On Wednesday, actress Allison Mack was sentenced to three years in prison for the prominent role she played in NXIVM, the notorious sex cult disguised as a self-help group. Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges in 2019, and faced a recommended sentence of 14 to 17 years. Federal prosecutors have since argued in favor of a reduced sentence, citing her ongoing cooperation with the investigation; Mack's attorneys have pushed for no prison time at all, writing in a sentencing memo that she is already "on a promising path of rehabilitation." According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York, Mack will also be fined $20,000.
Mack has been accused of recruiting and luring women into DOS, a secret group within NXIVM headed by cult leader and sex trafficker Keith Raniere. Victims say she collected "collateral" in the form of nude photos and video confessions to horrific crimes, which she would then use to blackmail DOS members. One woman, Nicole, testified that Mack pushed her to write a letter falsely accusing her father of molestation. "Don't you want to be the kind of person who trusts someone?" Nicole recounted Mack telling her.
Women like Nicole were then kept under Mack's watch. As a "master" within DOS, Mack allegedly controlled more than 50 "slaves," who were branded and forced to engage in sex acts with Raniere; a Hollywood Reporter source who spoke with two of Mack's "slaves" described her as "incredibly intimidating, cruel, and punitive," and alleged that Mack repeatedly threatened to blackmail them if they requested to leave, ignored her orders, or refused sex with Raniere.
Mack was also accused of spearheading multiple branding ceremonies, where members of DOS were forcibly held down and marked with a cauterizing pen.
Days before her sentencing, Mack broke her silence and apologized to her victims. "It is now of paramount importance for me to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry," she wrote in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "I threw myself into the teachings of Keith Raniere with everything I had… I devoted my loyalty, my resources, and, ultimately, my life to him. This was the biggest mistake and regret of my life."
In 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for charges including sex trafficking, human trafficking, and racketeering. Although Mack did not testify against him, she submitted damning evidence of Raniere's crimes, including a recording that proved he originated the branding ceremony. "Although Mack could have provided even more substantial assistance had she made the decision to cooperate earlier, Mack provided significant, detailed, and highly corroborated information which assisted the government in its prosecution," prosecutors wrote in a memo, arguing for a lesser sentence.
But Mack's victims worry she might be let off too easy. As one NXIVM member, Ivy Nevares, told The Daily Beast, "I tend to believe any woman, be it from NXIVM or not, would feel too light a sentence for Allison might somehow normalize or condone women abusing other women."