- "Smallville" actress Allison Mack was arraigned on Friday at a federal courthouse in NY following her arrest on sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor charges as part an alleged sex cult, Fox News confirmed Friday.
"Under the guise of female empowerment, she starved women until they fit her co-defendant's sexual feminine ideal", Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Kim Penza told judge Cheryl Pollak, referring to Keith Raniere, who allegedly led the cult, NXIVM, and who too was ordered held without bail last Friday. During the burning of skin process, in an eerie move, Mack is there to witness it all, and was even reported to place her hand on the chest of the neophyte and instruct her to "feel the pain" and to "think of [their] master".
The complaint said that many victims participated in videotaped ceremonies where they were branded in their pelvic area with a symbol featuring Raniere's initials. She's believed to have been the second-highest ranking member, beneath Raniere.
If convicted of the crimes charged, Raniere and Mack each face mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years imprisonment, and up to life imprisonment.
In late March, Ms Mack's Smallville co-star Kristin Kreuk - who played Lana Lang on the show - was forced to issue a denial of rumours she had acted as a recruiter for Mr Raniere.
But "the victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor to the defendants' benefit", said U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue of the Eastern District of NY in Brooklyn.
With Allison Mack facing sex trafficking charges, a close confidante is sharing that they're convinced she's also a victim in this case.
Since the series ended in 2011, Mack has only appeared in a few minor acting roles.
"In my opinion, NXIVM is one of the most extreme groups I have ever dealt with in the sense of how tightly wound it is around the leader", cult expert Rick Ross told the Times-Union in 2012.
She is charged in a three-count indictment with sex trafficking, sex trafficking recruiting and conspiracy to commit forced labor, with the victims listed as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2. Kreuk reportedly recruited Mack into NXIVM in 2010.
Raniere left the United States late past year after The New York Times reported the stories of some women who defected from their secret sorority and the government began interviewing potential witnesses.
"The allegations contained in the indictment are only that, allegations", Sean Buckley, a lawyer for Mack', said at Friday's hearing.
In a letter attributed to Raniere previously posted on a website related to NXIVM, the leader of the self-described self-help group leader denied sanctioning the notorious practices.