'Smallville' star Allison Mack pleads guilty to racketeering charges in sex cult case
Allison Mack, the 36-year-old actress best known for playing Chloe Sullivan in the CW superhero series Smallville, has pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges for her involvement in the secret sex trafficking cult NXIVM.
"I have come to the conclusion that I must take full responsibility for my conduct and that’s why I am pleading guilty today," Mack said in court, according to the New York Post. "I’m very sorry for the victims of this case. I’m very sorry for who I’ve hurt though my misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings."
Self-help guru Keith Raniere supposedly created NXIVM as a multi-media marketing company "to raise human awareness, foster an ethical humanitarian civilization, and celebrate what it means to be human." However authorities allege that Raniere and Mack, who rose to be his second-in command, manipulated the women into "master-slave relationships" and exploited them for sex and labor.
The women were allegedly forced to perform services under the threat of serious harm, adhere to strict diets of only 900 calories a day, and endure a ceremony in which Raniere's initials were branded into their skin with a hot cauterizing pen.
In an expose by The Hollywood Reporter, people involved with the New York-based organization described Mack "as incredibly intimidating, cruel and punitive," and claimed she "threatened to release the collateral she had gathered on them if they didn’t sleep with Raniere."
In April 2018, Mack and Raniere were arrested and charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy. The minimum sentence is 15 years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison if convicted. Raniere and others from his inner circle pleaded not guilty and denied all wrongdoing. Initially, Mack pleaded not guilty as well, but reversed her decision hours before jury selection was scheduled to begin.
Mack's unfortunate journey began by attending with a 2006 women's empower seminar thrown by NXIVM. After meeting Raniere, she joined the group, and reportedly rose to lead the arm Dominus Obsequious Sororium, which is Latin for 'Master Over Slave Women.' As the second most senior member, Mack became responsible for recruiting and monitoring slaves - and even she wasn't exempt from some rules.
"I took one look at Allison and I knew she was involved romantically and sexually with Keith," an unidentified former NXIVM member told THR. "She had a gray pallor that was common to Keith’s women because they all start to get a little sickly. I know I did. They drop weight. Their heads get too big for their bodies so they become bobbleheads. It’s scary-looking."
One whistle blower, Frank Parlato, NXIVM's ex-publicist said Mack never had "the ability to be an excellent body servant or valet... But she had the ability to bring women to Raniere’s bed. She procured some startling beauties." Meanwhile, a former flatmate told THR she believed Mack was brainwashed: "I don’t think she was thinking she was actually trafficking girls. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve punishment, but I think she had drunk enough Kool-Aid to really believe that these girls were going to save the world with [Raniere’s] super-sperm."
On Monday, Mack confessed to her involvement with Dominus Obsequious Sororium, owning a sex slave, and instructing women "to perform services for me," the New York Post reports. She said the system was "designed to make them think they could suffer serious harm" if they did not comply, since they handed over damaging collateral like nude photos and financial details.
“Through it all, I believed that Raniere’s intention was to help people. I was wrong," Mack said Monday, according to the New York Daily News. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 11.