After facing allegations that she helped operate a sex cult and forced members into performing labor and having sex with its leader, actress Allison Mack is presenting a defense that relies on a decade-old lawsuit against the Church of Scientology.
According to Fox News, lawyers for Allison Mack, who had a leading role in the “Smallville” television series, are pointing to a couple’s 2009 complaint that Scientologists used similar tactics to force them to work for the organization.
Since that lawsuit was decided in Scientology’s favor, a filing last week in Brooklyn Federal Court contends that even if Mack did what she is accused of doing, legal precedent suggests it was not illegal.
“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 document reads. “Courts have found, however, that such an outcome, albeit embarrassing, does not amount to serious harm under the statute.”
Among the allegations against her is the claim that she threatened to release compromising images of members of the Nxivm cult in order to force them into servitude.
Both Mack and alleged cult leader Keith Raniere were arrested earlier this year on suspicion of crimes including sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy. They could each spend 15 years behind bars if convicted.
In addition to claiming Nxivum has operated as “a pyramid scheme” requiring members to pay for classes and move up the ranks, the Department of Justice further claims that “in 2015, Raniere created a secret society within Nxivm called ‘DOS,’ an acronym that stands for a Latin phrase that loosely translates to ‘Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions’ or ‘The Vow.'”
Raniere was allegedly the only male in the secret society and forced female “slaves” to recruit other women who would then be subservient to them.
“Mack is one of the women in the first level of the pyramid immediately below Raniere,” the department claimed.
Women were allegedly required to produce “collateral” including potentially damaging information, photos and even access to their financial assets.
Raniere also allegedly forced some of the women to be branded with a design featuring his initials.
[Featured image: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews]