The bizarre story of "Larry Ray" came into the public consciousness by way of a lengthy story from the Cut on the dad who, in September 2010, moved into his daughter's 8-person campus dorm at Sarah Lawrence College. To say that things got crazy from there is an understatement. Now federal prosecutors say they got criminal. Lawrence Ray was arrested Tuesday on extortion and sex trafficking charges involving those New York college students. The 60-year-old is accused of using "physical, sexual, and psychological abuse" to extort almost $1 million from five victims, about half of which allegedly came from a female he forced into prostitution, reports NBC News. Coverage:
- To get up to speed on Ray, read our earlier coverage of the Cut's story, which detailed how Ray started by trying to counsel some of the students about their problems and then took a turn. A portion: "He started instructing some of the students to have sex with each other; he would watch or participate. He took the locks off the bathroom doors. He demanded they pay him tens of thousands for items they had supposedly damaged. No one questioned any of it."
- The FBI's assistant director at the helm of the New York office put it like this: "The conduct here is outrageous. It makes me angry. If it doesn't make you angry, you don't have a soul."
- The New York Times reports by way of the indictment that the abuse allegedly occurred for eight years, through 2018. It notes that Ray allegedly extorted his victims by drawing false confessions from them (say, that they stole from him or even tried to poison him), using everything from sleep deprivation to verbal abuse to do so. He then allegedly leveraged those confessions to get money and free labor. Some of them reportedly worked at property his family owned in North Carolina.
- The New York Post has details regarding the female allegedly forced into four years of prostitution, which prosecutors say occurred after Ray first made her have sex with a male victim while he looked on. Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said Ray in one instance "tied this victim to a chair, put a plastic bag over her hair, and almost suffocated her" as a control tactic.
- Lohud has a statement from Sarah Lawrence that calls the charges "disturbing and upsetting" and notes it was not aware of the indictment in advance. The college adds that it conducted an internal investigation in the wake of the Cut article "regarding the specific activities alleged ... to have occurred on our campus in 2011; the investigation did not substantiate those specific claims."
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