TV actress Allison Mack abruptly pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges that she enlisted women into becoming sex slaves for a cult’s leader, just as jury selection was getting underway.
Mack, 36, cried in court as she admitted the charges against her, and she apologized to the women she manipulated into having sex with Keith Raniere, the leader of a so-called women’s self-help group known as NXIVM.
“I’m here to plead guilty before your honor,” the actress said through sobs. “I must take full responsibility for my conduct. I am very sorry for my role in this case. I am very sorry to my family and to the good people I hurt through my misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings,” she said.
“I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people, and I was wrong,” Mack told a judge in federal court in Brooklyn, the Associated Press reported.
The actress, best known for her role as a young Superman’s close friend on the TV series “Smallville,” pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on Sept. 11. She faces up to 40 years in prison after admitting charges including extortion and forced labor in her role as a top member of NXIVM, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York.
Said the AP:
Court papers allege NXIVM formed a secret society of women who were branded with Raniere’s initials and forced to have sex with him. Defense attorneys have insisted any relationship between Raniere and the alleged victims, including an unidentified actress and other women expected to testify against him at trial, was consensual.
On Monday, Mack said that at Raniere’s direction, she obtained compromising information and images of two unidentified women – called “collateral” within the group – that she threatened to make public if they didn’t perform “so-called acts of love.”
The jury questionnaire covers several topics, including asking candidates for their opinions about “rich individuals” and people who “engage in relationships with multiple sexual partners” and whether they “believe that people under the age of 17 should be able to consent to sex with adults.”
Two other defendants, Nancy Salzman and her daughter Lauren, have also pleaded guilty in the case.