India Oxenberg on Getting 'Closure' Following Allison Mack's Sentencing in NXIVM Case (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
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India Oxenberg, a NXIVM survivor who was forced into sexual slavery and branded by Allison Mack, says that the former Smallville’s sentencing was shocking for her at first because it has taken years to get to this point. And just after a matter of hours in court, Mack’s fate was sealed. “It was sort of surreal that it actually happened so quickly,” she says, while admitting this has brought closure to a horrible chapter in her life.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered Mack to serve three years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering charges for her involvement in NXIVM. She was the latest high-profile member to be sentenced after founder Keith Raniere was convicted on racketeering and sex trafficking charges, and sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Following the ruling, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg sat down with ET’s Kevin Frazier to share her feelings about Mack and whether justice was served.
While still processing the news that both Mack and Raniere have finally been sentenced, she and her mother both feel “validated by the decision and we both have a lot of trust in this judge and he is very wise and he has set incredible standards by giving Keith Raniere 120 years in prison,” Oxenberg says.
While many were surprised that Mack only got three out of the possible 14 to 17 years in prison, Oxenberg says the punishment reflects the “choices” Mack made and the judge is making it clear that these crimes will not go unrecognized. “So I think that it’s really setting a standard that abuse is not going to be tolerated and it is not going to be allowed. And that really feels good to me.”
Ahead of the sentencing, Mack issued an apology to the court, saying, “It is now of paramount importance to me to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I threw myself into the teachings of Keith Raniere with everything I had.” She later added, “The list of those harmed by the collateral damage of my destructive choices continues to grow as I become more and more aware of how my choices have affected those around me.”
When asked if she accepts Mack’s apology, Oxenberg says that she does. “Ultimately, the apology’s for her and her own wellbeing moving forward and whatever she needs to resolve in herself,” she explains, adding that no matter what Mack says, “It does not change the past, for me it really just informs me about her and where she's at and her own healing process. It made me feel safer to know that she has renounced herself of Keith Raniere and she doesn't believe him anymore, so that I actually thought was a huge victory in her own healing and for her future.”
In a statement posted to Instagram, Oxenberg also revealed that she wrote and submitted a victim impact statement for Mack’s sentencing. “Many of those memories I have not wanted to revisit but I have found clarity from looking directly at them rather than through nightmares, having insomnia or feeling paralyzed by a pending outcome I can’t control,” she shared. “My hope is that in writing it I could really release these memories and move forward.”
As previously reported by ET, Oxenberg claimed in the true-crime series that she was sexually assaulted, forced to lose weight and had to get branded with the founder’s initials under DOS, the secret master-slave system created by Raniere and Mack. “I had to do planks, ice-cold showers, stand in the snow at 3 a.m.,” Oxenberg said, adding at one point that she “had to be 106 pounds.”
She also recalled what it was like to be permanently marked with Raniere’s initials by Mack, revealing that the ceremony “lasted for about 30 minutes.” She also remembered Mack repeating the phrase, “feel the pain, feel the love,” as she was branded.
While she feels that the charges against Mack were warranted, Oxenberg believes the former high-ranking member was manipulated by Raniere. “What happened is she was targeted by Keith like I was, but she went down a much deeper and darker path,” Oxenberg asserted last year in an interview with ET.
She also believes the actress, who was unhappy with her career at the time, initially had “good intentions” when joining NXIVM. “And along the way, things went awry, severely, to the point where she was doing things that were criminal,” Oxenberg said, adding that “I have a lot of sympathy for her, and I think that she is also a victim of Keith’s. But I also know what she did to me and other women was very cruel and criminal.”
Ultimately, she feels that Mack is a “broken person” in need of professional help from people “that understand a mind like hers.” Because of that, Oxenberg told ET at the time that she wasn’t sure if prison was the best place for someone like Mack. “I don’t know if broken people do well in prison. I don’t think that’s how people repair and, if anything, she needs a lot of help, a lot of love and a lot of support.”
That said, “[Allison] has to deal with what she’s done,” Oxenberg said.
As for herself, Oxenberg is now ready to put this extended chapter in her life behind her. “I need to move forward and move on with my life,” she says today. “So I do feel that I’ve had an enormous amount of closure today. But I also know that I have a lot to say about this topic, and if that means continuing to share about coercion and high control groups, then that's going to be a part of my life of my journey and my activism.”
One thing is for sure, “I can put NXIVM to the side and move forward and continue to do the work that I want to do.”