Home>US & World>Larry Ray, student’s father convicted of sex trafficking and extortion at Sarah Lawrence College, sentenced to 60 years in prison
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Larry Ray, student’s father convicted of sex trafficking and extortion at Sarah Lawrence College, sentenced to 60 years in prison


A man convicted of extortion and forcing into labor or prostitution some women he met at his daughter’s on-campus housing at Sarah Lawrence College was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison.

Larry Ray, 63, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by Judge Lewis J. Liman, who described his crimes as “particularly heinous.”  

Liman announced the sentence after Assistant U.S. Attorney Mollie Bracewell said that age will not deter Ray from inflicting the kinds of “unspeakable cruelty” on others that he did for the last decade on the friends of his daughter after he met them at Sarah Lawrence College, a small New York liberal arts school.
 
Given a chance to speak, Ray expressed no remorse but decried his prison conditions and physical ailments.  

Prosecutors have said Ray used “violence, fear, sex and manipulation” to gain sex, power and money at the college, and he is incapable of contrition.

Ray was convicted last April of using threats and violence to enrich himself with millions of dollars as he ruined the lives of his daughter’s friends, watching them descend “into self-hatred, self-harm and suicidal attempts under his coercive control,” prosecutors said.

In a submission in Manhattan federal court last week, prosecutors had asked for a life prison term for Ray, but his lawyers had argued for leniency, saying he should face 15 years behind bars.

College Students Exploited
This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Attorney’s office shows Lawrence Ray.

/ AP


Ray’s lawyers said his own physical, sexual and psychological abuse he suffered as a child and through his young adulthood “bears a striking resemblance to the conduct underlying the offenses he now stands convicted of.”

Ray was convicted at a trial where weeks of testimony chronicled his psychologically manipulative relationship with young people he met in 2010 at Sarah Lawrence College. Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm after finishing a prison stint for a securities fraud conviction.

He was convicted on 15 counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, forced labor, sex trafficking and obstruction of justice.

A jury returned its verdict after less than a day of deliberations following a monthlong trial that featured testimony from numerous victims. Some testified that Ray made them believe for most of a decade that they had poisoned or otherwise harmed him and they needed to pay him back.

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

Ray did not testify. Twice, the trial was interrupted as he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance for undisclosed illnesses.

College Students Exploited
Lawrence Ray is loaded into an ambulance, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in New York. 

Lawrence Neumeister / AP


In their submission last Friday, prosecutors said Ray had “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.”

Several students testified that they were drawn into Ray’s world as he told them stories of his past influence in New York City politics, including his role in ruining the career of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik after serving as the best man at his wedding years earlier. Ray had, in fact, been a figure in a corruption investigation that derailed Kerik’s 2004 nomination by President George Bush to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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

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

Prosecutors said the money was never enough, though. Through threats and violence and videotaped “confessions,” Ray tightened his hold on the young people, including forcing them to work at the North Carolina home of his stepfather for weeks in 2013, they said.

The allegations against Ray attained public prominence with the 2020 publication of “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence,” a New York magazine feature.



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