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"Smallville" actress pleads guilty to sex cult charges

by By Kari Ashworth - Copy Editor
Tue, Apr 16th 2019 10:40 pm
living a Double life `Smallville` actor, Allison Mack (above) and the daughter of NXIVM president, Lauren Salzman (below), have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the sex cult, NXIVM.
living a Double life "Smallville" actor, Allison Mack (above) and the daughter of NXIVM president, Lauren Salzman (below), have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the sex cult, NXIVM.

It is always a shock to us when we hear a woman has been involved in a heinous crime. As a society, we treat women as fragile and innocent, unable to break the law; women are often seen as the victim. That is why it was such a shock to hear that Allison Mack, an actress best known for her role as Chloe Sullivan in “Smallville,” played a large part in coercing women into joining so-called “sex slave cult,” NXIVM. 

Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges on Monday, April 8, in relation to her involvement in NXIVM. As part of the plea, Mack also admitted to state law extortion and forced labor.

Founded in 1998 by Keith Raniere and Nancy Slazman, NXIVM claimed to be a self-help organization, conducting various workshops and classes aimed to help people find greater fulfillment in life. Mack joined the group to “find a purpose” as she was unsatisfied with her acting career, despite her role on “Smallville.” 

She was reportedly mentored by Raniere in 2011 after the show ended, according to The New York Times. Mack was quickly persuaded into believing Raniere’s teachings, to the point where she began recruiting other members to the group. 

Mack also played a large role in creating the secret sect within NXIVM, DOS, in which women recruited and groomed others under false pretenses to be Raniere’s sexual partners, according to CNN. 

Mack told the court that, at Raniere’s direction, she obtained compromising information and images from the members and threatened to go public with them if the women refused to perform “so-called acts of love.” Members were also branded by a cauterizing pen on their pelvic area with a symbol, that unbeknownst to the women featured Raniere’s initials. In an interview with New York Times Magazine, Mack admitted she came up with the idea to brand members of the group. 

“I was like: ‘Y’all, a tattoo?’” Mack said. “People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle ‘BFF,’ or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.”

Mack believed the branding was “more meaningful,” and those branded were told to shout “B****s warrior b*****s! Let’s get strong together!” to push through the pain. The women were forcefully held down throughout the process as well by fellow “slaves” and their “master.” Until someone recruited other members, the women were considered “slaves.” Once this happened, they were upgraded to “masters.”

Raniere’s operation came to a halt in April 2018 following a federal investigation of NXIVM. Mack, Raniere and four others were arrested and charged with racketeering, sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and forced labor. Raniere pleaded not guilty to his crimes and still claims his innocence to this day, while Salzman has pleaded guilty to racketeering. At the time, Mack pleaded not guilty. She was released on a $5 million bond and has been on house arrest pending sentencing. According to AP News, Mack has now admitted to her crimes and apologized to the victims. 

“I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people, and I was wrong,” Mack said. “I know that I can and will be a better person.”

By pleading guilty, Mack will be sentenced immediately and avoid going to trial with Raniere and the two others who have pleaded not guilty. 

Mack’s involvement in this is appalling and make no mistake, this is a form of sex trafficking. As a society, we tend to think of sex trafficking solely as women being kidnapped and sold for a profit to various individuals. However, DOS was a sex cult, and whether the women went into the organization willingly does not make any of this acceptable. 

The victims were tricked into joining NXIVM by believing it was a “self-help” group, forced to give up personal information and images of themselves, and branded with Raniere’s initials. 

These despicable actions should be condemned, as they have been. However, it raises the question of who constitutes a victim. Would Mack fall under this label as well? Raniere mentored Mack, gained her trust and made her believe in him enough to the point where she recruited others to the group.

Not to mention, Raniere exploited Mack’s name and fame by using her as the poster child for the group. Mack brought validity to the group’s controversial nature, and she seems to be taking the bulk of the hate, albeit rightfully so.

Mack did admit to the court Monday, according to The New York Times, that she received “labor and services” from two of the women named in the indictment. No one would argue that Mack is innocent in this, but it is some food for thought. Mack should be held accountable for her actions, but it is worth noting that part of the notoriety of the case stems from her involvement. 

Mack is to be sentenced on September 11, 2019, on two counts of racketeering. She faces a maximum of 40 years in prison, but it is likely she will serve far less time.

 

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