Allison Mack sentenced to 3 years in prison for role in NXIVM sex cult

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·4-min read

Actress Allison Mack has been sentenced to three years in prison for her role in NXIVM. The 38-year-old Smallville star was one of the highest-ranking members of Keith Raniere's cult-like group as she recruited women as sex slaves. She pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering in 2019.

Mack, best known for playing Chloe Sullivan on the Superman series, appeared in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. Along with jail time, she will pay a $20,000 fine and must complete 1,000 hours of community service. Her sentence is well below the 14 to 17 1/2 years recommended under advisory sentencing guidelines, but more than her defense team sought — which was no time behind bars. Mack's attorneys suggested probation or home confinement due to her cooperation with the government. 

"In the last three years, Allison Mack has turned her life around and earnestly dedicated herself to rehabilitation, renunciation of Keith Raniere and those who supported him, and making amends," Mack's lawyers wrote in a court filing. "She is now well on her way to once again being a productive member of society. Since being freed from the twisting influence of Raniere, Ms. Mack has re-devoted herself to pursuing a positive and constructive life, centered around the three pillars of family, education, and healing."

Smallville star Allison Mack was sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the cult-like
Smallville star Allison Mack was sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the cult-like "self-help" organization Nxivm. (Photo: Reuters)

Prosecutors noted the "substantial assistance" Mack provided in their own memo and asked Judge Garaufis for a sentence "below" the applicable advisory guidelines.

NXIVM captured worldwide attention after Raniere and Mack were arrested in 2018. The organization's self-help classes were sought after by billionaires, actors and socialites, but prosecutors say it operated as a criminal enterprise. 

Within the group was a secret organization known as "DOS" (short for a Latin phrase that roughly translates as "Master Over Slave Women") led by Raniere and comprised of "masters," like Mack, who recruited and commanded groups of "slaves." Women were coerced into providing "collateral" material — damaging information, rights to financial assets or sexually explicit photographs and videos — to blackmail them from leaving the society or telling others about its existence. Some women were branded, ordered to engage in sex acts with Raniere, put on starvation diets and physically isolated. 

Raniere was sentenced to life in prison after his conviction on sex trafficking and other disturbing charges.

The judge condemned Mack's involvement on Wednesday.

"When it comes to DOS, and the monstrous crimes [Raniere] committed in connection with that organization, you were an essential accomplice. You willingly enslaved, destabilized, and manipulated other women so that when they were at their most vulnerable, when they believed that they owed you total obedience and that anything less than that would cause them serious personal and financial harm, when you had taken from them their sense of agency to make their own choices, you gave them 'special assignments' to satisfy Mr. Raniere's sexual interests," Judge Garaufis wrote in his sentencing memorandum. "Mr. Raniere could not have done that without you. You did that together. The evidence presented at his trial demonstrated that you were not a begrudging or passive enabler, but rather that you were a willing and proactive ally."

However, the judge noted three mitigating factors he took into consideration when sentencing Mack to significantly less prison time than guidelines suggested.

"First, your lawyers make a persuasive case that you, like the victims of your conduct, were ensnared in Mr. Raniere's coercive and manipulative web," he wrote. "Second, you have expressed remorse and contrition and made significant progress towards rehabilitating yourself. And I see no reason to doubt that your efforts and your progress are sincere."

Finally, Judge Garaufis noted Mack's assistance in the government's case against Raniere. She started cooperating around April 2019.

Mack called her involvement with NXIVM "the biggest mistake and greatest regret of my life" and apologized to victims ahead of her sentencing hearing.

"I am sorry I ever exposed you to the nefarious and emotionally abusive schemes of a twisted man," she wrote in a letter filed with the court last week. 

Ex-NXIVM member, India Oxenberg, is among the victims who reacted to Mack's sentencing, calling it "bittersweet."

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