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Dianne Lipson: What Allison Mack’s sentencing looked like in the court

[Allison Mack, admiring Keith before her change of mind]

I was in the overflow room for today’s the sentencing of Allison Mack. Two overflow rooms were set aside, but only one was needed, even with social distancing. Early in the sentencing hearing, Judge Garaufis stated that the guideline range for the charges she pled guilty to was 14 to 17.5 years.

There were only 2 victim impact statements. The first one was on video, and her name is Tabby Chapman. She worked with Mack on her website. Mack required her to take expensive NXIVM courses in order to work with her. Chapman let her guard down, and was subjected to punishing “feedback,” supposedly to make her a better person. Chapman moved to Albany, where she was constantly criticized by both Nancy (presumably Nancy Salzman, Raniere’s business partner) and Allison. Allison became a bully and criticized everything about Chapman, her inadequacies as a friend, her weight, and her partner. Chapman was told she needed to fix these issues for the sake of her future children. She needed to love herself enough to work on her issues. She was required to take more NXIVM courses.

Chapman left NXIVM in 2014. Her statement shows that Mack engaged in cruel behavior even before the formation of DOS. Chapman said Mack’s role as a monster in DOS was “natural.” By this point, it sounded like Chapman was crying. She has trouble making new friends, and has to contend with an internal dialogue regarding her “flaws.”

There was a pattern of push/pull with Mack, who sometimes acted with care and compassion. Mack ensured that Chapman had a car to drive, and sent her flowers after a surgery. But Chapman also stated that once she was ganged up on for an entire day. Chapman is in therapy, which is mostly devoted to her interactions with Mack. She hoped that Mack will also find that healing. She is heartbroken for Mack and all the women she has harmed.

Chapman spoke rapidly, seemed to rush through here statement, and I found it difficult to hear every word. In contrast, actress Jessica Joan, who testified at the trial as Jaye, spoke in a clear and forceful voice and did not hold back in her victim statement as she characterized Mack as “a predator and an evil human being.” Ms. Joan was horrified when Mack asked for no jail time. She said Allison and Keith were the most evil monsters she ever met.


Joan said she wanted to speak for all of Mack’s victims who did not have a voice. Mack made Ms. Joan feel she was kind, loving and protective, the big sister Joan wished she had. Meanwhile Mack was probing into Joan’s psyche in a calculating way. She often asked how Ms. Joan felt about Keith. Ms. Joan was later given an “assignment’ by Mack to seduce Keith, and have Keith take a nude picture of her to prove the seduction had taken place. Ms. Joan herself is a victim of sexual abuse in her early life, which Mack was aware of. Mack characterized the seduction assignment as helpful for Joan’s issues regarding her abuse.

Joan feels that the whole time Mack was grooming her to be a sex slave for Keith. Joan recalled that during the phone call where Joan was given the seduction assignment. Mack even went so far as to give Joan “permission to enjoy it.” Joan stated that Mack plays the victim so well, but she is cut from the same cloth as Keith. Mack took pleasure in other’s pain, and Joan remembers the “evil glimmer in her eye” when Mack was doling out punishment to her and others.

Ms. Joan stated that there are not enough years left in Mack’s life to make up for the harm she caused. She said Mack had everything but it wasn’t enough, and hopes that Mack will one day see the light. Ms. Joan prays that Mack gets what she deserves. Ms. Joan ended by saying the she hopes the judge will bring justice to the victims of Allison Mack.

Prosecutor Tanya Hajjar spoke next. She pointed out that Mack cooperated with the government and accepts responsibility for her actions. Mack was prepared to testify and assisted in holding Raniere accountable. Mack gave the government material, an audio tape, which confirmed Raniere’s role in DOS. (This was the tape that crucially showed that the branding of women, and the ritual around it, was Raniere’s idea. It was his idea for the victim to be videotaped asking to be branded.)

For these reasons, the government recommended a sentence below the guidelines range.

Mack’s counsel spoke next. He said that while nothing excuses Mack’s abhorrent conduct, she was both a participant and a victim. He asked the judge to consider her abusive relationship with Raniere. Mack’s counsel stated that he believes her expressions of remorse and regret are sincere. Mack has been in therapy to figure out her flawed thinking. Mack, he said, had all but renounced her family for DOS, and her home confinement reunited her with her family. She had lost her family, a loved one and her career to Raniere.

Counsel stated “She can and will be a better person.” Counsel asked for home incarceration at Mack’s childhood home in California.

Next Allison spoke. She said she was filled with remorse and guilt, and her behavior was abusive, abhorrent, and illegal. She renounces Keith and all of his teachings. She has had to acknowledge the pain she caused. What was most terrifying was thinking about where she would be if Raniere had not been stopped. The guilt is permanent, and she is ashamed for the way she behaved. By this point Allison was crying. At one point for a moment she couldn’t go on. When she thanked her family for their support, she was sobbing. School and family gave her the path forward.

Next Judge Garaufis spoke. His statement is here (attachment). He sentenced Mack to 36 months on each of the 2 charges, to be served concurrently, followed by 3 years of post-incarceration supervision. He also imposed a $20,000 fine and 1,000 hours of community service. Allison was not remanded to custody today, but recommended that she be given a surrender date of September 29, 2021.

Mack’s defense counsel asked that she be put into a facility close to her family, and the Judge said he would recommend it. Judge Garaufis ended by wishing luck to Mack and to her family.

Mack left the courthouse through the front entrance and ran the gauntlet of press. Mack and her entourage could not walk in the middle of the wide sidewalk, but were pushed toward the side of the building. The marshals or police who were there repeatedly asked the reporters to give her room to walk, but to no avail. I could not get a photo of Mack, but at one point I caught a glimpse of a blond woman, presumably Mack, looking downward as an older woman, presumably her mother, with a stressed look on her face, clutched her by the arm to get her through the crush of reporters and photographers.

There have been many arguments regarding whether Mack was a victim or a perpetrator. I feel she was both. But when Judge Garaufis sentenced her to only three years I was surprised. I felt it was light. Judge Garaufis appears to be a compassionate man. He stopped Lauren Salzman’s cross-examination when he felt she was having a breakdown in his courtroom, even if it meant that the
defense might use it as a basis for an appeal. He said at the time that before he is a judge, he is a human being. I believe Judge Garaufis showed great compassion for Allison Mack, and I hope it will be justified.

As an aside, isn’t it ironic that Mack’s light sentence happened on the same day that Bill Cosby’s conviction was overturned?

— Dianne Lipson

Here’s Judge Garaufis’s sentencing statement…

US vs Allison Mack: Sentencing statement by Tony Ortega on Scribd

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