Allison Mack sentenced to three years for NXIVM role

(Allison Mack on Smallville with This is Us’ Justin Hartley)

38-year-old Smallville star Allison Mack has been sentenced to three years in prison for her role in NXIVM. Mack was one of Keith Raniere’s cult-like group members, recruiting women as sex slaves. She pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering in 2019.

Mack, best known for playing Chloe Sullivan on the Superman series, appeared in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. Along with jail time, she will pay a $20,000 fine and must complete 1,000 hours of community service. Her sentence is well below the 14 to 17 1/2 years recommended under advisory sentencing guidelines. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York announced the sentence on Twitter. 

Mack’s attorneys suggested probation or home confinement due to her cooperation with the government: 

“In the last three years, Allison Mack has turned her life around and earnestly dedicated herself to rehabilitation, renunciation of Keith Raniere and those who supported him, and making amends,” Mack’s lawyers wrote in a court filing. “She is now well on her way to once again being a productive member of society. Since being freed from the twisting influence of Raniere, Ms. Mack has re-devoted herself to pursuing a positive and constructive life, centered around the three pillars of family, education, and healing.”

Mack faced a maximum of 40 years behind bars. Federal sentencing guidelines recommended a lower punishment of 14 to 17 1/2 years. But in a recent sentencing memorandum, prosecutors wrote to request Mack receive a lesser sentence than the guidelines call for, noting that she “provided substantial assistance to the government” in its prosecution of her co-defendants.

Ahead of the sentencing, in a letter addressing “those who have been harmed by my actions,” which accompanied sentencing guideline recommendations from her attorneys and was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Mack wrote: “It is now of paramount importance for me to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry.”

“I threw myself into the teachings of Keith Raniere with everything I had,” she continued. “I believed, whole-heartedly, that his mentorship was leading me to a better, more enlightened version of myself. I devoted my loyalty, my resources, and, ultimately, my life to him. This was the biggest mistake and regret of my life,” Mack added.

NXIVM captured worldwide attention after Raniere and Mack were arrested in 2018. The organization’s “self-help” classes were sought after by billionaires, actors and socialites, but prosecutors say it operated as a criminal enterprise. Within the group was a secret organization known as “DOS” (short for a Latin phrase that roughly translates as “Master Over Slave Women”) led by Raniere and included “masters,” like Mack, who recruited and commanded groups of “slaves.”

Women were coerced into providing “collateral” material such as damaging information, rights to financial assets or sexually explicit photographs and videos in order to blackmail them from leaving the society or telling others about its existence. Some women were branded with Raniere’s initials on their pubic area, ordered to engage in sex acts with Raniere, put on starvation diets and physically isolated. 

Mack described her 11 years in the NXIVM organization led by Raniere as a form of brainwashing, and she has condemned his “twisting influence” on her life. Prosecutors credited Mack with providing an audio recording and other details that helped convict Raniere.

In October 2020, thanks in part to Mack for her “substantial assistance to the government”, the 60-year-old Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison following his conviction on federal sex crimes and other charges.

In the memo, published by Variety, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis did not mince words. He faulted Mack for using her celebrity status to recruit others to submit to Raniere’s twisted desires. Garaufis said:

“The victims of your conduct have described, through their testimony at Mr. Raniere’s trial and through their letters and statements to the court, the serious psychological and physical injuries that they suffered at your hands. They have described your cruelty, your lies and manipulation, your apparent sadistic pleasure in watching them suffer, and your creative enthusiasm when it came to developing new ways to debase them. They have described enduring psychological trauma as a result of your actions. The court acknowledges that to some of them, no sentence short of severe punishment will seem sufficient and that no sentence of any length can truly redress their trauma.”

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Nonetheless, Garaufis recognized mitigating factors such as believing she was also a victim of Raniere’s, that she is genuinely remorseful for her actions, and that she assisted the government in the case against Raniere. In his conclusion he said:

“I have considered the range of sentences that are available, and the range suggested by the Sentencing Guidelines. I have also considered the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities between you and other defendants who have been convicted of similar conduct. I have considered my obligation to impose a sentence that is sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve the objectives of sentencing. I agree with the Government, and with your lawyers, that a downward departure from the Guidelines range is warranted in this case. A sentence even in the lower end of that range would be much greater than necessary.”

Mack’s involvement with the group gained added attention by way of HBO’s NXIVM-themed docuseries The Vow. Shortly after the finale aired in October, HBO announced that it was moving forward with a second season, to premiere in late 2021.

The new episodes will offer an “exclusive view” into Raniere’s “innermost circle” while delving “into the stories of NXIVM’s top leadership in the US and Mexico, and into powerful, intimate stories of DOS members,” as promoted by HBO Max. The second season will also continue to track “the legal and emotional journeys of the group’s founders, supporters and defectors as new evidence and stunning revelations come to light while federal prosecutors and defense attorneys battle for opposing views of justice in a case caught in the national spotlight.”

Mack’s sentencing represents a significant milestone in the NXIVM case.