On Wednesday, former “Smallville” star Allison Mack, 38, was sentenced to three years in prison for assisting in the recruitment of sex slaves for NXIVM leader Keith Raniere.
Mack could have received up to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2019 to racketeering and conspiracy charges; she had asked for leniency that would have permitted her to be sentenced to home confinement or probation. She assisted in the investigation of Raniere, prompting prosecutors to aver that her sentence should be less severe than the minimum 14 years federal guidelines suggested.
Mack apologized in court, saying, “I made choices I will forever regret. … I’m filled with remorse and guilt. I renounced Keith Raniere and all of his teachings. From the deepest part of my soul, I am sorry.”
But one of Raniere’s victims, Jessica Joan, told the court, “Shine light on who Allison Mack really is. Allison is a predator, a danger to society, and has no remorse for her victims. … She is the Ghislaine Maxwell to Keith’s Jeffrey Epstein. She can blame Keith all she wants, but she is the menace cut from the same cloth. She sought me out like a predator stalking her prey… Allison Mack and Keith Raniere are the most evil monsters I’ve ever met.”
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who called Mack “a willing and proactive ally” of Raniere, countered, “In Nxivm language, you are a slave as well as a master. It’s hard to determine a sentence for a defendant who is also her co-conspirator’s victim. … Your punishment should serve as a forceful deterrent and a serious sentence is important, but I don’t doubt that you were also manipulated.”
India Oxenberg, another victim of Raniere’s, told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m still in a state of disbelief, but I trust and honor the judge’s decision. I hope that her victims, including myself, feel vindicated and safer, given that she has denounced Keith Raniere. We all need time to process and digest everything. This is a big moment for all of us.”
In 2018, Mack was arrested in Mexico, where she and Raniere had gone to evade prosecution. Last October, Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years behind bars, but Raniere still stated, “I do believe I am innocent of the charges. … It is true I am not remorseful of the crimes I do not believe I committed at all,” as NBC News reported.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis stated that Raniere was “ruthless and unyielding” in crimes that were “particularly egregious,” adding that his actions were “cruel, perverse and extremely serious. Despite everything that has happened and despite the countless victims who have given voice to their great pain, Mr. Raniere remains unmoved. Indeed, he maintains his innocence. To him, the brave victims who have spoken out about the abuse suffered at his hands — including those who spoke today — are liars,” CNN reported.
“After the victims’ statements, Mr. Raniere’s lawyer, Mr. Agnifilo, argued that his client never intended to hurt any women, saying he was in love with them and simply had trouble dealing with breakups. In a stunning moment, Judge Garaufis interrupted Mr. Agnifilo in the middle of his speech, yelling, ‘No!’ Garaufis added, ‘It’s an insult to the intelligence of anyone who listens,’” according to The New York Times.
Prosecutors wrote that since his conviction in 2019, Raniere remained “unrepentant” with “no empathy for his victims … In his communications with his supporters, Raniere repeatedly attempts to cast himself as a victim of persecution and harassment from the government and from unknown enemies.”
Raniere founded NXIVM in 1998; over the next 19 years, 17,000 people were recruited. A sub-sect named DOS included women as his sexual slaves and under his strict control. The indictment against Raniere stated:
DOS operates as a pyramid with levels of “slaves” headed by “masters.” Slaves are expected to recruit slaves of their own (thus becoming masters themselves), who in [turn] owe service not only to their own masters but also to masters above them in the DOS pyramid. Raniere alone forms the top of the pyramid as the highest master. Other than Raniere, all participants in DOS are women. Raniere’s status as head of the pyramid was concealed from all newly recruited slaves, other than those directly under Raniere.
Oxenberg, a DOS “slave,” stated she was “instructed” to seduce Raniere and branded with Raniere’s initials, adding, “I was branded with a cauterizing pen. This extremely painful procedure lasted for over 30 minutes and took months to heal. I may have to live the rest of my life with Keith Raniere’s initials seared to my flesh. I am not sure how I will ever be able to fully put this behind me.”
She continued, “I was totally frozen, leaving my body so (that) I didn’t have to be with you when you would rub your fingers across my brand without me knowing it was your monogram you gazed and smiled at.”
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