(AP) — Allison Mack
, a TV actor who played a key role in the scandal-plagued, cult-like group NXIVM
, was sentenced to three years in prison
Wednesday on charges that she manipulated women
into becoming sex slaves for the group's spiritual leader.
Mack, best known for her role as a young Superman's close friend on the TV show "Smallville
," had previously pleaded guilty to the charges and was expected to seek credit for cooperating with NXIVM leader Keith Raniere
and accepting responsibility for helping him create a secret society of brainwashed women branded with his initials.
Mack renounced Raniere at her sentencing
hearing in Brooklyn
“I made decisions I will regret for the rest of my life,” she said, adding that she was filled with “remorse and guilt.”
Devoting herself to the self-help guru was “the biggest mistake and greatest regret of my life,” she wrote in a letter filed with the court last week.
“I am sorry to those of you I brought into NXIVM, and I am sorry I ever exposed you to the nefarious and emotionally abusive schemes of a twisted man,” she wrote.
In court on Wednesday, she apologized again to the victims, saying, "I am sorry from the bottom of my heart and soul."
Mack would face between 14 and 17 1/2 years in prison under advisory sentencing guidelines, but her defense team argued in court papers that probation or home confinement would be more appropriate, and prosecutors agreed that any prison term should be less than the guidelines range because of her cooperation.
“The NXIVM saga and the story of Ms. Mack’s descent have been a tragedy for all involved, but that does not have to, and should not have to, be the end of the story for Allison Mack,” her lawyers wrote in court papers.
Mack, 38, was once a member of Raniere's inner circle, which included millionaires and actors
. Prosecutors said she became a "master" for "slaves" she ordered to "perform labor
, take nude photographs, and, in some cases, engage in sex acts with Raniere."
As authorities closed in on Raniere, he fled to Mexico
with Mack and others to try to resurrect the group; he was apprehended and deported to the United States
in March 2018; Mack was apprehended a few days later.
According to the defense papers, “Ms. Mack now realizes that this was the best thing that could have happened to her at that time.”
According to the government papers, Mack told prosecutors that Raniere encouraged “the use of demeaning and derogatory language, including racial slurs, to humiliate ‘slaves,’” and she also provided a recording of a conversation she had with Raniere about the branding.
The branding should involve “a vulnerable position type of thing,” with “hands probably above the head being held, almost like being tied down, almost like sacrificial, whatever,” Raniere explained, adding that the women should “say, ‘Please brand me. It would be an honor.’”
Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison last year after being found guilty of sex trafficking