Allison Mack, best known for her role as Chloe Sullivan on Smallville, was arrested Friday in New York on sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy charges.
Warning: Some of the information in this article, including statements from the Justice Department, could be distressing.
Mack was indicted along with Keith Raniere, the alleged leader of Nxivm — a self-help program and purported pyramid scheme — which served as a front for a shadow society of female “slaves.”
“As alleged in the indictment, Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere,” United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement. “The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit.”
As detailed in 2015 court filings, Raniere created a secret society within Nxivm called “DOS.” Per the Justice Department, DOS is an acronym that “stands for a Latin phrase that loosely translates to ‘Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions,’ or ‘The Vow.'”
DOS operated like a pyramid. Raniere was the only man, and operated at the top-most level, with Mack a tier below. Women were recruited as “slaves” and assigned “masters,” they were then expected to recruit slaves of their own, thus moving up the pyramid.
Mack was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday afternoon. Raniere, who was arrested on an earlier complaint and detained, will be arraigned at a later date.
If found guilty of the charges filed, both Mack and Raniere each face a minimum of a mandatory 15 years imprisonment, up to life imprisonment.
The Justice Department released the following information in the press release, regarding Nxivm and DOS:
According to court filings, during the past 20 years, Raniere established a series of purported self-help programs within his umbrella organization “Nxivm” (pronounced NEX-i-um). Nxivm is based in Albany, New York and has operated centers in the United States, Mexico, Canada and South America. Nxivm maintains features of a pyramid scheme, as its courses cost thousands of dollars each and participants (“Nxians”) are encouraged to pay for additional classes and to recruit others to take classes in order to rise within the ranks of Nxivm. A number of Nxians were residents of the Eastern District of New York when they were recruited, and Nxivm has held promotional recruiting events in Brooklyn. Mack is credited in publicly available materials with co-creating a Nxivm program, called The Source, which recruited actors.
As detailed in court filings, in 2015, Raniere created a secret society within Nxivm called “DOS,” an acronym that stands for a Latin phrase that loosely translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions,” or “The Vow.” DOS operated with levels of women “slaves” headed by “masters.” Slaves were expected to recruit slaves of their own (thus becoming masters themselves), who in turn owed service not only to their own masters but also to masters above them in the DOS pyramid. Raniere stood alone at the top of the pyramid. Other than Raniere, all members of DOS were women. Mack is one of the women in the first level of the pyramid immediately below Raniere.
Mack and other DOS masters recruited DOS slaves by telling them that they were joining a women-only organization that would empower them and eradicate purported weaknesses that the Nxivm curriculum taught were common in women. Mack and other DOS masters concealed Raniere’s status at the top of the pyramid from new recruits.
As a pre-condition to joining DOS, women were required to provide “collateral,” which included highly damaging information about friends and family members, nude photographs and/or rights to the recruit’s assets. DOS slaves were told that their collateral could be released for any number of reasons, including telling anyone about DOS’s existence or leaving DOS. Many DOS slaves were branded on their pelvic areas using a cauterizing pen with a symbol which, unbeknownst to them, incorporated Raniere’s initials. During the branding ceremonies, slaves were required to be fully naked, and a master would order one slave to film the branding while the others restrained the slave being branded.
According to court filings, Mack directly or implicitly required her slaves, including Jane Does 1 and 2, as identified in the Indictment, to engage in sexual activity with Raniere. In exchange for this, Mack received financial and other benefits from Raniere. Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 believed that if they did not participate in those activities with Raniere, their collateral would be released.