The bizarre story of Smallville actress Allison Mack’s involvement in alleged “sex cult” NXIVM took a new turn on Monday. In a New York federal court, Mack pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts, including racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges, which was perhaps the only choice she had after (proudly) telling the New York Times last year that a slave-branding ritual was all her idea.
Mack had been charged alongside NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, with whom she allegedly recruited and groomed slaves under the guise of building a self-help, female-empowerment organization. According to Page Six, she openly wept while speaking in court, and Vulture adds more details from Monday’s court proceedings:
“I have come to the conclusion that I must take full responsibility for my conduct and that’s why I am pleading guilty today … I’m very sorry for the victims of this case. I’m very sorry for who I’ve hurt through my misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings.”
Prosecutors built a case in which Mack allegedly served as second-in-charge of the alleged cult, in which she “directly or implicitly required her slaves … to engage in sexual activity with Raniere.” Mack’s defense attorneys, meanwhile and according to Fox News, continue to argue that the alleged victims in this case “were not abused” (that’s an odd approach after a defendant has already claimed authorship of a branding ritual). Although the charges that Mack pleaded guilty to are both considered white collar crimes, these could net her up to a few decades in prison. Raniere, who has been hit with additional charges including possession of child porn and sexual exploitation of a child, is expected in court later this month.
If you’re looking for more background information about NXIVM, writer and comedian Brock Wilbur has published research on the cult’s attempts to recruit him as a writer to help expose “fake news,” and Wilbur worked on a podcast that helped bring down NXIVM. The Daily Beast has gathered up more on the alleged cult’s “ceremonies,” including restrictive diets and cage confinements for the slaves of NXIVM, for which Mack tried to recruit Emma Watson into the fold.