They knew that Allison Mack, then 23 and an actress on The CW’s Smallville, would be in the audience, brought by co-star Kristin Kreuk, who had recently joined the group.
On Friday night, when Keith Raniere gathered his followers, male and female, in a nearby public gym for a weekly game of volleyball, she found Mack sitting in the bleachers, smiling contentedly at the players.
In April, 12 years after that first meeting, federal prosecutors in New York indicted Mack, 35, and Raniere, 57, on three felony counts of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor, alleging that Nxivm provides cover for a brutal, coercive sex ring that requires its subjects to turn over sexually compromising pictures and other damaging “Collateral” as a form of insurance against breaking with the group.
“She was so hungry for something bigger, some kind of sign the purpose and meaning of life,” says Step by Step actress Christine Lakin, who was friends with Mack as a fellow child actor in the ’90s. Mack also was undeniably famous, with a capacity to draw in others.
During dinner, Mack told her guests that “She grew up in a more progressive, uninhibited environment,” recalls Bouchey, trying to make sense of Mack’s later trajectory.
One woman who had been a member of Raniere’s harem for years but declined to be named out of fear for her safety recalls running into Mack after an ashtanga yoga class around 2010.
Mack continued acting, nabbing a recurring role in FX’s Wilfred in 2012, but the world she turned to increasingly belonged to Raniere.
Kristin Keeffe called Barbara Bouchey, both high up in the organization, telling her, “Keith had set his sights on Allison and was thinking about bringing her into the inner circle.” Keeffe also told Bouchey that Raniere was getting “More intimate” with Mack.
“She didn’t do that [with me.]”. But another woman who spoke with two of Mack’s alleged DOS slaves at length says that during the very same period, Mack was deep into her role as a “Master” of DOS and running the organization with brutal efficiency.
“I think she was tormented by this.” But when Wenzel brought up Oxenberg’s allegations with Mack later, she says Mack shrugged them off, saying, “This stuff is not true; these crazy things are not true.”
During a recent court appearance in Brooklyn in which Mack and Raniere were both present, Mack steadfastly refused to look at him.