There has been a schism between the supporters of Allison Mack and her detractors about her role in sex trafficking for her cult leader Keith Alan Raniere.
To set the record straight, to date, Allison was only accused of sex trafficking a single woman and only one incident.
When Allison Mack was originally indicted in April 2018, it was for sex trafficking Nicole [whose last name is being withheld.]
The charges stemmed from an incident that involved Allison, Raniere and another woman, Camila Fernandez on May 31, 2016.
In addition to the single sex trafficking incident with Nicole, Allison was also charged with attempted sex trafficking of a woman who was referred to in the trial of Keith Raniere as “Jaye.”
Both Jaye and Nicole testified against Raniere.
Fortunately for Allison, she was not convicted of sex trafficking and it appears increasingly likely that she may be a witness for the prosecution in a future trial against Nxivm leaders. This may be significant and is one of the reasons this sex trafficking incident with Nicole is worthy of analysis.
Allison pleaded guilty in April 2019 but still has no date for sentencing.
After 10 months, this is highly unusual, unless she is cooperating with the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of NY.
This is in keeping with standard federal prosecution protocol where cooperating witnesses are not sentenced until after they provide testimony at any upcoming trial where they will be used as a witness.
Meantime, the question looms, did Allison get off too easily for her role in the sex trafficking of Nicole?
Allison pleaded guilty to one count each of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in a plea deal that spared her a conviction for sex trafficking, which would have come with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
Should she have been charged in the sex trafficking of Nicole?
Let me relate the story of Nicole’s sex trafficking, based on court testimony and interviews with Nicole and others in Nxivm.
Keep in mind that Nicole was the only person who was sex trafficked in the case against Raniere.
There are some who say this incident hardly qualifies for a 15-year sex trafficking charge. There is certainly evidence of some consent by the victim.
Also, keep in mind that a larger part of the foundation for the charge was not this incident alone, but the fact that Nicole had given a substantial amount of what Raniere called “collateral” – which consisted, in Nicole’s case, of a lot of graphic nude pictures and video confessions about her family.
Collateral is, in effect, blackmail worthy material that was held to ensure secrecy and obedience in the DOS sorority hierarchy.
Allison had persuaded Nicole to give her this collateral and then made it available to Keith.
Keep in mind also that Allison did not tell Nicole, when she recruited her into the DOS sorority, that it was led by a man, Raniere. Instead, she told Nicole that it was an all-female, master-slave group.
Allison lied to Nicole [for which Allison did plead guilty to, as part of her racketeering charges] and Allison held blackmail material over her head.
There is no doubt, even if Nicole was a fool to get involved with such a crazy group – she thought it would help her with her struggling acting career – that Nicole was frightened that the collateral would be released if she did not comply with Allison’s commands.
Here is the actual sex trafficking incident, with a little background leading up to it.
See if you think Allison [of Keith for that matter] should have been convicted of sex trafficking and sent away for 15 years for this.
Nicole was sleeping with Allison in her bed. She always slept with Allison when she came to Albany.
There was an alert on Allison’s phone that buzzed loudly whenever Keith texted, so it would wake Allison up.
Nicole had come in time to have a physical response whenever she heard that sound, at two or three in the morning.
She’d go into fight or flight.
It buzzed one night – or rather early morning.
Nicole was scared awake.
Allison, who was her master, told her she was commanded to go out on a walk with Keith.
It was around 3 am.
Nicole got up, got dressed and went outside to meet him.
As they walked together the first time, Keith told Nicole she had “earned” her first walk with him because of Allison, because she spoke highly of her and because he thought highly of Allison.
After this first walk, which was largely uneventful, they took several other early morning walks in the subsequent weeks.
On one early morning walk, Keith talked about ‘commitment’.
He seemed to be using the same kind of language that Allison used when she talked to Nicole about her doubts about being a loyal member [slave] in DOS.
As Keith was talking to her, Nicole thought, “You’re talking about what I’m struggling with, yet you’re not supposed to know what I’m struggling with. I’m not allowed to talk to you about what I’m struggling with. Yet you’re telling me about commitment and trusting people. Do you know about DOS or is this just a coincidence?”
She had no reason to believe Keith was part of the secret women’s organization [which he secretly led].
Keith spoke to Nicole about trusting Allison, and trust in general.
“To get closer to enlightenment or freedom,” Keith said, “you have to trust in someone completely.”
“Well, I don’t know how this makes sense?”, Nicole thought to herself. “How can someone else know what’s best for you? They can tell you things maybe you could improve on, but how could anyone really know what’s best for you?”
She said to Keith, “Allison is only four years older than me, so it’s not like this is a wise woman telling me the ways of the world. I don’t feel like she can know what’s best for me better than me.”
“Well, the fact that she’s imperfect,” Keith said, “is even more important in helping you towards freedom because if you can trust fully in a person who is flawed, then you can find real freedom.”
“I’m not sure that makes sense to me,” Nicole said, “but, okay.”
More Walks With Keith
During these early morning walks, Keith would ask her very personal questions – alost like a mini-EM.
“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” he asked.
“What are you afraid of?”
“What are you most afraid of?”
“What would be the hardest thing for you to tell me?”
He did not want her answers then. He told her to go back to NYC (where she lived during the week) – and then come back as she did on weekends.
“Think about them, then come back,” he said.
After all her morning walks with Keith, Nicole would discuss what happened with Allison.
“It just seems odd that everything he is telling me seems to be about DOS,” she said. “It seems like he knows what you and I have been talking about.”
She asked Allison directly if Keith was in DOS.
Allison lied and said, “No, you’re wrong. DOS doesn’t have anything to do with NXIVM.”
May 30, 2016 – The Day Before the Sex Trafficking Event
It was about 3 am when the text alarm came on Allison’s phone.
It woke Nicole who was sleeping beside her in her bed.
It was time for another walk.
Nicole got up and, as she was getting ready to go outside to meet Keith, Allison said to her, “I have another assignment for you. When you go out there, you’re going to tell Keith that you’ll do whatever he wants you to do. Now go, be a good slave.”
Nicole went out the backdoor of Allison’s house.
Keith was waiting.
At first, she was too nervous to say it.
When they walked a distance, she finally blurted out, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”
“I don’t think you mean that,” Keith said.
“I don’t, yeah,” she said.
As they walked further, Keith asked Nicole, “What is the worst thing I could ask you to do?”
Nicole was scared. When someone says, “What’s the worst thing that you can do,” it’s scary.
She almost felt she had no choice. She looked at the roof of a house they were walking past and thought, “Oh, my God, he could ask me to jump off that roof.”
She began going over all kinds of things in her head, worst-case scenarios.
She finally said to Keith, “You know, I thought the worst thing would be something sexual; that would be the worst thing that you could ask me to do, but that’s actually not true. The worst thing that you could ask me to do would be to ask me to hurt someone in my family or hurt myself or hurt someone else. Like, if you asked me to jump off a bridge and commit suicide, or to hurt someone. Or never speak to my family again.”
She was slightly freaking out.
“Do you really think that I would ask you to do those things?” Keith said.
She calmed down a little.
For some time, she had been feeling vibes that something sexual was going on in this community. She didn’t feel good about it.
During that walk, with him asking that question –“What’s the worst thing I could ask you to do?” – all of a sudden, something sexual didn’t seem that bad by comparison; something sexual would only hurt her; no one else would get hurt.
She saw that what she had been afraid of – him demanding her to have sex – all of a sudden, by the end of the walk, wasn’t what she was most afraid of.
Keith spoke to her about bravery and commitment. She needed to be brave and committed.
At the very end of the walk, Keith said, “You should come back again, when you are ready to say you will do whatever I ask you to do – but only when you really mean it, should you come back.”
Nicole went right back to Allison and told her what happened.
“Okay. So, you’ll go back out with Keith tomorrow,” Allison commanded.
May 31 The Morning of the Incident
That night she again slept in Allison’s bed.
There was the text alarm again in the early morning. Allison ordered Nicole to go outside. It was 4 am.
She went out the backdoor and across the grass to meet him. She was feeling very scared.
Keith said, “Hi.”
They started walking.
She thought, “Okay, you can do this, you can do this.” Then she said, “I will do anything you ask me to do.”
“Do you mean it?”
He took her hand and led her down the street that was across from Allison’s house to another house directly across from Allison’s backdoor.
He led her inside. There wasn’t much there, a table, two chairs, and a plant.
“Will you trust me no matter what is about to happen?”, Keith asked.
“Take off your clothes.”
She undressed and stood before him naked.
Keith was sitting down.
He commented on her body. She had a belly button piercing, but no jewelry.
He commented on her pubic hair. He said he was surprised she hadn’t shaved or waxed it. It didn’t seem like her nature, he said.
“Yeah, I’ve been celibate for three months,“ Nicole said. “Sorry, it’s not the first thing on my mind.”
“No, it’s okay,” he said. “That’s what I like.”
When he said this, it struck her. She thought about how, when staying with Allison, she had seen Allison getting in and out of the shower. She noticed Allison didn’t shave or wax her pubic hair.
Something about his comment, the way he said it, clicked in her mind. “No, it’s okay,” he said “that’s what I like” – that clicked in her head.
“Oh, he has a sexual relationship with Allison,” she thought, as she stood naked before him. “Oh, yeah, I know that’s what’s about to happen to me.”
But Keith told her to put her clothes back on and said there were two blindfolds he wanted her to put on.
He put them on her. One was tight. It left marks under her eyes. The other was tied around it.
After they were in place, Keith told her they were going out somewhere.
He took her by the hand and led her, blindfolded, to a car, put her inside and drove for about ten minutes. They did not talk during the ride.
When he stopped, he came around, took her hand, and led her, blindfolded, through what she thought were some woods. She felt branches breaking underfoot.
She stepped up a step, then a door was opened. She walked into a room. In her imagination, it was like a little cabin. But she didn’t know.
Once inside, Keith told her to get undressed again.
She got undressed with blindfolds on. She had on sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Taking it off was easy, even blindfolded.
He led her to a table and told her to get on it. She lied on the table.
Then he tied her wrists and feet to the corners of the table. The table was cold.
Nicole felt vulnerable, exposed. She was hoping maybe this was it, this was just being done to teach her to learn how to become super vulnerable and exposed.
Then suddenly she felt somebody going down on her. She thought it was Keith.
Just as she was trying to process what was happening to her, Keith started talking, but there was someone still going down on her.
She was confused at first. Then she realized there was another person in the room performing oral sex on her. It was the only way it made sense. He was talking and someone else was going down on her.
It hit her hard. She was like “Holy shit, there’s somebody else in the room!”
It was terrifying. She didn’t know what was going on. There is someone else in the room, okay, so now there are two other people in the room. Are there three people in the room? How many people are in this room right now?
She was trying to breathe and stay calm.
Keith was talking the whole time, walking around the table, asking her questions. She was trying to stay calm and figure out what was going on and answer the questions.
Keith never did say who performed oral sex on her.
It was Camilia Fernandez, but Nicole did not know it at the time.
She felt Cami’s long hair on her thighs, which made her feel calmer; she felt a tiny bit safer because it was a woman, not another man.
Keith asked Nicole, if she ever had a threesome and how many people she had been with at one time.
He asked her many questions about her sexual history, as Cami performed oral sex on her.
At one point, he asked if she was OK.
“Yes, I’m okay,” Nicole said.
Keith untied Nicole and let her get up from the table. She was still blindfolded.
He helped her put her clothes back on.
He led her back to the car and drove her back, still blindfolded, to the original house.
Once inside, he untied her blindfolds.
They sat down.
He asked if she was okay.
Nicole was in shock but said yes.
“I want you to understand,” Keith said, “that nothing bad has just happened. You are a young woman and you are allowed to be sexual. You are not in any relationship so what happened was not bad.”
Nicole thought, “I’m not in a relationship because Allison ordered me not to be in a relationship right now.”
“You are very brave to trust me,” Keith said.
He talked about trust and commitment and what it meant.
Nicole was distracted. She kept thinking, as he continued on and on, “Can I go? Like, I did what you asked me to do, can I go?”
Finally, she said it aloud, “Can I go?”
“Yes,” he said, “but don’t tell anyone what happened.”
“Can I tell Allison?”
He said yes.
She went to leave. He walked out after her.
Once outside, it seemed really bright. The sun had risen and she had been blindfolded for a long while.
She looked up and saw Emiliano Salinas jogging with Clare Bronfman. She ran to him and hugged him. She always felt safe with Emiliano.
Then she walked to Allison’s house and took a shower.
When she came out, she sat with Allison in front of the fireplace and told her what happened.
Allison seemed a little freaked when she heard.
From her reaction, Nicole concluded that Allison didn’t know in advance what was going to happen.
Composing herself, Allison said, “You are really brave. You have earned by this the right to be able to work more with Keith.”
Nicole had to go back to the City to work.
Keith texted her. He wrote he thought she was “very courageous.”
It was the first time she received a text from him. Nicole did not know how Keith got her number.
Afterward, Keith had sex with Nicole numerous times. None of these were charged as sex trafficking.
This is the sole sex trafficking episode for which Keith will spend a minimum of 15 years.
Should Allison have to spend 15 years in prison for her role in this?
Was the government right to drop the sex trafficking charge against her?
It would be nice to hear from readers.