Last Friday, former Smallville actress-turned-alleged sex cult second-in-command Allison Mack was arrested and pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges, including sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy. On Tuesday, a Brooklyn judge agreed to her release on $5 million bond.
Mack’s arrest comes after Keith Raniere, the alleged cult kingpin, was apprehended in Mexico last month. As The Daily Beast previously reported, NXIVM started off as an empowerment program, whose leader, Raniere, used his charisma and teachings to curry favor with wealthy individuals and minor celebrities. While the word “cult” surfaced in the press as early as 2003, it wasn’t until The New York Times published a chilling exposé in October 2017 that more severe allegations of branding female members and threatening to blackmail them emerged. The Times’ story focused on a group within the group—an elite and secret sisterhood of which Mack is alleged to be the top recruiter.
In legal documents, the United States attorney writes that the defendant, aka Allison Mack, “is charged with using force, fraud, and coercion to recruit and maintain DOS slaves, and instructing those slaves to engage in sexual acts with Raniere, among other assignments. The defendant aggressively recruited DOS slaves and required those slaves to recruit slaves of their own.”
DOS, which loosely translates to Master Over the Slave Women, is also frequently referred to as “The Vow.” For their respective roles in DOS, Keith Raniere and Allison Mack are being charged with sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking, and conspiracy to commit forced labor. Legal documents refer to DOS’ practice of collecting “collateral” from female members otherwise known as “slaves.” “Slaves” allegedly gave their “masters” “naked photographs, assets, criminal confessions, and other damaging information.” The prosecution is alleging that “slaves” believed that their collateral would be released if they spoke out about the group, left DOS, or failed to adequately tend to their duties. One woman, referred to only as “Jane Doe 1,” was allegedly directed by Allison Mack to have sex with Keith Raniere.
According to legal docs submitted on the subject of Mack’s bail, “DOS masters, including the defendant, groomed DOS slaves for sex with Raniere by requiring DOS slaves to adhere to extremely restrictive diets and not remove their pubic hair (in accordance with Raniere’s sexual preferences) and by requiring them to remain celibate and not to masturbate. DOS masters, including the defendant, who directed their slaves to have sex with Raniere, received financial benefits in the form of continued status and participation in DOS, as well as financial opportunities from Raniere.”
Citing the severity of the charges against Raniere and Mack, who are each facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life if convicted, the prosecution argued that Mack should be given a “substantial bail package” and be confined to her home with electronic monitoring. They’ve further posited that, given her access to DOS “slave’s” collateral and power within the community, there is a particular threat of Mack directing others to act on her behalf and/or intimidating witnesses.
Mack’s attorney has previously pushed back against the notion that the defendant is a flight risk, emphasizing that she voluntarily returned to the United States from Mexico.
At Tuesday afternoon’s bail hearing in Brooklyn, Mack emerged in a khaki jumpsuit and her signature bangs. The prosecution and defense revealed that they had agreed upon a set of conditions of release. In keeping with the prosecution’s arguments for a significant bail package, Mack was released on $5 million bond. It was revealed that Mack will be under home confinement with an ankle monitor in the central district of California, specifically at her parents’ California residence. Mack will be permitted to travel to New York for mandatory court appearances and lawyers’ visits, and can also leave her residence with advance approval.
Mack, who has been accused of ordering “slaves” to maintain restrictive diets in keeping with Raniere’s alleged aesthetic preferences, appeared less gaunt than she did in a video of women, allegedly including Mack, in a state of panic during Raniere’s Mexico arrest.
In court to co-sign the bail bond was Melinda Mack, the defendant’s mother. Melinda Mack was asked to approach, and signed a document. She confirmed she was the defendant’s mother, and that with her signature she would be on the hook for $5 million if the defendant failed to appear in court, or otherwise violated the conditions of her release, and that the government could seize and sell her property. The judge then turned to Allison Mack herself, and asked if she understood that she could also be responsible for the $5 million, and that her property could be seized and she could be arrested and prosecuted for bail jumping. Throughout the brief proceedings, Mack limited her remarks to “yes, your honor” and “yes, I do.”
It was further established that Mack’s father would also co-sign, and that the Macks’ property and the defendant’s retirement account would be posted by certain deadlines. The prosecution, citing risk of flight and the defendant’s potential danger to the community, asked the judge to emphasize one condition to Mack: that she cannot associate with current or former members of NXIVM. The judge agreed, and reiterated to the defendant that she cannot contact any co-defendant or co-conspirators. “Basically, avoid contact with anyone you know associated in any way with NXIVM,” he warned.
After some debate over California pre-trial services’ ability to monitor the “cyber component” of Mack’s conditions—presumably, limited access to computers and internet-capable devices—Mack’s lawyers argued that her release should not be delayed while these technical questions were sorted out, to which the judge agreed. Mack’s next court date is May 3, although according to court documents, Mack is engaged in plea negotiations which might allow her to avoid trial.