Man Accused Of Running Sex Trafficking Ring At Sarah Lawrence College

Erica Brosnan
February 11, 2020 - 2:25 pm
Lawrence Ray

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A Brooklyn man is accused of creating a sex cult and preying on girls at Sarah Lawrence College over the last decade.

According to a 22-page Manhattan Federal Court indictment, 60-year-old Lawrence Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm room at the college and began targeting her friends for exploitation.

Prosecutors say Ray “subjected the victims to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse.”

Authorities say Ray began the sex trafficking and abuse in 2010, when his daughter was a sophomore at the school. They say in 2014, he then forced a woman into prostitution for four years and forced her to keep working by blackmailing her.

Ray is also accused of laundering about $1 million he obtained from his victims, according to the indictment. The students drained their parents' savings. 

“Under the pretense of counseling the victims, Ray inquired about intimate aspects about their lives and mental health – managing to convince several of them that they were broken and that only Ray could fix them,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

He adds: “Ray also sought to alienate these college students from their parents, fueling their dependence on him. After gaining his victims’ trust, Ray turned on them.”

Ray is originally from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn but now resides in Piscataway, New Jersey, where he was arrested Tuesday morning.

Officials said that one of his female victims, who was also a former college roommate of his daughter, was home with Ray at the time of his arrest.

An April 2019 article by New York Magazine titled "The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence," led to an investigation against Ray, according to law enforcement officials.

Ray has led something of an unusual life. Among his associates: mob figures, politicians, military leaders. He was Bernie Kerik's best man. The two were good friends until he helped investigators go after the former NYPD commissioner.

Ray is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday. He is charged with exploitation, engaging in sex trafficking, extortion and forced labor.