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Suspect In Sarah Lawrence Sex Trafficking Case Accused Of Witness Tampering

Lawrence Ray
Lawrence Ray Photo Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office

The father of a former college student in Westchester who allegedly ran a sex cult out of his daughter’s dorm room for nearly a decade is now reportedly manipulating his victims from his prison cell.

Lawrence Ray, 60, who is facing charges that include sex trafficking, extortion, and forced labor, has been allegedly attempting to control at least two of his victims from inside his cell, according to a New York Times report.

Ray was released from prison in 2010 and moved into the co-ed dorm of his daughter at Sarah Lawrence College near the border of Yonkers and Bronxville.

It is alleged that Ray subjected “his victims to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” and laundering about $1 million from one victim under the guise of self-help. 

Ray would allegedly cook fancy meals, and share stories about working for the CIA and being a Marine. What was to be a short arrangement led to “Ray taking charge of the kids’ lives and then whisking them away to a private apartment in New York for a summer.

According to the new report, prosecutors are alleging that Ray has been speaking in code with his father on the phone in an attempt to ensure his alleged victims’ loyalty, going so far as to promise to marry one of them.

“These messages are plainly designed to tamper with witnesses and deter these women from cooperating in the government’s investigation,” the report states.

In one phone conversation in June, which prosecutors quoted in their court papers, Ray told his father that the government wanted the women to testify against him.

“That’s never going to happen,” Ray allegedly stated, adding that “what they’re going on is not the truth.”

Ray reportedly recently asked a federal judge to temporarily release him into home confinement, which was objected by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, stating that his recent call’s to his father demonstrated “ongoing efforts” to influence and tamper with victims, co-conspirators and potential witnesses.

The report states that prosecutors said the calls, placed from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, revealed that Ray was continuing to communicate with the two women who had been living with him before his arrest and who had been witnesses to his “pattern of victimization” of others over the years.

Ray has reportedly kept the two women “in his orbit,” using his father as an outlet to reach them.

Prosecutors have asked the judge to keep Ray in jail and order that he be prohibited from contacting any potential witnesses, though no formal witness tampering charges have been filed.

Prosecutors said that while manipulating the students and conducting “therapy sessions,” he learned “intimate details about their private lives, vulnerabilities, and mental health struggles under the pretense of helping them. 

Ray alienated several of the victims from their parents and convinced several of the victims that they were ‘broken’ and in need of fixing by Ray.”

One of the students also allegedly engaged in prostitution for Ray’s financial benefit.

It is alleged that Ray used sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, physical violence, and threats of legal action to extract information from his victims.

“Ray ultimately extracted false confessions from at least seven victims that they had intentionally damaged Ray’s and his family members’ and other associates’ property,” the indictment states, noting that erroneous confessions included that they had “poisoned Ray and his family members.”

“Larry was of average height and overweight, yet he could be intimidating. He had a clean-shaven head and favored polo shirts cut to make his 50-year-old frame look hulking. His machismo was out of place on the liberal-arts campus,” the New York Magazine article stated. “He could also be charming. He was a good listener and engaged the group on heady concepts like truth and justice.”

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