A federal judge has denied bail for the founder of a purported self-help group under investigation for alleged sex-trafficking that included Smallville actress Allison Mack among its ranks .
Keith Raniere, who's been in custody since his arrest last month, appeared today in a Brooklyn court along with Mack.
Prosecutors accuse Raniere of forming a barbaric secret society within NXIVM (NEHK'-see-um), a group that over the years has attracted a following of minor celebrities and wealthy people.
'Smallville' actress Allison Mack.
Source: Warner Brothers Television
The prosecutors allege the sub-group branded brainwashed victims with Raniere's initials during initiation ceremonies that turned them into his sex slaves.
Actress Catherine Oxenberg's daughter India was a member of the group.
"Keith can't make bail. I was incredibly relieved. I was thrilled at the judge's response to the bail package," Oxenberg said outside the court.
The defence says the women were never abused.
Raniere's attorney's said the judge left the door open to request bail in the future.
Raniere wants to be released on bail using a trustfund set up anonymously.
"I mean at the end of the day, what the judge wants is the judge wants more transparency on the issues surrounding the trust," Marc Agnifilo, attorney for Raniere, said.
NXIVM announced on its website that it has temporarily suspended operations but Oxenberg says her daughter "is still on the inside."
Actress Allison Mack, who's charged with helping Raniere, also was in court.
Mack, who played a teenage friend of Superman in the CW Network series "Smallville." She's pleaded not guilty and is free on $5 million (USD) bond.
Mack and Raniere have pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking. They have denied wrongdoing.