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  1. #91
    Site Groupie Shelby Kent's Avatar
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    If Allison is willing to negotiate a plea and give evidence against Raniere, then I take that as a good sign for her future mental health prospects. Whereas, for instance, in the case of Charles Manson, even after the horrific Tate-LoBianca murders were carried out, quite a few of his faithful followers who were not involved in the murders still continued to profess loyalty to and faith in him, and would not cooperate with authorities. If Allison is capable of "turning against" Raniere, then maybe that will be the first step to deprogramming

    I really don't see how Allison will get 15 years. Perhaps probation, or 1-2 years. Of course I'm just speculating and have no legal background. But in addition to the fact that Allison herself was a victim, I also think some of the other circumstances in the case are very gray. For instance, I don't think it's illegal to choose to be "branded" (whether or not one finds that personally repulsive or morally repugnant or in bad taste aesthetically is a separate matter). So, it's difficult to know, just from the info we have access to, how much of the branding would be considered coerced vs. consensual. I read of one branding victim who tried to take the doctor who did it to court, but the case was thrown out by the judge b/c it was not considered to be a medical procedure and the court also felt it had been done consensually.

    Which I guess also brings up the issue of how people were coerced (aside from via means of pure brainwashing, b/c I think that's a somewhat iffy area to get into without the danger of denying someone's agency, so courts are probably inclined to tread carefully when it comes to declaring someone "brainwashed" as the primary means of coercion). It seems like, from what I read, victims felt threatened that if they didn't go along, their "collateral" would be released, and I can understand that. However there is the problem of the fact that the first time they gave collateral, they gave it willingly -- they gave it in exchange for being allowed to have information about the "inner sanctum" group.

    Of course, once Raniere, Mack et al. had that first bit of collateral then it's easy to see how from that point on someone might have feared that if they didn't meet further demands for more collateral and other types of behavior, that first piece of collateral would have been released. But again, the first instance of collateral given in exchange for information would probably be characterized as consensual (Now, personally I think that's crazy to willingly hand over to someone the means by which they can blackmail you in the future; I mean, usually victims of blackmail are victims b/c the info was stolen or obtained from them without their cooperation! but I'm not sure that it's illegal to give someone something by which they can later blackmail you???)

    The other thing that seems tricky to me about this whole business of collateral is that there are instances mentioned where people did leave the group and yet no collateral was released in retaliation despite threats (so, empty threats?). So if I were a defense lawyer I might point out that if someone says they were coerced b/c they were afraid of the release of collateral, they had examples where former members left but the threat was never carried out. Also, I'd want to know if people ever asked for their collateral back when they wanted to leave? Because if they all just assumed it would be released but no one ever actually asked for it back, that could weaken some of the "coercion" argument maybe?

    So, not saying this to excuse Raniere (whom I think is despicable and was very deliberate about what he was doing) or to fully excuse Allison (again, as I said in a previous post I think the most obvious problem about what she did was employing deception at times) but I just think there are aspects of this case that are a little fuzzy when it comes to proving some of the elements of coercion. And so for that reason, as well as b/c I also think Allison is a victim, I have a hard time seeing how she could get 15 years. But 1-2 years maybe, yes.

    Then again, there may be, and likely is, much more evidence than what was released in the criminal complaint. I'd love to read a legal analysis of the situation. I mean, cults have got to be pretty tricky to deal with from a legal standpoint b/c they seem like one of those things where one has a sense of how wrong (ie unhealthy) it is for someone to be in one ("I know it when I see it!" so to speak) and one feels there are obvious moral and ethical lines that are being crossed, but on the other hand one has to figure out where the line is for when it's permissible to intervene legally, in order that someone's agency and right to choose their lifestyle is not absolutely violated, however much we might not agree with it or might think it's unhealthy. I can only imagine how agonizing it is for the families and friends to deal with this and how frustrating it can be (and how long it can take) to try to get a legal case built in order to disband the cult and maybe get their loved one "back."

  2. #92
    Site Groupie Shelby Kent's Avatar
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  3. #93
    Forum Regular Doranwen's Avatar
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    Yeah, the legal issue is a lot trickier than most of the news articles portray it. This article/post I just stumbled across points out the issues with calling it "sex trafficking" and makes some very good points: https://reason.com/blog/2018/04/26/s...nxivm-sex-cult

  4. #94
    Forum Regular Shaftell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doranwen View Post
    Yeah, the legal issue is a lot trickier than most of the news articles portray it. This article/post I just stumbled across points out the issues with calling it "sex trafficking" and makes some very good points: https://reason.com/blog/2018/04/26/s...nxivm-sex-cult
    Hey, thanks for the link. It was an interesting read. This whole situation is so confusing. There are a lot of reports going around right now saying that she's being charged with sex trafficking of a child as well. I guess we won't know more until her next court date.

  5. #95
    Forum Regular Shaftell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Kent View Post
    If Allison is willing to negotiate a plea and give evidence against Raniere, then I take that as a good sign for her future mental health prospects. Whereas, for instance, in the case of Charles Manson, even after the horrific Tate-LoBianca murders were carried out, quite a few of his faithful followers who were not involved in the murders still continued to profess loyalty to and faith in him, and would not cooperate with authorities. If Allison is capable of "turning against" Raniere, then maybe that will be the first step to deprogramming

    I really don't see how Allison will get 15 years. Perhaps probation, or 1-2 years. Of course I'm just speculating and have no legal background. But in addition to the fact that Allison herself was a victim, I also think some of the other circumstances in the case are very gray. For instance, I don't think it's illegal to choose to be "branded" (whether or not one finds that personally repulsive or morally repugnant or in bad taste aesthetically is a separate matter). So, it's difficult to know, just from the info we have access to, how much of the branding would be considered coerced vs. consensual. I read of one branding victim who tried to take the doctor who did it to court, but the case was thrown out by the judge b/c it was not considered to be a medical procedure and the court also felt it had been done consensually.

    Which I guess also brings up the issue of how people were coerced (aside from via means of pure brainwashing, b/c I think that's a somewhat iffy area to get into without the danger of denying someone's agency, so courts are probably inclined to tread carefully when it comes to declaring someone "brainwashed" as the primary means of coercion). It seems like, from what I read, victims felt threatened that if they didn't go along, their "collateral" would be released, and I can understand that. However there is the problem of the fact that the first time they gave collateral, they gave it willingly -- they gave it in exchange for being allowed to have information about the "inner sanctum" group.

    Of course, once Raniere, Mack et al. had that first bit of collateral then it's easy to see how from that point on someone might have feared that if they didn't meet further demands for more collateral and other types of behavior, that first piece of collateral would have been released. But again, the first instance of collateral given in exchange for information would probably be characterized as consensual (Now, personally I think that's crazy to willingly hand over to someone the means by which they can blackmail you in the future; I mean, usually victims of blackmail are victims b/c the info was stolen or obtained from them without their cooperation! but I'm not sure that it's illegal to give someone something by which they can later blackmail you???)

    The other thing that seems tricky to me about this whole business of collateral is that there are instances mentioned where people did leave the group and yet no collateral was released in retaliation despite threats (so, empty threats?). So if I were a defense lawyer I might point out that if someone says they were coerced b/c they were afraid of the release of collateral, they had examples where former members left but the threat was never carried out. Also, I'd want to know if people ever asked for their collateral back when they wanted to leave? Because if they all just assumed it would be released but no one ever actually asked for it back, that could weaken some of the "coercion" argument maybe?

    So, not saying this to excuse Raniere (whom I think is despicable and was very deliberate about what he was doing) or to fully excuse Allison (again, as I said in a previous post I think the most obvious problem about what she did was employing deception at times) but I just think there are aspects of this case that are a little fuzzy when it comes to proving some of the elements of coercion. And so for that reason, as well as b/c I also think Allison is a victim, I have a hard time seeing how she could get 15 years. But 1-2 years maybe, yes.

    Then again, there may be, and likely is, much more evidence than what was released in the criminal complaint. I'd love to read a legal analysis of the situation. I mean, cults have got to be pretty tricky to deal with from a legal standpoint b/c they seem like one of those things where one has a sense of how wrong (ie unhealthy) it is for someone to be in one ("I know it when I see it!" so to speak) and one feels there are obvious moral and ethical lines that are being crossed, but on the other hand one has to figure out where the line is for when it's permissible to intervene legally, in order that someone's agency and right to choose their lifestyle is not absolutely violated, however much we might not agree with it or might think it's unhealthy. I can only imagine how agonizing it is for the families and friends to deal with this and how frustrating it can be (and how long it can take) to try to get a legal case built in order to disband the cult and maybe get their loved one "back."
    I think Allison is done with the cult. The fact that she agreed to a plea deal is telling but I don't think she will just get 1-2 years. The fact that her bail was at $5 million means there are some serious charges being laid here. However, I do agree with a lot of what you say here.

  6. #96
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    The worrying thing is that she took the command of the cult after Raniere got arrested and until she got arrested. So while I want to believe that testifying against him is a sign that she has finally seen the light, it wouldn't surprise me if she's just doing it to save her own hide. The 180 was kind of sudden. Hope I am wrong. There's no changing what Allison did (and she has to take a certain degree of accountability for those heinous acts), but the only saving grace is if this whole situation knocks some sense into her.

  7. #97
    Forum Regular Doranwen's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm hoping that the plea deal thing is going to help her get her head on straight. Just the fact that she's going for it instead of trying to take all the blame off Raniere means that she at least is getting her mind in a better place than what some of the Artvoice articles were suggesting (that she and India had a pact that they'd go to jail to get Raniere off the hook).

    Some of the latest articles have been interesting in outlining a more detailed journey of how she got from Smallville star and fan favorite to the sad state she's in now. This one's pretty thorough: http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/alli...ticle-comments

    I found these paragraphs very interesting:

    "A source familiar with the ESP service a decade ago emphasised that it was similar to other popular self-help programs such as the Landmark Forum series or Tony Robbins’ live events. “These were legitimate courses. It’s not like you showed up and there were handcuffs there for a sex cult,” the source said.
    But in hindsight, the source said, it’s easy to see how the information gathered in ESP courses could help identify potential recruits for Raniere’s alleged clutch of DOS followers. The ESP program pushed participants to divulge their fears and vulnerabilities in the context of overcoming obstacles to success. Mack would have been a prime target for drawing deeper into Raniere’s world, the source said."

    And some other articles I read mentioned a NXIVM defector recalling that they "love-bombed" her for a weekend. You catch the right person in a vulnerable moment and start manipulating them bit by bit... they can go to depths one never would have imagined. "“Who she was and who she became are very different people,” a source said." Such a tragedy. I hope that whatever justice is served can be a way of getting her the help she needs, and I feel for her family and what non-NXIVM friends she might have left, if any.
    Last edited by Doranwen; 04-27-2018 at 12:47 AM.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doranwen View Post
    As some other comment I read somewhere put it, everyone is vulnerable in some way to things like this
    This is so true. I remember in High School, I fell in with the wrong crowd. First, we were just smoking cigarettes. Then it progressed to marijuana. By the end of the semester, we were blackmailing girls into becoming our sex slaves and branding them with our initials. This sort of thing can happen to the best of us.

    But in all seriousness, this is just surreal. Chloe is such a likable character. She's down to Earth, has integrity, and has a backbone. And Allison played her so well, it was hard not to think that Allison also had these traits to a degree. But apparently she was just a fine actress. It will be hard to watch this show again. Certain story lines, like the one where Chloe is worried that her meteor infection will turn her into a villain, or when she is infected by Brainiac, will be impossible to watch without thinking of this.
    Last edited by PullnPray; 04-27-2018 at 09:30 AM.

  9. #99
    Board Master Billy Jor-El's Avatar
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    Just a footnote to ponder how much trouble she is in, after Bill Cosby's recent conviction, I read where his bail was $1 million. Allison's bail is five times that at $5 million, demonstrating the flight risk nature of her arrest. The reports of child trafficking in this arrest is even more damning. The poor girl had everything in her favor, a career that would have skyrocketed. Now I think she done with that. Hoping it plays out; she may testify only to save herself, but without presuming guilt before trial (or plea bargain), let the courts decide.
    Last edited by Billy Jor-El; 04-29-2018 at 06:54 AM.

  10. #100
    Forum Regular Doranwen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PullnPray View Post
    This is so true. I remember in High School, I fell in with the wrong crowd. First, we were just smoking cigarettes. Then it progressed to marijuana. By the end of the semester, we were blackmailing girls into becoming our sex slaves and branding them with our initials. This sort of thing can happen to the best of us.
    Lol, well, I meant to being brainwashed and under someone else's influence. There's a lot of abusive relationships that could be characterized in that way. As far as any sort of brainwashing goes, all it takes is being vulnerable at the right moment with the right person who can and will exploit that. I would suspect very few people have the right mix of characteristics that render them immune from such things for their entire life (once they hit adulthood - because brainwashing a child would be even easier).

    Quote Originally Posted by PullnPray View Post
    But in all seriousness, this is just surreal. Chloe is such a likable character. She's down to Earth, has integrity, and has a backbone. And Allison played her so well, it was hard not to think that Allison also had these traits to a degree. But apparently she was just a fine actress.
    Several articles I've read quoted former friends of hers saying Allison was very likable and sweet, the last sort of person you'd expect to do this. But I think the sweetness is part of that - it made it easy for Raniere to prey on. Find the right vulnerability - which the ESP programs were primed to help them do - and manipulate just right, and you have them. (Though one person says "When I first met her she was very entitled and bratty and whatever you imagine an actress to be" so who knows. It's hard to really know someone, even when you've known them for years.)

    This article has a good point about how she's probably a victim - but that won't save her from prison time: http://hollywoodlife.com/2018/04/26/...pert-explains/
    The last couple paragraphs are excellent.

    I found one article with some very interesting points on the prosecution:

    "Lauren Hersh, a former prosecutor and national director of advocacy group World Without Exploitation, says a plea agreement would likely not be a get out of jail free card for Mack but notes that important questions remain.
    “If I were the prosecutor here, I would want to understand how she got pulled into this world, and what kind of trauma, if any, she experienced — not that it would mean she should not be guilty of the harm she caused to another person,” said Hersh. “But it may, in certain circumstances, make things make sense and may mitigate in some respects.” "

    She does a much better job of saying what I was trying to say a few posts ago about the victim/victimizer complication. Mitigating factors, that's a good way to put it. (The latest Artvoice article says "Happily Allison is getting deprogramming and psychiatric help she so sorely needs" which I hope is true.)
    Last edited by Doranwen; 04-29-2018 at 01:19 AM.

  11. #101
    Site Groupie Shelby Kent's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing links to various articles, @Doranwen. Very interesting reading and touches on some of the many questions I have.

    On a somewhat side note, this paragraph from a CNN article, in particular the part which I bolded, is another thing about this case that has me shaking my head.:

    "The more 'unconventional' approach came when Allison came across the work of Keith Raniere," the website states. "Over the course of several years, Mr. Raniere mentored Allison in her study of acting and music. As such, she has developed a deep connection to the nature of humanity as it relates to acting as an art form, and a tool for personal evolution."
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/26/enter...ing/index.html


    Now, whenever I saw Allison in her Chloe role, I always thought what a phenomenal talent she had (I mean, for one thing, she could do all that exposition and make you really feel like those were Chloe's thoughts, and not a speech written by a bunch of script writers...).

    Also, I concede that no matter how talented and skilled one is, there's never any harm in seeking out more instruction and mentoring by others with expertise in one's chosen field.

    But having said that, why in the heck would ANY talented, accomplished actor (whom, by virtue of their experience, I would think would have had better judgment in contrast to, say, someone like a wannabe actor just starting out), turn to Keith Raniere of all people, for more guidance on how to be a better actor? Allison could probably run circles around Keith, when it comes to understanding the acting craft and teaching that craft to others. Where in the world has it ever been documented that Keith Raniere had any experience in acting, writing, directing etc??? Or anything to do with the acting world that would qualify him to be an acting mentor??? I sure wish she would have just thought more critically about that and not been so gullible when it came to his, I'm sure, self-professed claims that he was in a position to mentor her in the acting craft!

  12. #102
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Kent View Post
    turn to Keith Raniere of all people, for more guidance on how to be a better actor? Allison could probably run circles around Keith, when it comes to understanding the acting craft and teaching that craft to others.
    My guess would be that he did not come from the acting angle but told her something about finding her inner self, understand her own emotions better and that this would in turn make her a better actress.

  13. #103
    Site Groupie Shelby Kent's Avatar
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    ^ Probably right

  14. #104
    Forum Regular Doranwen's Avatar
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    That sounds about right for the Executive Success Program stuff. What a world, when self-help is now the new cult, eh? There was one article that pointed out that unlike most cults, there was no religious aspect to NXIVM; the self-help nature fit the modern mold of society, with increasing numbers of people professing no faith. Which just goes to show that sociopaths will find all sorts of ways to prey on victims. Ugh. Still so sad that it was Allison - and that he got her in so deep as to become a victimizer as well.

    On a tangent, did anyone watch the interview with Megyn Kelly and Catherine Oxenberg awhile back where they talked about them being "weaponized" - being forced to watch videos of women being beheaded or whatnot? They referenced it being in a NYT article but I never saw that, and it doesn't seem that any of the recent articles have mentioned that. I ran across the video the other day and found it very interesting.

    Edit: This article has some good insights into Allison's brainwashing process and all of that: http://www.catchnews.com/internation...lt-110915.html

    Just listened to this hour-long radio show about NXIVM: http://www.crimeonline.com/2018/05/0...ex-slave-cult/

    What I found really interesting was the description of the process of brainwashing - the long classes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and how they actually produce changes in the brain over time. This article from Artvoice talks about some of that too: https://artvoice.com/2018/05/02/cult.../#.Wuqgdich104

    So someone who was rational, educated, normal-thinking, sane - could go to a class thinking it was going to be helpful, and if they kept going and trusted the people they got to know there, end up bit by bit transforming their mind till they got to the point where all of this was normal and right. Which is clearly where Allison went. They also pointed out that this wasn't an overnight process - it took about 9 years of Allison being part of it before they got to the branding and whatnot, I think they said. Once again, I really hope she has a good therapist. A very very good one, because she's definitely in need of it.

    As one person on the show said, it's like a "felonious version of Scientology".

    Further edit: Heh, I'm not the only one to use the frog-in-a-pot analogy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...rivileged.html

    I quote:
    "Several ex-members have compared their predicament to a frog jumping into a pan of water.
    A frog would jump out immediately if the water was hot — but heat it gradually and the frog won't realise its peril until it's too late.
    The women were corrupted slowly, they say. Slowly but surely."
    Last edited by Doranwen; 05-03-2018 at 10:28 PM.

  15. #105
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    The judge set October 1st as the trial date for both Mack, 35, and Raniere.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Penza indicated in court that more arrests are expected and that a superseding indictment could come in a month or so.

    Court papers have previously indicated the 35-year-old Mack is considering a plea deal.

    Lawyers for Mack, who is currently out on home detention staying with relatives in California, said he plans to file an application to waive her future appearances, noting the travel to get to Downtown Brooklyn. But the federal judge said he typically doesn't grant waivers. "People need to show up. This is a serious matter."
    http://abc7ny.com/smallville-actress...court/3427546/

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