As news of Allison Mack’s three-year prison sentence for her involvement in the NXIVM ‘sex slave’ cult broke yesterday, many were shocked by the leniency of her punishment.
With recommended sentencing guidelines for racketeering charges suggesting a minimum 14-year prison sentence, and NXIVM leader Keith Raniere currently serving a massive 120 years behind bars, people questioned why Mack appeared to get away comparatively lightly.
Mack pled guilty to manipulating women to join NXIVM, many of whom would go on to be trafficked as ‘sex slaves’ for Raniere, with the Smallville star also acting as a ‘master’, controlling some of the cult’s victims.
However, prosecutors agreed that she should be granted a reduced sentence for her crimes because of the key role she played in helping build a case against the NXIVM leader.
Mack co-operated with the prosecution in providing them with information about Raniere’s activities, including giving attorneys a recording of the cult leader discussing plans for a ‘branding’ ceremony.
The actress has also expressed remorse for her actions, apologising to victims in a letter ahead of sentencing, telling them ‘I am sorry I ever exposed you to the nefarious and emotionally abusive schemes of a twisted man.’
Judge Garaufis, who handed down Mack’s sentence, said that these two factors warranted a more lenient sentence, and stressed that Mack herself had also been a victim, writing in a memo that the 38 year old was ‘ensnared in Mr Raniere’s coercive and manipulative web,’ per The Independent.
Despite Mack’s co-operation and contrition, some have argued the sentence sends the wrong message to victims of abuse. ‘Today is clearly not a day for accountability,’ one person tweeted, while another wrote ‘Only 3 years for manipulating and branding human beings??’
Mack’s case has also had a mixed reaction from NXIVM victims. Former member India Oxenberg said the verdict ‘doesn’t take away everything that has happened to myself and her other victims, but it’s definitely something that gives me more peace moving forward,’ however another former member, Jessica Joan, told CBS New York ahead of the sentencing, ‘I feel like Allison deserves the maximum sentence so she can spend time thinking about her actions and all of the havoc and destruction that she’s caused for myself and many other people.’
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