• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022


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Man found guilty of sex trafficking, extortion of daughter’s Sarah Lawrence schoolmates

A New York man was convicted Wednesday on charges that he moved into his daughter’s dorm room at Sarah Lawrence College and abused students at the elite school in a nearly 10-year scheme.

Lawrence Ray, 62, was found guilty of charges that included extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, and money laundering.

Ray stood with his arms at his sides and faced the Manhattan jury as it returned guilty verdicts on all fifteen counts, according to NBC New York.

According to an indictment, he allegedly targeted students after moving into his daughter’s on-campus dormitory with her roommates around 2010 when they were sophomores.

Prosecutors said that Ray, presenting himself as a father figure, began “therapy” sessions with some of the students, purportedly to help them deal with their psychological problems.

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.

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 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 the corruption investigation that derailed Kerik’s nomination 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.

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

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said Ray “terrorized” and “tortured” the group.

“Let me be very clear. Larry Ray is a predator. An evil man who did evil things. Today’s verdict finally brings him to justice,” the office said in a statement.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 16, where he faces life in prison.

After the guilty verdict was read Wednesday, Ray was returned to custody, where he has been since his 2020 arrest.

Tim Fitzsimons contributed.