Tthirty minutes after the start of the fourth episode of The wish, HBO’s nine-part documentary series on NXIVM, Allison Mack goes to a volleyball game. She’s not here to play. She is here to meet for the first time Keith Raniere, the leader of what will later be considered by many to be a sex sect.

It’s November 14, 2006. Mack is a bright 23-year-old actor and regular on the television series. Small town. Raniere is 46, an unconvinced fraudster and sex trafficker still revered by members of NXIVM. Mack and Raniere sit down for a conversation on the sidelines. She wears street clothes; he’s still dressed for the game in a black polo shirt, matching shorts, knee high socks and knee pads, his long hair in a ponytail, partly held back by a sweatband.

“Why is art important to me? Mack thought about it. “Because so much of who I am is wrapped in art.” Raniere the press: “What if the artistic efforts were really bogus? What if art was just an excuse for those who couldn’t?

“And sometimes it does,” replied an increasingly thoughtful Mack. Raniere continues, “The greatest excitement you’ve ever felt is having all the time, regardless of art. The bad news is that you have to let go of the thought that it comes from art. If you feel that art is needed for this, it’s almost self-condemnation.

At this, Mack laughs – but it quickly turns out that laughter is a way to mask his sobs. She wipes the tears from her face and continues her exchange with Raniere in a trembling voice, interspersed with sobs. A few minutes later, she hugs him and kisses him on the lips. “Nice voice,” he told her. She is beaming. Their gazes linger on each other. “Thank you,” she said to Raniere. “You too.”

None of them know it yet, but it is the beginning of a story that will end with Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison and convicted of federal charges including racketeering, sex trafficking, labor conspiracy. forced and electronic fraud conspiracy. Raniere’s verdict was handed down in June 2019 and his conviction in October 2020.

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In April 2018, Mack was arrested on charges related to her involvement with NXIVM. Prosecutors called the actor a “frontline master” of DOS, an NXIVM subgroup described by former members as a sex network in which “slaves” were branded, forced to report to “masters” and to provide guarantees, sometimes including nude photos or videos. She pleaded guilty a year after her arrest to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges.

Mack will be sentenced on June 30. The audience will end one of the most unexpected celebrity reports of the decade, in which the star of a once-beloved teenage series was revealed to have been one of the closest collaborators to ‘a man widely described as a leader of a sexual cult. .

Born in 1982 in what was still known as West Germany, Mack’s family moved to California when she was very young. She started her acting career as a child. “My very first job was an advertisement for German chocolate and everything was in German,” she said. SciFiEtTvTalk in 2011. “What comes to my mind the most is that I was not allowed to swallow chocolate. I took a bite and at the end of each take I had to spit it out. It was very frustrating, especially for a child.

After scoring a series of credits for film and television in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Mack appeared in an episode of 7th Sky as Nicole, a new best friend of Lucy from Beverley Mitchell. In 2001, she began to appear in Small town as Chloe Sullivan, Clark Kent’s best friend in love with Tom Welling and editor of the school newspaper. The role earned Mack seven Teen Choice Award nominations for Best Sidekick in a Television Series; she won twice, in 2006 and 2007.

Allison Mack, John Glover, Erica Durance, Kristin Kreuk, Annette O’Toole, Jensen Ackles, Tom Welling, John Schneider and Michael Rosenbaum in a 2001 promotional photo for ‘Smallville’

(Warner Bros TV / Kobal / Shutterstock)

After Small town ended in 2011, Mack continued to play, albeit more sporadically. She had a recurring role in the comedy series Wilfred between 2012 and 2014, and some guest roles in What follows and American odyssey in 2015.

At that time, based on The wishStock footage from, Mack had been involved with NXIVM for years.

Based in Clifton Park, New York, NXIVM has marketed itself as a personal development organization, with chapters in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It is estimated that 18,000 people attended his seminars from the 1990s.

According to The New York Times, Mack’s Small town co-star Kristin Kreuk took Mack to her first meeting with Jness, an NXIVM subgroup, in 2006. Kreuk said in a 2018 statement that she left the organization “about five years ago,” circa 2013. “During my time, I have never experienced any illegal or harmful activity,” she said. wrote. “I am horrified and disgusted by what has happened to DOS.” Kreuk described herself as “deeply disturbed and embarrassed to have been associated with NXIVM”. She has not been charged in this case.

Obviously, Mack stayed with the group. Some of her old tweets sent in 2016 show her attempting to contact other celebrities, including singer Kelly Clarkson and actress Emma Watson. “I participate in a unique movement of human development and women that I would like to talk to you about,” one of her messages addressed to the latter reads. “As a fellow actress, I can relate very well to your vision and what you want to see in the world. I think we could work together. Let me know if you’re up for a chat.

Allison Mack attends an event for the play ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’ on July 29, 2010 in New York City

(Bryan Bedder / Getty Images)

It was in 2016 that a woman named Nicole said Mack would have invited her to join “a mentorship of really cool women. [program]”, which turned out to be DOS.” If I wanted to get more information about this mentorship, I would have to provide a guarantee, “Nicole said during Raniere’s trial, according to court testimony released by Rolling stone. Such material, Rolling stone noted, would include “a sexually explicit video of herself as well as letters that would hurt family members or ruin her career.” As part of the DOS, Nicole alleges that she was forced to designate Mack as her “master” and participate in “preparation exercises” in which she was required to respond to Mack’s texts within 30 seconds. Nicole alleges that when she discussed a potential DOS exit, she was told that leaving “was not an option”.

Nicole testified in court that on one occasion Raniere blindfolded her, told her to undress and tied her to a table, after which a third person gave her a blowjob. According to Nicole, her involvement in DOS resulted in her feeling pressured into having sex with Raniere and being branded with Raniere’s initials (in NXIVM, the symbol was meant to represent air, earth, fire and water, the four elements).

Nicole’s testimony echoes that of other former NXIVM members, several of whom shared their stories in The wish. Nicole left NXIVM in 2017 and was a key witness in Raniere’s trial.

Mack herself did not testify against Raniere when he was tried in 2019, although she is prepared to do so, Sixth page reported at the time citing several anonymous sources. In a court hearing in April 2019, in which she pleaded guilty, Mack appeared to give up on Raniere, stating: “I thought Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people and that my membership in his belief system would help empower others and help them. I was wrong. ”According to a recent report from VarietyMack ultimately played a key role in Raniere’s conviction, providing prosecutors with an audio cassette of Raniere discussing the ritual by which “slaves” were marked with his initials.

About her involvement with NXIVM, she told the court during a plea hearing in 2019: “I first joined NXIVM to find a purpose. I was lost and wanted to find a place, a community in which I would feel comfortable. More recently, in a pre-sentence statement issued by Variety, she apologized to “those who have been harmed by my actions”.

“It is now of paramount importance for me to say, from the bottom of my heart, that I am truly sorry,” she wrote in part. “I threw myself into the teachings of Keith Raniere with everything I had. I believed, with all my heart, that his mentorship led me to a better, more enlightened version of myself. I dedicated my loyalty, my resources and ultimately my life to him. It was the biggest mistake and the biggest regret of my life.

NXIVM closed in 2018 after Raniere’s arrest. The group is believed to have virtually ceased operations since, although a small group of supporters supported Raniere even after his conviction.

Allison Mack leaves the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York following a status conference on June 12, 2018 in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York.

(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy Charges Mack pleaded guilty to each to a maximum sentence of 20 years. In September 2020, Judge Nicholas G Garaufis sentenced Clare Bronfman, described by prosecutors as “a high-ranking member of the NXIVM board”, to nearly seven years in prison. The heir to the Seagram Company fortune had pleaded guilty to conspiring to conceal and harbor aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of personal identification information, charges arising from her role in the financing of NXIVM.

Bronfman’s sentence has exceeded the five years required by prosecutors, which some have interpreted as a warning sign that similar severity could follow in Mack’s conviction.

“Allison Mack should be worried,” said Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Silva Megerditchian. Yahoo! Entertainment in October 2020, adding, “Explaining to the court that she herself was brainwashed by the organization would help build sympathy.” … Without these proactive measures, Ms. Mack will likely receive the same increased punishment as Ms. Bronfman – and perhaps worse given that she was the face of the organization.

Mack’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 30 in the Eastern District of New York, before Garaufis.

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