The sentencing memorandum by the government is the public’s first indication of how grim is the future of Allison Mack.
Her sentencing guidelines are 14-17.5 years.
Of course, it is possible for the judge to go easy on her and sentence her to a far shorter prison term than guidelines suggest. But I wouldn’t count on it. The chances of her getting probation or even 2 or 3 years – as many of us thought she would – seem almost non-existent now.
Allison Mack will be sentenced to years in prison. She is 38 and she will be in her 40s, possibly in her 50s, when she emerges to freedom. Even then, she will almost certainly have additional years – perhaps as much as five more years on probation to round out her sentence for her role in the life of Keith Raniere.
She will be under the thumb of the federal government for years to come after being under his thumb for some 12 years.
Whatever hopes she had in her naivete of a short prison sentence or probation, with the results of her presentencing report and its terrible recommendation of a decade and half in prison, at this point are quashed, dashed and destroyed. Unless this judge has a meltdown of sympathy, she is going to be locked in a cage for time enough for her to grow considerably older in prison – maybe, as so many do, aging two or three years to one. Perhaps she will grow wiser, but she will definitely grow older. She will not be young Allison. She will be middle-aged Allison Mack when she leaves her unwanted prison home.
For his part, the judge has pressures too. Even if he has sympathy for this woman caught by a monster, if the judge sentences her to anything less than say five years, I believe he will come under intense and heavy criticism, considering the notoriety of the case, the vile view the public has of Raniere and of how Mack is widely considered his left-hand gal who, switching from beloved actress to sex slaver and brute, and bully manipulator of women, rang in sex crimes like some ring in a new year.
Even though this view of Mack as inordinate evil is as exaggerated as perhaps Raniere’s is not, this is the public’s perception. Mack is more famous for sex slaving than Raniere. Such is the price of fame.
In any event, for the judge, while he can follow it or not, the 14-17.5 year recommendation cannot be wholly ignored.
Judges are not immune from the hurtfulness of public condemnation. He can easily justify a 7-year or 8-year sentence. He could also justify a 10-year or even a 15-year sentence because of the seriousness of the crimes and how the world seeks punishment far more than forgiveness; it seeks deterrence and not healing of the soul of the weak who fall into crime as she would not otherwise have committed but for the clever hand of her tormenter. If others were coerced by him, by collateral and sleep and food deprivation, why is only Allison Mack immune? She got branded. She gave collateral. She went on 800 calorie diets and woke up every night to insane readiness calls.
Why is everyone given a free pass – total victimhood – and only Mack a criminal? That is the question a judge may not wish to study carefully. He has to study other concepts such as that she admitted to crimes in allegiance to Raniere and the jury spoke on Raniere.
It is not that Mack is not a victim. But how can the judge ignore the public he also serves?
It is a public that demands to hear that evil-doers are punished with two eyes for an eye and to err and be punished is human and there is no divine, in a world where it is better to be severe than forgiving – and wherever there are victims, victims out front and center – though anonymously – calling for Allison Mack’s head, calling for the end of her freedom – their cries must be heard.
Forgiveness, or too much leniency, will be seen as another kind of punishment – of the victims of Allison Mack.
Mack must be put in prison to satisfy the hurt of victims, who must see her punished to forgive and excuse themselves and their part in the play. There will be victims who will condemn Mack who did the same things she did and followed the same path. But her going to prison will help them forget.
If Allison is sentenced severely – and to the extent that she is – is the extent that they are excused from their errors. A long prison sentence will be a validation of victimization. It is true of Raniere who got 120 years and what’s good for the goose is good for Allison Mack.
Maybe Mack deserves it. There is no escaping karma or fate. Maybe she was always evil and only needed the conduit, contact with the savage, a guy who thought branding women, taking blackmail and keeping his role a secret would somehow empower women, to bring out the dormant evil. She did not scream this is crazy, cruel or inhuman, but fell in every inch of the way, as eager as one could imagine.
Maybe she thought she was doing good. Maybe she went horridly astray and would not have entered into this crazy world of DOS had it not been for the monster.
Either way, the judge cannot know the soul of Allison Mack. At best, he can be wise, I think, and split the baby – to err on the side of equanimity – she is part criminal, part victim – don’t go too far to one side or the other – play it safe, stick to the middle, not too much criminal, not too much victim – go downward on the sentence but not too much.
He cannot easily justify something as light as, say, a three-year sentence without being condemned – not with a 17-year sentencing guideline and sex slaving as the odor of the case [Even though Mack did not plead guilty to any sex crimes; she will still be sentenced for them.].
And herein lies the secret: Of course, the judge can do anything he wants. He has total discretion and is not elected. HIs is a lifetime appointment and, thus, if he only goes with the sentencing guidelines or near them, his sentence will withstand any appeal.
He will not be chastised or condemned – not a word will be said against him – if he sentences harshly. And – let this be understood as fact – only if he sentences too leniently will anyone complain. Then, the mob will shout.
I know this Judge Garaufis is a man – a real man and a good man too. I respect him and I doubt very much he is overly concerned about what the mob, or you (who may want Allison sentenced harshly) or I (who want leniency for her) – think.
But he has other factors to consider – including the optics of deterrence and the public trust in justice. He can be lenient but not too much, not as much perhaps as the sad case of Allison Mack demands.
He will have to hand her a sentence measured in years. Allison Mack is going to prison – likely for more than five years. My guess is she will get eight.
Follow Raniere at Your Peril
Even though his supporters say Raniere had only the best intentions – he has somehow left a trail of tears, of destroyed lives and shattered dreams. Everything he touched fell to pieces – ever since the Consumer Buyline days.
Everyone close to him suffered – many by his hand and many by following him.
This is what is called a legacy.
If he was truly the smartest man, how could he have gone so wrong? Calculated so poorly?
Perhaps he is smart – and this was his plan and his delight all along.
It is said with some disdain, but not derision, as we will soon watch a woman who had everything going for her – the bright, young and famous, the beautiful and foolish Allison Mack, who thanks to her friend Kristin Kreuk, met a man named Raniere who gobbled up her life.
[If you want to understand why I have little regard for Kristin Kreuk, it is this: When Allison could still have escaped – when Catherine Oxenberg and I were trying to get her to leave and disavow Raniere if she could – but to leave at least and offered our protection, we asked Kreuk to help get her out – and she hid and cowered – this woman who plays the hero on TV. The bad-ass fighting gal. She cowered instead of feeling the pang that anyone with a soul would have felt – that she herself was the cause of this woman, Allison, her friend, being where she was which was in grave peril. Brave Kristin Kreuk: “I got out. I’m safe. Now let me play my hero roles and leave me be… Allison – who that?” It might not have done any good. Probably it would not have. But one never knows until one tries. Allison might have been induced to parachute in time to spare herself the fate she faces today. You and I and Kristin Kreuk will never know and I dare say, only Kreuk doesn’t care, lost in the delusion that she approximates the human being which she plays on TV.]
In any event, we will soon know the fate of Allison Mack and we know already it is not going to be an easy fate. It is a shocking fate, a sudden fate, a surprising turn of fare – a fall from a tower of fate – a millionaire actress turned cultist turned slaver turned prisoner.
One day, back in 2006, Keith Raniere took her in the palm of his hand, used her for his own purpose and left her destroyed. By 2017, she was exposed. By 2018, she was arrested and spent three years in home confinement. By 2019, she was convicted, and by 2021 she will head to prison. It may be 2031 before she ends this travail she invited when she first took Raniere’s hand.
She has disavowed him but too late.
So, I say it this time with disdain and with a little sadness – Viva Executive Success!