NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman tells CBS2 she may have been unknowingly targeted by “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, who is now accused of brainwashing women into joining a sex cult.
“It looks like she’s a shell of the person that I met,” Samantha Parker, of Albany, told CBS2’s Jessica Layton in an exclusive interview.
Parker didn’t know Mack as an actress, but rather an engaging woman with a good sense for fashion, who happened to show up in the Albany-area wine bar Parker was managing three years ago.
“She’s like, ‘you know, you have a really awesome personality, you seem like a really cool chick, let’s get a picture,” Parker said.
Mack posted the photo on Instagram and proposed they get lunch the next day.
“It was energy like that wanted to pull you in,” said Parker.
Mack pitched that Parker would be perfect to join a local organization she was involved with – connecting women, developing leadership skills, going on retreats.
“She never alluded to the fact that there was anything other than motivational,” Parker said.
But prosecutors believe there’s much more to the so-called women’s empowerment group, saying Mack was second-in-command to Keith Raniere in what many believe is a sex cult where women are brainwashed and branded in upstate New York.
The 35-year-old actress was expressionless and silent leaving her latest court hearing Friday connected to the sex trafficking charges she faces. It’s alleged she was the recruiter and sex slave master for the society kept secret for so many years.
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“It made me angry in a way to know that another woman was using woman empowerment to sort of victimize,” said Parker.
Clueless as to what may have been really going on, Parker still declined the offer to be part of the group – too much of a time commitment and thousands of dollars to join. After that initial meeting, the two fast friends lost touch.
“Maybe I wasn’t a good candidate,” Parker said.
Still, she can’t help but wonder: What if?
“At first, I’m like I could never be a victim of this, there’s no way. But knowing what I know now, who knows what could have happened, who knows where I could be right now,” she said.
Parker said she does wonders to what extent Mack may have been brainwashed in all this.
Defense attorneys for Raniere say any sex was consensual and no one ever joined the group or stayed in it against their will.
Trials for Mack and Raniere are scheduled for the fall.