How Actress Allison Mack Groomed India Oxenberg For Sex Abuse in Nxivm: 'I Wanted to Believe' HerOctober 15, 2020
Not long before Allison Mack was arrested in 2018, there was a brief moment when the Smallville actress and Nxivm member confided her doubts about the group to India Oxenberg, a younger member.
A year earlier, Mack had invited India to join DOS, the secret "master-slave" sorority within Nxivm, an upstate New York group prosecutors described as a sex cult. Subsequently, Mack became India's "master" — and India tells the harrowing story of her ordeal in the upcoming STARZ four-part documentary series Seduced: Inside The Nxivm Cult, which begins airing October 18, at 9 pm EST/PST and in this week's PEOPLE.
But on that day in 2018, India saw a different side of Mack.
"She grabbed my hand. She said 'I don't know if I'm making the right decision. What if I wanted to have children or a husband?' She started to question her choices," says India. "I had never seen her vulnerable."
PEOPLE's calls to Mack's attorneys were not returned.
After inviting India to join DOS in 2015, Mack had demanded what she called "collateral," including nude photos and family secrets. It was all part of a blackmail scheme which had ensnared India, among other female members, and groomed them to have sex with Nxivm's leader, Keith Raniere. Found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering, Raniere now faces the possibility of life in prison for his crimes.
"One of my first commands from Allison was to seduce Keith," recalls India. "At the time, I believed it was a place I could push against fear and vulnerability. That's what I was told the assignment was. I wanted to believe Allison."
Nor did she question the abusive punishments she faced when she did not complete Mack's demands: cold showers, being forced to do planks and extreme calorie restriction. "I was coerced and manipulated and believed what I was doing was helping me when I was really just serving Keith," she says.
For more on India Oxenberg's journey out of Nxivm, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.
Mack was arrested in 2018 and later admitted to conspiracy, extortion and forced labor. She now awaits sentencing and remains under house arrest.
"I was lost," she tearfully told the judge when she confessed to her crimes in 2019.
Once India broke free from Nxivm, she moved back home to Los Angeles. Her mom, Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg, who had led the fight to save her daughter and chronicled the fight in her 2018 book Captive, welcomed her back with open arms.
"There were so many emotions," says Catherine. "I had a whole recovery team ready for her as soon as she took the first steps forward."
By sharing her story in the powerful documentary, India hopes to use her voice to help others. "I was so ashamed I couldn't seem to talk or get the words out," she says. "I'm so grateful for my mom and all the she did."
The STARZ four-part docuseries, Seduced: Inside the Nxivm Cult, begins airing Oct 18 at 9 p.m. EST/PST.
Watch the full episode of Catherine and India Oxenberg: Surviving NXIVM streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.
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