Smallville fans remember Allison Mack as the plucky, brainy and steadfastly loyal “Chloe Sullivan,” Clark’s dependable ‘girl Friday’ throughout the series. Now, though, Mack is in the news for a much different reason. The actress is at the center of a sex-trafficking scandal and myriad accusations against a “self-help” group Mack was intimately involved with. Investigators have told the Associated Press they expect to make a series of new arrests in the case. Mack and the group leader, Keith Raniere, have already been charged, though no other names have been announced as of yet.
According to the AP, Assistant US Attorney Moira Penza said the government intends to file additional indictments. When the press spoke with members of NXIVM about the charges, group members said they didn’t know anything about any of the allegations at the center of the indictments. These women, who previously left the group, allege that they were “forced” to engage in sex with Raniere. Raniere was previously arrested in Mexico, where he was staying in a villa with Mack. Now, Mack is free on bail, confined to her home, and legions of shocked fans are trying to rectify their image of the character they knew with the accused woman.
Mack has joined Raniere in pleading “not guilty” to the allegations of coercing women into joining a so-called “secret society” that served as a recruitment tool for what prosecutors are calling Raniere’s “sex slaves.” One of the most scandalous details to come out of the case as yet, is that some of the women were, reportedly “branded” with Raniere’s initials while they were members of the group. So far, neither Mack nor her attorneys are speaking to the media about the case at all. Raniere’s representation said they are “eager” for the case to progress to the trial phase so Raniere can share “his side of the story.” They added that, if there were any relationship between the women alleging abuse and Raniere, that it was entirely consensual.
Paul DerOhannesian, one of Raniere’s attorneys, put the responsibility squarely on the accusers, telling the AP, “These were adults who knew what they were doing…”With the trial date set as October 1, fans and the general public have several months to speculate and debate the nature of this case, and it’s likely several entertainment media stories will be written about this case as well, especially if more details trickle out. Meanwhile, Mack’s PR team will have to decide where remaining silent is the best strategy to protect her brand.