Woman implicated in sex slave case quietly pleads guilty

A woman implicated in the sex-trafficking case against an upstate New York self-help group has quietly pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.

Lauren Salzman entered the plea this week at a hearing that wasn't on the court calendar. Afterward, a judge agreed to seal a transcript until parts of it could be blacked out.

The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on Friday about how the plea was handled.

Salzman was one of the four co-defendants of Keith Raniere, the leader of the group called NXIVM (NEHK'-see-uhm), which has been compared to a cult. He has denied charges he had sex slaves who were branded with his initials.

Prosecutors this month added charges accusing Raniere of exploiting teenage girls. That sparked speculation his co-defendants might agree to cooperate against him.