Man accused of exploiting his daughter’s peers at Sarah Lawrence College convicted of sex trafficking and forced labor

A man who moved into his daughter’s college dorm and charmed classmates with stories about her wisdom was found guilty on Wednesday of allegedly exploited the welded groupusing threats and violence to enrich themselves with millions of dollars.

Lawrence Ray, 62, was found guilty on all counts following a trial in Manhattan where jurors heard weeks of testimony from witnesses who described his psychologically manipulative relationship with young people he first met at Sarah Lawrence College, a small liberal arts school in New York City, starting in the fall of 2010. Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm after her release from prison.

Ray was charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, conspiracy, forced labor and other crimes.

In some cases, Ray convinced his alleged victims that they had poisoned or harmed him and that they should pay him back, prosecutors said.

A woman has testified that she became a sex worker to try to pay Ray reparations after she was convinced she had poisoned him. She said that, over four years, she gave Ray $2.5 million in installments averaging between $10,000 and $50,000 a week.

Ray’s lawyers argued he was victimized by former friends who fabricated their stories.

University students exploited
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman points to a photo showing Lawrence Ray during a press conference, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York.

Jim Mustian/AP

Ray, who has been incarcerated since his arrest in early 2020, did not testify. Twice the trial was interrupted because it was taken to hospital in an ambulance for undisclosed illnesses.

Several of the students testified that they were drawn into Ray’s world as he told them stories of his past influence in New York politics, including his role in ruining the former commissioner’s career. New York police officer Bernard Kerik after being best man at his wedding years earlier. Ray had, in fact, been a figure in the corruption investigation that derailed Kerik’s nomination as head of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Some of the students agreed to live with Ray in the summer of 2011 in his one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, where his sinister side emerged as he began to claim that the students had poisoned and injured him.

To make amends, they testified, they did what he asked, including handing over the money. A man said he gave Ray over $100,000.

Prosecutors, however, said the money was never enough. Through threats, violence and videotaped ‘confessions’, Ray tightened his grip on young people, including forcing them to work at his stepfather’s home in North Carolina for weeks in 2013, they said. declared.

The allegations against Ray gained public notoriety with the publication in 2020 of “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence”, an article by the New York magazine.

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