The father of a former Sarah Lawrence College student has been charged with sex trafficking and sexual abuse in relation to an alleged cult he organized out of his daughter’s dorm room, The New York Times reports.
Lawrence Ray, 60, has been charged with multiple offenses, including extortion, extortion conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor, forced labor trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, use of interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity and money laundering, according to the indictment.
“For so many of us and our children, college is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and newfound independence, a chance to explore and learn all within the safety of a college community,” said Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a press conference on Tuesday.
Ray “exploited that vulnerable time in these victims’ lives through a course of conduct that shocks the conscience,” he added.
Ray allegedly laundered about $1 million from the victims, and subjected them to "sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse.” He allegedly used “therapy” sessions to obtain false confessions from his victims, who were mostly young women in their teens or early twenties, who he used for money and unpaid labor, and he allegedly forced one into prostitution.
Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm room at the college following his release from prison for security fraud. He is a former friend of ex-New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, having been the best man at his wedding in 1998, before he gave information to state and federal prosecutors that led to Kerik’s arrest.
New York Magazine released a wide-ranging report on the allegations last April, in which they quoted Kerik as saying, “Larry Ray is a psychotic con man who has victimized every friend he’s ever had. It’s been close to 20 years since I last heard from him, yet his reign of terror continues.”
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