FILE PHOTO: Actress Allison Mack arrives at the Hollywood FX Summer Comedies Party in Los Angeles, California June 26, 2012.
FILE PHOTO: Actress Allison Mack arrives at the Hollywood FX Summer Comedies Party in Los Angeles, California June 26, 2012. Reuters/Gus Ruelas/File Photo

Former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack has been charged with sex trafficking for her alleged involvement in the cult NXIVM (pronounced “Nexium”). The 35-year-old American actress pleaded not guilty Friday.

Mack was arrested Friday in Brooklyn, New York, and is accused of recruiting women to join the group, which she told them was a female mentorship group called Jness, and then sexually exploiting them. She faces a minimum of 15 years in jail and could even receive a lifetime imprisonment sentence.

She pleaded not guilty on Friday and was ordered to be detained. Her next bail hearing is on Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court, BuzzFeed News reports.

“As alleged in the indictment, Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Rainere,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. “The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labour, to the defendants’ benefit. This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting predators who victimise others through sex trafficking and forced labour.”

Rainere is the co-founder of NXIVM, described as a multilevel marketing cult hiding behind the façade of being a self-help organisation. According to authorities, he manipulated women into a master-slave sexual relationship, forcing them to follow strict diets and respond to his call whenever they were summoned.

Rainere was arrested in March in Mexico. There is no set date for his arraignment yet. According to the Times Union, Mack was with him when he was arrested.

Mack is allegedly his second in command. According to court documents, she forced her slaves to have sex and engage in sexual activities with Rainere, threatening them with the “damaging collateral” they were supposed to submit when they joined NXIVM. Apparently, the victims were coaxed into posing naked for photos, which Mack used as blackmail materials.

Accusers claimed they were also forced to endure a half-hour branding ceremony, where they were branded with Rainere’s initials on their pubic region using a cauterising pen. Mack allegedly told the women that they should “feel the pain” and to “think of master” during the agonising process.

As a result of her involvement, Mack allegedly received financial or another form of value from Raniere. She and Rainere reportedly threatened the members with serious harm if they did not perform labour services.

Mack, who played Clark Kent’s best friend Chloe Sullivan in the now-defunct show “Smallville,” has been involved with the group for about a decade. She was reportedly recruited by her TV co-star Kristin Kreuk, who played Lana Lang in the series.

Last month, Kreuk said she left NXIVM before it began operating as a sex slave group. She denied accusations that she recruited women as sex slaves. She also said that she never experienced any illegal activities while she was an active member.