A father who moved into his daughter’s New York dorm room has been accused of a scheme of gaining students’ trust as a “counselor,” then extorting more than $1 million from them — in one case by forcing a young woman into prostitution for four years.
Lawrence Ray. (U.S. Justice Department)
Lawrence Ray, 60, was arrested Tuesday at his home in Piscataway, N.J.
In a press conference, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Ray’s scheme began in 2010, when his daughter was a sophomore at “a university in Westchester County.” Berman would not name the school, but the New York Magazine article that prompted the investigation identified it as Sarah Lawrence College.
Ray allegedly moved into the daughter’s dorm room and began conducting “therapy sessions” with her roommates, “laying the groundwork for psychological conditioning,” a press release from Berman’s office said.
“He convinced them that they were broken, and only he could fix them,” Berman said.
At the end of the school year, he got several students to move with him to a Manhattan apartment, where he embarked on a pattern of “sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” the release said.
Over the course of eight years, he coerced five young women and men into falsely confessing to harmful acts against him, then he extorted payment for those purported damages. Some drained their parents’ savings; others were forced to perform unpaid labor at Ray’s property in North Carolina; and one of them was forced to engage in commercial sex acts. The proceeds of the forced prostitution exceeded $500,000, Berman’s office said, and altogether Ray collected more than $1 million.
Ray is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon in a Manhattan courtroom, where he will be charged with nine counts including extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor and money laundering. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
The story of the alleged abuse was broken by New York magazine in an April 2019 article entitled “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence.”
Ray has acted as an FBI informant, according to the New York Times, and was involved in the prosecution of New York’s disgraced former police commissioner, Bernard B. Kerik — at whose wedding he had been best man.
Kerik told New York magazine: “Larry Ray is a psychotic con man who has victimized every friend he’s ever had.”
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Source:: The Mercury News – World