• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Inside the college housing sex cult that saw leader Lawrence ‘Larry’ Ray jailed for 60 years

ByGurinderbir Singh

Feb 12, 2023

The harrowing stories detailing the crimes of a father who moved into his daughter’s student accommodation to begin a sex cult have been revealed.

Victims have now spoken out in a new documentary, telling of a New York man named Lawrence “Larry” Ray who exploited a number of young students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

The 63-year-old was convicted in April for extortion, sex trafficking, and forced labour after an investigation revealed he had been secretly living in his daughter‘s dorm room and manipulating her friends into prostitution.

He has been sentenced to 60 years and is destined to die in prison for his behaviour.

According to prosecutors, Ray’s heinous crimes began in 2010 when he moved into his daughter’s dorm room. He presented himself as a father figure and began giving the young students “therapy” sessions before eventually isolating them from their families.

Over the next decade, he used violence, threats, and psychological abuse to control and destroy the lives of his victims.

At least five students testified in court that Ray extorted roughly US$1 million ($1.4m) from them on false accusations of damages to his property and even forced one young woman into paid sex to repay debts she did not owe.

During the trial, one of the students spoke about the lasting effects of Ray‘s abuse, stating that her “soul was completely depleted.”

“His evil withered us,” Claudia Drury, a sex trafficking victim, said in a statement during his sentencing.

“I feel profoundly violated in a way that I cannot fully communicate.”

A new documentary series airing on Hulu this month will show a more detailed side of exactly how Ray embedded himself in the lives of impressionable young students.

Another victim, Santos Rosario, was just 19 when he met Ray and claimed he was “robbed” of a decade of his life.

“I was 19 years old and a sophomore in college. I was happy. Then I met Larry Ray,” Rosario told the court.

“The next decade was misery. My family was ripped apart.”

In a sentencing guidelines memo, prosecutors said Ray “sought to convince his victims that they were worthless, undeserving of love, and irredeemable, and until his arrest in this case, he was succeeding.

“In order to maintain his control and the lifestyle it ensured, he obstructed justice and threatened his victims with retaliation.

“He has shown no remorse, accepted no responsibility, and impeded the prosecution of this case, including by disrupting the trial and prolonging the trauma to his victims.”

Assistant US Attorney Mollie Bracewell described Ray’s actions as intentional and brutal, causing lifelong harm to innocent victims. Ray’s crimes were brought to light after a story was published in New York Magazine in 2019, which shed light on his “cult-like” operation.

He was later charged with 15 counts, including racketeering, assault, tax evasion, money laundering, and more.

New York judge Lewis J Liman referred to Ray’s crimes as “evil” and “particularly heinous”.

In a letter to the judge, prosecutors asked for a life sentence to be served. In the end, the judge sentenced Ray to 60 years in prison, ensuring that he will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Ray didn‘t apologise or reference his crimes or the victims when given a chance to speak on his crimes.

Instead, Ray told Judge Lewis J. Liman that he deserves sympathy because of the loss of three of his family members while he has been jailed.

“I lost my father, my stepfather, and my stepmother all in one week. They are gone,” Ray said.

“I didn‘t get to say goodbye.”

He also used his two-minute speech to complain about health issues and the poor medical care he’s received in prison.

Judge Liman questioned the ailments plaguing Ray and didn’t offer the desired sympathy before handing down the sentence.

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