BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – Government prosecutors called for the forfeiture of an upstate New York house
where they say the founder of international professional-development group NXIVM repeatedly had sex with at least three of his “slaves.”
The house, at 8 Hale Drive in Halfmoon, N.Y., was reportedly called the “library” by Keith Raniere, who was arrested in March on federal charges of running a cult-like organization in which female members were branded and considered sex slaves.
According to the federal forfeiture complaint, filed Wednesday in Brooklyn, the Hale Drive house was purchased in 2004 by a company run by Nancy Salzman, another leader of NXIVM (pronounced Nexium).
Prosecutors also flagged another house in Halfmoon — a town of just over 20,000 north of Albany — as the home of former actress Allison Mack.
Best known for her role on the Superman drama “Smallville,” Mack was arrested in April on charges that she conspired with Raniere in the sex-trafficking scheme. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karin Orenstein wrote that numerous sources have said Mack was Raniere’s direct slave. Her Halfmoon residence is listed as at 127 Grenadier Court.
Raniere is said to have created a pyramid sex-slavery scheme called “DOS” or “The Vow” within NXIVM in 2005.
Women known as “masters” recruited other women, known as “slaves,” to join DOS, while concealing Raniere’s position at the top of the pyramid, prosecutors contend. After collecting damaging information about slaves’ family members or compromising photos, “masters” allegedly blackmailed members to keep the group a secret and to have sex with Raniere.
Jane Doe 1, a female actress in her early 30s who lived in Brooklyn, told prosecutors Mack invited her to join DOS.
Mack directed Doe to write “letters detailing false and highly damaging accusations against her family members,” according to the complaint, and eventually became Mack’s slave, turning over her credit card numbers.
One night, the complaint says, Mack and Raniere conspired to get Doe naked, blindfolded and tied to a table in what she believes was a shack, where an unknown person performed unwanted oral sex on her. After that, Doe and Raniere had oral sex and intercourse repeatedly in the “library,” according to the complaint — a place Raniere seemed to want to protect.
“Raniere also instructed Jane Doe 1 to make sure no one saw her enter or leave the Hale Drive Property, and when there was snow on the ground, Raniere instructed Jane Doe 1 to make sure to clear her footprints,” wrote prosecutor Orenstein.
Recruiters like Mack allegedly promoted DOS to members of NXIVM who were having a hard time or frustrated professionally. In Doe’s case, the complaint says Mack framed it as a “women’s mentorship group.”
Many women in the group were held down by other slaves and branded in a ceremony with a cauterizing pen, according to the complaint, which said one such event took place in Brooklyn. Raniere also reportedly preferred his women “exceptionally thin,” and some slaves were placed on low-calorie diets.
The complaint says Mack required slaves including Doe to pose for a variety of nude photographs, which Doe said Mack sent to Raniere. Doe said that in one exchange, Mack sent Raniere a photo of all the slaves on Doe’s level.
“All mine?” Raniere reportedly responded, with a smiling devil emoticon.
Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo downplayed the new filing.
“This civil case is merely a restatement of the criminal complaint to which Mr Raniere has already pleaded not guilty,” Agnifilo said in an email Wednesday. “These allegations are false, we vigorously contest them, and believe we will prevail at trial.”
The Albany Times Union called the Hale Drive house Raniere’s “private sex lair.” A judge unsealed search warrants last month at the Times Union’s request, revealing that agents seized items including audio and video recording equipment, a book called “History of Torture,” a box of white pills, a DVD drive, DVDs and VHS tapes and other storage devices.
Representatives for Mack did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A U.S. Attorney’s office spokesperson declined to comment.