Sarah Emdondson, a top NXIVM recruiter turned whistle-blower, tells all in her new memoir ‘Scarred’. And, in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife, she shared new details about Allison Mack’s time inside the cult.
Sarah Edmondson, 42, was integral in taking down Keith Raniere, 59, the mastermind behind the NXIVM organization that recruited women as sex slaves. When the Canadian actress and author showed the world the brand she received on her pelvic bone as part of a NXIVM ritual, the FBI got involved. Now Keith is behind bars and the women who helped him, including Smallville star Allison Mack, 37, are awaiting sentencing for various crimes related to the pyramid style cult. Speaking EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife while promoting her new book Scarred, Sarah revealed more details about her harrowing ordeal inside NXIVM and why she feels Allison was set up by Keith to “take the fall” for him.
You open your book with the description of your branding and reveal that it happened in Allison Mack’s Albany, New York home. But reading the book it seems unclear as to whether the initials branded onto your body were Allison’s or Keith’s. Can you explain?
Sarah Edmondson: You know, we still don’t know to this day. When I start to figure it out, I saw the A.M. first, and then I saw the K.R. It was testified to in the trial that it wasn’t ever planned to be A.M., that it was just a coincidence. But I am not convinced. I know the way Keith works, nothing with him is a coincidence. He may not have disclosed to anyone in the group that he was designing it that way. But I believe he wanted to ruin Allison. Because he said, and Mark (Vincente) testified to this in the trial, that Keith told Mark essentially that he was trying to break Allison. He would often do things to really break down your need to be liked or to have attention. He’d say things like, “imagine that everyone in the world hates you.” This was the kind of thing he would do on a regular basis. So I think, just knowing him, and now with his history of abuse and manipulation so clear, that he just wanted to destroy Allison and so I think that no one else (in the sex cult) may have known that the initials were there on purpose, but I think that everything he did had a meaning. As I wrote in the book, NXIVM comes from the root word for debt bondage and slavery. He came up with NXIVM in 1998 so he already had the idea for slaves way back then.
So you are saying that he secretly included Allison’s initials, or may have secretly included them to try to destroy her in some way?
Sarah Edmondson: For her to take the fall.
So she was truly his puppet in this?
Sarah Edmondson: Yes. (Allison gave an interview) and said that she came up with the branding. She said it was her idea. But that was a total lie, because we have an audio tape of Keith telling her how to do it…In the trial, there was an audio clip played where Keith tells Allison how to do it (the branding) and teaches her to make it look like it’s a sacrifice. On the audio clip he says, “and have them say something like, ‘master, would you brand me. It would be an honor.’ So that it looks consensual.”
Who recorded the audio tape?
Sarah Edmondson: Allison recorded it, and then when she was arrested, India Oxenberg was living with her and India kept all her thumb drives. And India gave that evidence to the FBI.
How is Allison doing now, has she woken up to the truth about NXIVM and Keith?
I think she has woken up. I’ve heard that she’s woken up. I’ve heard that she was woken up by the underage sex that came out in the trial. That’s what I’ve been told.
As HollywoodLife previously reported, Allison is currently on house arrest and awaiting sentencing for her racketeering crimes in the NXIVM cult, months after pleading guilty. Keith is behind bars after being found guilty of racketing, sex trafficking and other charges. He is expected to be sentenced next year. To read more about the 12 years Sarah spent devoted to cult leader Keith, her terrifying escape and her triumphant fight to bring him to justice, pick up her new memoir Scarred.