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Actress Who Recruited Women for Nxivm Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

 Allison Mack (center rear) pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges in 2019.Credit...Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times
Allison Mack, known for her role on “Smallville,” helped lure women into the cultlike group led by Keith Raniere.
During her time within the cultlike group Nxivm, the actress Allison Mack recruited female “slaves” into a secret sorority, collected information used to coerce their compliance and directed several women to seduce the group’s leader, Keith Raniere.

She and Mr. Raniere discussed the design of ceremonies in which he suggested so-called slaves would be branded with his initials while unclothed and tied down — “almost like a sacrifice.”
But before pleading guilty in 2019 to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges for taking part in such activities, Ms. Mack quietly gave federal prosecutors who were pursuing a case against Mr. Raniere and other members of Nxivm what they called “substantial assistance.”

Among other things, prosecutors said, Ms. Mack turned over the recording of the branding discussion and provided a chilling bit of evidence that transfixed jurors when it was played aloud in court during Mr. Raniere’s trial. He was convicted and last year was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking and other crimes.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced Ms. Mack to three years in prison, saying she had used her status as a popular actress to lure women into her orbit then to “recruit and groom them as sexual partners for Mr. Raniere.”

“You capitalized on your celebrity,” Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis told Ms. Mack. “You were an essential accomplice.”
Ms. Mack will remain subject to home confinement until September, when she is scheduled to begin serving her sentence.
Prosecutors had cited Ms. Mack’s help in a memorandum to the court this month, asking Judge Garaufis to sentence her to less than the 14 to 17 and a half years that federal guidelines called for.

Ms. Mack’s lawyers asked the judge to issue a sentence without prison time, writing in a partly redacted memorandum that she had been subject to “brainwashing” while in Nxivm and now “recognizes that her actions were abhorrent.”
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While under home confinement and awaiting sentencing, those lawyers added, Ms. Mack had obtained an associate degree at a community college in California, had enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, and had worked as a caterer.

She also filed for divorce from Nicki Clyne, an actress who had joined Nxivm and was known for a role in “Battlestar Galactica.” The marriage, Ms. Mack’s lawyers wrote, had been at Mr. Raniere’s request.
In a letter to the court, Ms. Mack apologized to the people she had brought into Nxivm.
“I am sorry I ever exposed you to the nefarious and emotionally abusive schemes of a twisted man,” she wrote, adding, “I feel a heavy weight of guilt for having misused your trust.”

ImageJessica Joan, who said she was a victim of Nxivm, left Federal District Court in Brooklyn after Ms. Mack was sentenced to three years.
Jessica Joan, who said she was a victim of Nxivm, left Federal District Court in Brooklyn after Ms. Mack was sentenced to three years.Credit...Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times
In court on Wednesday, Ms. Mack watched impassively as a woman she had recruited into a clandestine sect within Nxivm rose and spoke before the sentencing. The woman, who had testified under the name Jay during Mr. Raniere’s trial, saying that Ms. Mack had directed her to “seduce” him, identified herself on Wednesday as Jessica Joan.

Ms. Joan accused Ms. Mack of “grooming me to become a sex slave for her beloved Keith Raniere,” adding, “Allison Mack is an evil sociopath, a menace to society and a danger to innocent human beings.”
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A few minutes later it was Ms. Mack’s turn to speak. Her hands shook and her voice broke as she acknowledged “abusive” and “illegal” behavior while in the sect, then added:

“I renounce Keith Raniere and all his teachings.”
Ms. Mack is best known as an actress for her role in the television series “Smallville,” which began in 2001 and ran for 10 seasons. In 2007, her lawyers wrote, she attended a workshop run by an organization called Executive Success Programs, co-founded by Mr. Raniere. She soon became devoted to Nxivm, which was based near Albany and presented itself as a self-help organization that could lead people to enlightenment.

Before long, Ms. Mack became a high-ranking figure within Nxivm, with leading roles in a women’s group called Jness and an acting group called the Source. She also formed a close relationship with Mr. Raniere, who went by the name “Vanguard” and was seen by many followers as a near-deity.
In 2015, Mr. Raniere formed a clandestine sect within Nxivm called The Vow or D.O.S. — an acronym for a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions.”

Ms. Mack was among eight women Mr. Raniere recruited as “first-line masters” within D.O.S. and considered his “slaves.” The eight also recruited their own slaves who, in turn, recruited others. They portrayed D.O.S. as a women’s empowerment group and hid Mr. Raniere’s role as its ultimate leader.
The recruits were expected to obey orders unquestioningly. That arrangement was enforced through threats to reveal embarrassing personal material, called “collateral,” that masters collected from women early in the recruitment process as a supposed sign of commitment and before revealing the true nature of the sect.

Ms. Mack recruited several women into D.O.S., including India Oxenberg, the daughter of the actress Catherine Oxenberg.
Another woman, identified only as Nicole, testified during Mr. Raniere’s trial that Ms. Mack had invited her to join Nxivm, then recruited her into D.O.S. after a meeting at the Ace Hotel in Manhattan, giving her 24 hours to accept.
Nicole, who compared her interactions with Ms. Mack to “an abusive relationship,” said she was persuaded to hand over to her collateral in the form of a solo sex tape and a letter falsely claiming that her father had sexually abused her.

Later, she added, Ms. Mack directed her to inform Mr. Raniere that she would do anything he asked, telling her, “Now go be a good slave.”
The next day, Nicole said, Mr. Raniere blindfolded her so tightly that he left marks under her eyes, led her to a house, ordered her to remove her clothes and then tied her wrists and ankles to a table. As Mr. Raniere circled the table and asked questions about her sexual history, Nicole testified, a third person began performing oral sex on her.

She described the experience as “terrifying.”
Ms. Mack told her after that she had been “really brave,” and added that she had earned “working more with Keith or something like that,” Nicole testified.
Ms. Joan testified during that trial that when Ms. Mack directed her to seduce Mr. Raniere, she called that “an honor and a privilege” and said it would help her overcome trauma caused by past sexual abuse. Instead of carrying out the assignment, Jay testified, she left the group, taking copies of other members’ collateral with her.

In their memorandum to the court, prosecutors outlined Ms. Mack’s assistance, which had not been publicly disclosed.
Ms. Mack provided descriptions of assignments for women to have sex with Mr. Raniere, efforts to find Mr. Raniere a virgin “successor,” his encouragement of the use of demeaning language and racial slurs to humiliate slaves and Clare Bronfman’s efforts to “harass and threaten” D.O.S. victims, prosecutors wrote.

Perhaps most noteworthy, Ms. Mack gave prosecutors the copy of a recorded conversation with Mr. Raniere about D.O.S. brandings.
“Do you think the person who is being branded should be completely nude and sort of held to the table like a sort of, almost, like a sacrifice?” Mr. Raniere asked Ms. Mack.

He then offered specifics for how women’s bodies would be arranged and said they should ask to be branded.
Ms. Mack could be heard agreeing with much of what Mr. Raniere said.
“We know the depth of our love through pain,” Mr. Raniere told Ms. Mack, adding, “Although my body may be burned or tortured or whatever my love is stronger.”


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