charges in June of 2019. Raniere currently awaits sentencing in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center and faces a possible life sentence. Despite what has been revealed about NXIVM, Raniere still has loyalists fighting for him.
According to the Albany Times Union, a small group of supporters delivered a petition to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn in September of 2020. The petition sought to hold the prosecutors and judges overseeing the case accountable with claims of witness and evidence tampering. This paper was also signed by Amanda Knox, the American who was convicted of a murder in Italy but later exonerated. Neil Glazer, who represents victims of NXIVM, called the attempt “absurd” and a publicity stunt.
The series creators have confirmed that “The Vow Part Two” will be set against the backdrop of the 2019 federal trial, which lasted for six weeks and included testimony from several of the women involved. Raniere’s sentencing will take place on Oct. 27.
Mack pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn federal court to her involvement in the NXIVM sex cult case. She was indicted in April, 2018 on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor. She faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted. Variety reported that Mack was previously in negotiations for a plea deal with authorities. There is currently no date for her sentencing, which was postponed due to the pandemic.
Mack allegedly helped run the secret, women-only sect of NXIVM called DOS where, according to “The Vow,” members were asked to provide information and pictures as “collateral” to their leaders who were called “masters.” In an explosive New York Times, article the FBI revealed that the collateral Mack gave Raniere was the deed to her home, the promise that any unborn children birthed by her would also be his and a letter to social services alleging abuse to her nephews. Meanwhile the article (and docuseries) both alleged that a percentage of the collateral Mack was collecting (including nude photos) for the women’s only group was also given to Raniere. As for the branding, “The Vow” shows that it appears to include a combination of Mack and Raniere’s initials. Mack took responsibility for the idea in the New York Times article.
Mack’s spouse and NXIVM member Nicki Clyne recently gave an interview to CBS standing by some of NXIVM’s practices, including the brand. “We’re not denying that certain things took place,” she said. “There is evidence that certain things happened. How they happened, why they happened and how certain people chose them — that’s a whole other conversation.”
Mack’s current stance on NXIVM, however, is unclear although she did apologize to all the victims in her 2019 trial. “I’m very sorry for who I’ve hurt through my misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings,” she said, according to Vulture. And on a recent Michael Rosenbaum podcast whistleblower Edmondson alluded to a change. “I don’t want to bring anymore hurt on [Mack] and her family, I want her to be better,” Edmondson said. “I want her to wake up, and I heard by the way, that she has which is great.”
Salzman, the co-founder of NXIVM with Raniere, was the first of high-ranking officials to plead guilty. She did so in March 2019, admitting to one count of racketeering. During her trial, she admitted to stealing the passwords of NXIVM’s enemies and altered video footage of herself teaching classes that was used in a lawsuit against cult expert Rick Ross. She was released on a $5 million bond and is currently awaiting her sentencing, which was originally set for July but has been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman was one of the major donors cutting checks to keep NXIVM afloat. Bronfman was charged with racketeering and identity theft in 2018 and sentenced to 81 months in September of 2020. The judge also imposed a $500,000 fine and a restitution of $96,605 paid to victim “Jane Doe 12.” The U.S. attorneys argued that Raniere couldn’t have committed his crimes without Bronfman’s financial support, while Bronfman’s lawyers denied that she had any knowledge of the accused sexual abuse or human trafficking.
Bonnie Piesse & Mark Vicente
Bonnie Piesse’s decision to defect from NXIVM was the beginning of the end of this group. Today the couple is still together but living in Portugal, according to a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times. Her decision ignited the fire that pushed her husband Mark Vicente out of the reach of Raniere.
“Whatever this process is, I am not through it,” Vicente told the L.A. Times. “I have spoken to people who have been in organizations for 30, 40 years. It can take decades to unravel everything.” Vincente hasn’t stopped creating and is currently working on several documentaries, a memoir and a mystery thriller starring Piesse.
Nancy Salzman’s daughter, Lauren, was heavily involved in DOS, the group marketed as women’s empowerment that was later revealed to have been grooming women as sexual partners for Keith Raniere. In 2019, Lauren pled guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy and was put under house arrest. During her trial, she admitted to harboring a woman locked in a room for two years. She is also awaiting her sentencing.
In court, Salzman expressed regret for her actions at NXIVM, saying, “I’m very sorry for my poor decision-making and decisions that result in the harm to others and not the just victims in this case but to hundreds of members of our community and their friends and families as well,” according to the NY Post.
Sarah Edmondson & Anthony “Nippy” Ames
The head of Vancouver operations, Edmondson was the lynchpin in bringing down DOS. After blowing the lid off the branding with her own horror story and scars, Edmonson and her husband Anthony Ames plowed ahead trying to bring justice for all the people they brought into the fold. Since the finale, Edmondson has published her own story on her experience titled “Scarred,” and continues to work as a voiceover actress.
Edmonson and Ames are still married and, according to their Instagrams, are living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sarah gave birth to a boy, Ace, in March 2019, making their older son, Troy, a big brother. Ames also has a few new acting credits, including the TV movies “Love Under the Rainbow” and “Genesis Code.”
“Dynasty” actor Oxenberg’s emotional battle to break her daughter, India, out of NXIVM was thoroughly documented in the first season of HBO’s “The Vow.” However, Catherine Oxenberg chose to keep their reunion off-screen, and is expanding on her story in a new docuseries on Starz, “Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult,” which premieres Sunday (the same night as “The Vow’s” finale).
“To be honest, I was so focused on my goal that I don’t even remember the cameras being there, I don’t remember saying half the things I said,” Catherine Oxenberg told Variety about her experience filming “The Vow.”
India Oxenberg will join her mother, Catherine Oxenberg, to open up more about her experience in NXIVM in Starz’s docuseries. “I felt like it was my chance to take the story back into my own hands and say, ‘Hey, there’s a person here! Not just a branded, sex slave, cult girl — a human being,’” India told Variety.
India broke away from NXIVM in 2018 and reconnected with her mother. She did not face any criminal charges. Meanwhile on India’s verified Instagram account, she announced her engagement to chef Patrick D’Ignazio in October, 2019.
Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia
Catherine Oxenberg’s mother — better known as Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia — has kept a low profile since appearing in “The Vow” several times. Princess Elizabeth told Radar Online in September 2018 that Catherine and India had reconciled and that India was “beginning to remember details that obviously were hidden in the subconscious.”
Frank Parlato’s website, The Frank Report, is still up and running, providing coverage of the various NXIVM sentencings. However, Parlato is now facing his own legal troubles. According to the Niagara Gazette, Parlato and his business partner Chitra Selvaraj are currently facing charges for conspiring to defraud the IRS. They have been charged with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering and corrupt interference with the IRS. Their trial is currently set for June 8, 2021.
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