A sobbing Allison Mack appeared in Brooklyn court on Monday to enter a guilty plea in the federal case against Nxivm, a purported “self-help” group for which Mack allegedly acted as a recruiter, brainwashing members into sexual servitude. The former Smallville actor pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, and one count of racketeering, raising the possibility that she—along with the other top-level defendants who’ve recently pleaded guilty—may serve as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Nxivm’s leader, Keith Raniere.
“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, according to Vulture. “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.”
In April 2018, federal prosecutors charged Mack, 36, with sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy for her role in Nxivm, a group founded by Raniere and Nancy Salzman. (Salzman recently pleaded guilty to racketeering, and her daughter, Lauren Salzman, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy.) According to prosecutors, Nxivm promised members a professional self-improvement program, but some wound up inducted as “slaves” into a secret sorority called DOS. These women received brands on their hips, a symbol that incorporated Raniere’s initials, and found themselves siloed from the outside world. Their “masters” allegedly forced them into physical labor, kept them on strict diets, and made them perform certain sex acts on Raniere.
On Monday, Mack—who allegedly functioned as Raniere’s right hand—admitted to her role as a “master.”
“I was a member of a secret society founded by Keith Raniere,” she told the court, according to Page Six. “I concealed Keith Raniere’s role as the head of DOS.” Further, she added, the whole sub-group had been architected to “make [recruits] think they could suffer serious harm” if they failed to comply with leaders’ commands, a system she leveraged to make “slaves” “perform services for [her].”
The charges against Mack carry a penalty of 20 years in prison. Although her attorneys would not say whether or not she’s cooperating with the government, the Salzmans’ pleas (particularly Lauren’s redacted court documents) fueled speculation that the defendants might testify against Raniere.
The trial against Raniere—who faces charges of child pornography, in addition to sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy—Seagrams heiress and accused cult bankroller Clare Bronfman, and accountant Kathy Russell also began Monday, with jury selection. According to the Associated Press, the questionnaire asks prospective jurors how they feel about “rich individuals,” and whether or not they “believe that people under the age of 17 should be able to consent to sex with adults.” Opening statements have been scheduled for April 29th.