USA actress Allison Mack has been arrested on charges that she recruited women into a secret society led by self-help guru Keith Raniere in which they were forced to have sex with him and branded with his initials.
The New York Times reports Allison Mack was appeared in federal court in Brooklyn Friday and a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf. Mostly she nodded "yes" to questions asked her by Judge Pollak, but, twice judge Pollak instructed Mack to answer verbally, and she said "yes" so quietly it was nearly inaudible to spectators in the courtroom.
The complaint said that many victims participated in videotaped ceremonies where they were branded in their pelvic area with a symbol featuring Raniere's initials.
Since NXIVM's creation, Raniere has maintained poly-amorous relationships with its members, according to the complaint.
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As reported by THR, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, Mack has been charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy.
The organisation, called NXIVM, was led by Keith Raniere, who was arrested in Mexico last month on sex trafficking charges.
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Mack was arrested Friday and will be arraigned Friday before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Kim Penza also said in court that "under the guise of female empowerment", Mack "starved women until they fit her co-defendant's sexual ideal", the AP wrote.
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During most of the proceeding, Mack held her hands clasped behind her back.
William Sweeney, with the FBI, released a statement amid the claims, explaining: 'As this pyramid scheme continues to unravel, we ask anyone who might have been a victim to reach out to us with information that may further our investigation'.
According to documents made public, Allison Mack directed the women to have sex with Raniere and required them to remain celibate, not masturbate, and to grow out their pubic hair to please Raniere.
Prosecutors said in court papers that Raniere created a society within NXIVM called "DOS" - an acronym based on a Latin phrase that loosely translates to "Lord/Master of obedient female companions".
In a statement attributed to Raniere on NXIVM's website, he proclaimed his innocence and said he believed the justice system would prevail.
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