Lawrence “Larry” Ray, now 60, of New York City, has recently been indicted on several charges dating back to 2010, including extortion, sex trafficking, money laundering and forced labor in connection with an alleged sex cult he started out of a college dorm.
In 2010, after being released from prison, Ray moved into Slonim 9, a townhouse his daughter shared with several roommates on campus at the elite Sarah Lawrence liberal arts school. He had been in prison over a custody dispute after accusing his ex-wife of abusing their daughters- an accusation that investigators eventually concluded to be unfounded.
Ray slept in his daughters’ room on an inflatable mattress and slept on the couch in the common area on occasion. He soon assumed the role of a father-figure for the band of students who were suffering from mental health issues and felt they needed guidance- a service Lawrence Ray was all too eager to offer. He began counseling the youngsters and offering up his own brand of “therapy” sessions with them, despite having no background in mental health services. He claimed that he had been taught Government tricks to “discipline the mind”, a concept that the youngsters, who were each struggling with issues of their own, were keen to learn and utilize.
This would later prove to have been the foundation for his future manipulation, abuse and extortion of the unassuming college kids.
His daughter spoke of him in high regard, she referred to him as a “truth teller” of high moral standing who had rescued her and her younger sister from the clutches of their abusive mother who she claimed hurt and abused them. He was a good man who fell victim to conspiracies, she said. Ray was an ex-FBI informant and had connections in high places, including government officials, business owners, mobsters and marine generals.
According to a lengthy and detailed article published in the April 29th, 2019, issue of The New York Magazine, and later published online at “The Cut”, when Ray’s 4 year old child was asked if her mother hit her, she giggled and told them “That’s what daddy tells me to say”. (“The stolen kids of Sarah Lawrence”)
It is believed that Lawrence Ray had been manipulating and controlling his children in order to gain custody of them and keep them in his control by fabricating a story of abuse against his ex-wife. Ray would allegedly harass and extort anyone who pushed against or questioned him and is thought to be a master manipulator.
It is believed that Ray began grooming the students while living at their on-campus residence, despite his presence there being a violation of the rules. According to an article in the New York Post The Dean of Life at Sarah Lawrence admitted that he had received several complaints about Lawrence Rays presence on-campus but claimed he was unable to do anything because “a father is able to visit his daughter” and says he was unaware that the man was living at the residence with the students.
During Summer break of 2011, several of the college roommates moved in to a one-bedroom apartment with Ray on East 93rd Street in Manhattan. Each morning they were awoken to the blaring sound of "Baba O’Riley” by The Who.
“Don't cry, don't raise your eye, it's only teenage wasteland”.
According to one of the students, a male struggling with his sexuality who would later be sexually humiliated in front of his peers, the group would have long philosophical discussions into the night. He told The New York Magazine that Lawrence Ray abused prescription amphetamines and encouraged the practice. He rarely slept.
The students were allegedly punished for accidents and minor indiscretions by taking a seat in the center of the group and being interrogated about the intimate details of their lives and past traumas. These sessions could reportedly last for hours and would not end until the individual in question offered up enough information.
Ray would constantly work to convince the roommates that they had suffered past abuse at the hands of their parents or family friends and encouraged them to break off contact with their families, calling their parents on occasion in attempts to manipulate them too.
He was reported several times to local authorities, but police claimed there was nothing they could do for them as the students were all over 18 and seemed to be at the residence with Ray voluntarily.
Ray allegedly began abusing his victims verbally, physically and psychologically in order to exploit and extort them. A collection of explicit images of the several roommates were later recovered from a storage unit, the images would be used against them in combination with interrogation techniques, manipulation and harassment in order to extort cash. Ray allegedly had his victims drain their savings accounts and loan cash from parents, friends and employers to hand over to him to cover non-existent debts that he claimed they had to pay off. He would later force several of the roommates into unpaid labor and sex work. According to articles on the case Ray received $500,000 from one of his victims over a four-year period between 2014 – 2018.
The parents of another of his victims shelled out $200,000 over a 3-year period. They had to sell their home to pay Ray off.
Some of the students were forced into labor on his relative’s property in North Carolina where they were made to install a drainage system amongst other chores.
Ray is estimated to have made around $1 million over the decade he exploited his victims. He was recently arrested at his home in Piscataway, New Jersey, where he was found living with one of the students he met in Sarah Lawrence.
Further reading: “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence”