Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


As Allison Mack nears guilty plea, remembering her frightening portrayal as a flight risk

[Allison Mack]

After the roller coaster week we’ve had in the Nxivm criminal prosecution, we’ve been leafing through older documents in the court file to help us understand how we got here.

One item we looked through was the government’s argument last year that Smallville actress Allison Mack was a flight risk who should have a heavy bail amount weighing her down before being let out of custody after her arrest.

The thought of Mack making a run for it has a new poignancy, now that she’s asked for extra time to submit a guilty plea and go to prison (a request the judge denied — she won’t get any additional to make up her mind).

The bulk of the document is a pretty interesting read, and so we thought we’d pull out the majority of it for you…


The defendant is alleged to have recruited and persuaded young women into joining a secret organization called “DOS” or the “Vow.” DOS is comprised of “masters” who recruit and command groups of “slaves.” The defendant recruited prospective DOS slaves to join DOS by describing it as a women’s empowerment group or sorority. The defendant had women provide her with “collateral,” which consisted of naked photographs, assets, criminal confessions and other damaging information, to prevent the women from leaving the group or disclosing its existence to others. Once they joined, DOS recruits were required to provide additional collateral, which they did, fearing that their original collateral would be released.

As set forth in the complaint, DOS slaves understood that their participation in DOS was a lifetime commitment and that if they disclosed their participation in DOS, left DOS, or failed to complete assignments given to them by their masters, their collateral could be released. DOS masters, including the defendant, benefited financially from recruiting and maintaining DOS slaves. DOS slaves were often required to perform “acts of care” for their masters and to pay “tribute” to their masters, including by performing labor and other services for which the DOS slaves were not compensated. In addition, the defendant directed some DOS slaves (including Jane Doe 1) to have sex with Keith Raniere, whose participation in DOS was not disclosed. DOS masters, including the defendant, groomed DOS slaves for sex with Raniere by requiring DOS slaves to adhere to extremely restrictive diets and not remove their pubic hair (in accordance with Raniere’s sexual preferences) and by requiring them to remain celibate and not to masturbate. DOS masters, including the defendant, who directed their slaves to have sex with Raniere, received financial benefits in the form of continued status and participation in DOS, as well as financial opportunities from Raniere.

DOS masters, including the defendant, also demanded that DOS slaves participate in “readiness” drills, which required them to respond to their masters any time of day or night, causing DOS slaves to be seriously sleep-deprived. DOS slaves were also branded in their pelvic regions with a cauterizing pen with a symbol that, unbeknownst to them, incorporated Raniere’s initials…

The charges the defendant faces are extremely serious. The defendant is charged with using force, fraud and coercion to recruit and maintain DOS slaves, and instructing those slaves to engage in sexual acts with Raniere, among other assignments. The defendant aggressively recruited DOS slaves and required those slaves to recruit slaves of their own. As alleged in the complaint charging her co-defendant, the defendant was focused on recruiting attractive young women who could meet Raniere’s sexual preferences. The government’s evidence includes admissions by the defendant to witnesses reflecting the defendant’s understanding of the true purpose of DOS, including that DOS slaves would be instructed to have sex with Raniere.

The defendant’s slaves were kept seriously sleep-deprived and emaciated to the point where they stopped menstruating. During the ceremonies in which her slaves were branded, the defendant placed her hands on the slaves’ chests and told them to “feel the pain” and to “think of [their] master,” as the slaves cried with pain. The defendant also provided naked photographs of her slaves to Raniere and was aware of Raniere’s proclivity for having sex with multiple young women…

The history and characteristics of the defendant also militate in favor of a substantial bail package and restrictive pre-trial conditions. Given her status within DOS and her access to DOS slaves’ collateral, the defendant poses a particular threat because of her ability to direct others to carry out activities on her behalf. In light of the number of witnesses who are themselves members of DOS and have provided collateral and vows of obedience to the defendant and other DOS masters, there is a significant and unique risk of witness intimidation and tampering which must be mitigated. Cf. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(2)(B) (court may also order detention if there is “a serious risk that the [defendant] will . . . attempt to obstruct justice, or . . . to threaten, injure, or intimidate, a prospective witness or juror”). The government has obtained evidence that after its investigation was reported in the press, high-ranking members of DOS undertook efforts to undermine potential witnesses, including by registering domain names such as [Witness Name], with the intention of publishing damaging information regarding those witnesses.

Although the defendant has in the past year rented an apartment in Brooklyn, her ties to the Eastern District of New York are limited, as her family lives in California. She has also traveled extensively within the past five years and has powerful contacts associated with Nxivm across the United States and abroad. For instance, the son of a former Mexican president is the head of a Nxivm center in Mexico. When Keith Raniere was apprehended in Mexico, the defendant had been living with him at a luxury villa which cost over $10,000 a week to rent. Other high-ranking members of Nxivm have access to vast financial resources, in the millions of dollars.

In the absence of a substantial bond with extensive conditions, the Court would not have sufficient means to ensure that the defendant would not commit additional crimes during any period of release or that she would not otherwise violate bail conditions, such as by contacting her former coconspirators or other witnesses who could testify against her…

Finally, the weight of the evidence against the defendant is strong. The government’s evidence includes witness testimony that is corroborated by, among other evidence, electronic communications between the defendant and her co-conspirators and other documentary evidence and records. These electronic communications evidence the defendant’s involvement in DOS recruitment, her participation in conducting “readiness” drills and the assignment of tasks and penances, and other efforts aimed at the continued manipulation and coercion of DOS slaves. This factor, too, strongly favors detention in the absence of a significant bail package.

Allison Mack was released on a $5 million bond.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 30, 2019 at 12:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects at The Underground Bunker. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email