Sarah Lawrence College 'Cult' Leader Convicted of Extortion and Sex Trafficking


Lawrence V. Ray was arrested in 2020 following a New York Magazine article which exposed what he was doing during a decade-long reign of terror at the small, private college in upstate New York.

The leader of the so-called Sarah Lawrence College sex “cult” has been convicted of 15 crimes including trafficking and extortion, The New York Times reported.

Lawrence V. Ray was found guilty in a Manhattan, New York, courtroom Wednesday of all charges against him and faces life in prison when he is sentenced by Manhattan federal Judge Lewis Liman in September, New York Post reported.

Ray, 62, moved into his daughter’s room in 2010 during her sophomore year at Sarah Lawrence College after he was released from prison on an unrelated case. Soon after moving into the room, he began giving "therapy sessions" to her roommates, purporting to "help them with psychological problems," according to an indictment People obtained.

Ray was arrested a decade later in 2020.

During his so-called “therapy sessions,” Ray would "eventually lead these young adults to become unwitting victims of sexual exploitation, verbal and physical abuse, extortion, forced labor and prostitution," FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr., said at the time of his arrest.

In 2011, many of the students moved into Ray's apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, where the “sessions” continued, said prosecutors.

His 2020 indictment, obtained by People, said Ray presented himself as a father figure, a psychologist and a spiritual advisor.

Ray extorted his victims and even forced one of them into prostitution while laundering the proceeds of his scheme, which totaled millions of dollars, the New York Post reported.

“When his victims were completely subdued, when they were under his control, he committed crimes to get them to pay — extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, obstruction of justice, financial crimes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mollie Bracewell told jurors in her closing argument Wednesday.

“The defendant did all of this for control, for his own greed, and to increase his power, to cement his position in the organized group that he led.”

Federal authorities began investigating Ray after a 2020 New York Magazine article highlighted what he was doing at Sarah Lawrence College.

"Twelve years ago, Larry Ray moved into his daughter's dorm room at Sarah Lawrence college.  And when he got there, he met a group of friends who had their whole lives ahead of them. For the next decade, he used violence, threats, and psychological abuse to try to control and destroy their lives,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “He exploited them. He terrorized them. He tortured them. Let me be very clear. Larry Ray is a predator. An evil man who did evil things. Today's verdict finally brings him to justice."  

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