Allison Mack, the Smallville actress indicted on sex trafficking and forced labour charges, for her alleged role in the NXIVM sex cult, has filed documents in her defence that point to a thrown-out case against the Church of Scientologyas Vanity Fair writes.

Mack’s lawyer filed the documents in Brooklyn Federal Court on Friday, which suggest that NXIVM’s practice of blackmailing women with nude photos and damaging personal info to corece them into working for the cult for free, is not ‘forced labour’ at all – because Scientology do/did it too. And Scientology got away with it, with two members unsuccessfully suing the Church for forced labour in 2009.

That case forms the precedent for Mack’s defence. The argument apparently is that Mack threatening to drop the pics and derogatory statements of members against their relos does not constitute the “serious harm” which would induce forced labour.

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Here’s exactly what they said, via Deadline:

The government argues that Ms. Mack obtained forced labor through ‘threats of serious harm,’ with serious harm being the embarrassment that would result from the exposure of one’s collateral. Courts have found, however, that such an outcome, albeit embarrassing, does not amount to serious harm under the statute.

And here’s the part about the Scientology case:

The court did not find that plaintiffs were compelled to remain in the organisation even though, if they chose to leave, they would be ‘excommunicated’ from their friends and family and labeled a ‘dissenter’. The threat of reputational damage and isolation from loved ones therefore did not qualify as serious harm.

Founder of NXIVM, Keith Raniere, and Mack, are believed to have ran the ‘DOS’ sect of the cult, which, so says Justice Department filings,  “stands for a Latin phrase that loosely translates to ‘Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions,’ or ‘The Vow’”. Women in the sect were expected to have sex with Raniere, with some starved and even branded.

The sect functioned as a kind of pyramid scheme, with women, referred to as ‘slaves’, recruiting other women to join as their ‘slaves’, and so on. When a woman joined the sect would collect collateral, include nudes, highly damaging info about friends and family, and even the right to members’ assets.

Mack has been out on a $7 million bond after being arrested for “sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labour conspiracy” in April this year. If convicted, she faces a sentence between 15 years and life.

Source: Vanity Fair
Image: Getty Images / Drew Angerer