Police last week arrested the father of a former Sarah Lawrence College student and charged him with starting a sex cult in his daughter’s dorm. The charges include nine counts of sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor, and money laundering.
Prosecutors described how 60-year-old ex-convict Lawrence “Larry” Ray convinced his sophomore-year daughter and her friends to allow him to stay in their campus housing upon his release from prison in late 2010. Ray forged relationships with the young women, allegedly taking on a “father figure” role and conducting “therapy” sessions with them.
Ray reportedly groomed and exploited five students at the private liberal arts college in Yonkers, N.Y. He allegedly abused them physically, sexually, and psychologically and claimed they owed him money. Prosecutors said Ray directed his victims to drain their parents’ bank accounts and work for no pay at his family’s property in North Carolina. He also reportedly forced one into prostitution.
“Ray subjected his victims to almost unspeakable abuse,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, citing a time Ray reportedly tied one young woman to a chair and placed a plastic bag over her head, nearly suffocating her. —L.E.