The lawyers for Smallville actress and alleged NXIVM sex-slave cult leader Allison Mack cited a case involving the Church of Scientology in a court filing Friday to show she is not guilty of forced labor.
Mack's lawyers argued that her threat to release nude photos and disparaging comments from cult members against their relatives did not qualify as threats of "serious harm" to prove she and NXIVM leader Keith Raniere forced members into labor, Deadline reports. The two are accused of using the photos and statements to force their followers to work for free and to have sex with Raniere.
"The government argues that Ms. Mack obtained forced labor through ‘threats of serious harm,’ with serious harm being the embarrassment that would result from the exposure of one’s collateral," the papers, field in Brooklyn Federal Court, read. “Courts have found, however, that such an outcome, albeit embarrassing, does not amount to serious harm under the statute.”
The attorneys cited a case from 2009, in which a couple lost a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology over forced labor.
"The court did not find that plaintiffs were compelled to remain in the organization even though, if they chose to leave, they would be ‘excommunicated’ from their friends and family and labeled a ‘dissenter,’" the papers read. “The threat of reputational damage and isolation from loved ones therefore did not qualify as serious harm.”
Mack was arrested in April in connection to her alleged role in NXIVM, a self-help group that was allegedly a cult. The actress, best known for playing Chloe Sullivan on Smallville, was reportedly a major official in the group, even rising to second-in-command behind Raniere. She allegedly used corporal punishment on "slaves" who were told to "recruit" their own "slaves." The 36-year-old allegedly founded sub-sects within the cult.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, Reniere created a "secret society" within the cult called "DOS," an acronym for a Latin term that translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions." The sect allegedly included women who were called "slaves" led by "masters" who were ordered to recruit their own "slaves" to move up the ranks. Raniere was at the top of the pyramid and the only male member, according to prosecutors. They accused Mack of requiring her own "slaves," identified as Jane Does 1 and 2, to "engage in sexual activities" with Raniere.
In April, footage from 2013 resurfaced, showing Mack calling her alleged work for another sect called Jness "the most gratifying thing" she has ever done.
“It's the most challenging thing I've ever done because it consists of working with a group of people who are totally interdependent, meaning we're all working together and no-one is ever punished or told that they're wrong or bad,” Mack said in the video published by the Daily Mail in April. “I would say that working for Jness is the most satisfying and purposeful thing I've ever done. Watching the women who are involved in Jness completely transform and evolve in a way that is so pure, is such a privilege.”
Mack was charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy. She has been out on $5 million bond since her arrest and could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison if convicted.
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