Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.
Usa News

Sex Cult ringleader at Sarah Lawrence College gets 60-year sentence

When Lawrence V. Ray arrived on the campus of Sarah Lawrence College in 2010, he introduced himself as a mentor to the young men and women who lived in a dormitory with his daughter.

Mr Ray, then 50, began spending nights in the dorm, lecturing on the importance of honesty and praising Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius. He quizzed the students about their lives, they said, and regaled them with dramatic stories about his own.

But Mr Ray’s dark side quickly emerged, according to testimony at a trial last year that ended with his conviction on extortion, sex trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and other charges.

Prosecutors said Mr Ray, who was arrested in 2020 after a New York magazine article published about him, studied cults and mind control, grooming his victims and bending them to his will. For a decade he abused a group of young people, gaining their trust and isolating them from their parents, prosecutors added, then coerced them into making false confessions which he used ‌as leverage‌to extort millions from dollars.

Four of Mr Ray’s former supporters testified at his trial, describing how he won them over. He then made them feel worthless, belittled them, and ordered them to have sex with each other and with strangers. One such former follower, Claudia Drury, said Mr Ray forced her into prostitution and touched her sexually on at least one occasion. Another, Felicia Rosario, testified that she had at one point been romantically involved with Mr. Ray. The lawsuit did not include any allegation that he committed a sexual assault.

On Friday, Judge Lewis J. Liman of the Manhattan Federal District Court sentenced Mr. Ray to 60 years in prison. Several U.S. Marshals stood behind Mr. Ray as he stood, dressed in a pale green prison uniform, to hear the judge deliver his sentence. He was then led out of the courtroom, still in custody.

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence, writing in court that Mr Ray was ‘incapable of contrition’ and would pose a grave danger even in old age.

“While the defendant’s victims descended into self-loathing, self-harm and attempted suicide under his coercive control,” prosecutors wrote, “evidence showed that the defendant took sadistic pleasure in their pain and enjoyed the fruits of their suffering”.

Mr. Ray himself had been the victim of physical, verbal and sexual abuse while growing up in Brooklyn, defense lawyers wrote to the judge, while asking that he be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

They added that he had already suffered significant penalties, been the subject of “ridiculous press articles, salacious television miniseries and sensational documentaries” and held for three years in federal prisons during a pandemic.

“Mr. Ray will never again be able to forge the relationships that led to the conduct underlying his convictions,” his lawyers wrote, adding that he “was effectively incapacitated by the nature very public about his trial”.

Before his sentencing, Mr Ray addressed the court, saying he had suffered from worsening physical ailments while incarcerated, including insomnia, ringing in his ears and failing vision.

“It’s scary to feel so bad,” said Mr Ray, whose lawyer gave his age as 63. “Being in jail was horrible.”

Minutes later, before handing down his sentence, Judge Liman praised the former supporters who had testified at Mr Ray’s trial, saying they had “shown extraordinary courage” in standing up to a man who beat and tortured them.

“He fed on the vulnerabilities of his victims and took pleasure in degrading them,” Judge Liman added of Mr Ray. “He sought to remove all light from the lives of his victims.”

For years, Mr. Ray has had ties to law enforcement officials and accused criminals. Bernard Kerik, who was appointed in 2000 by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to the post of New York City Police Commissioner, helped Mr. Ray find a job at a construction company accused of having ties to organized crime. Mr. Ray later cooperated with prosecutors investigating Mr. Kerik, who pleaded guilty to state and federal charges related to his relationship with the company, Interstate Industrial Corp.

After Mr. Ray was charged, officials at Sarah Lawrence in Westchester County, just north of New York, must have wondered how he managed to be on campus without the school’s knowledge. Former pupils have suggested that the school’s decentralized layout and culture of acceptance may have helped make this possible, according to a report in The Journal News, which covers Westchester.

Mr. Ray reported to college after a stint in a New Jersey state prison on child custody charges. But his daughter, Talia, said he was “a hero” who had been jailed because of “corrupt politicians”, one of his housemates, Santos Rosario, testified.

A second roommate, Ms Drury, testified that Mr Ray bragged about knowing generals and having powerful friends while saying he believed Mr Kerik wanted to bring him down.

These two students were among several who, fascinated by Mr. Ray’s charisma and apparent empathy, began living with him the summer after their sophomore year in an apartment he had use of. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

There, according to the students, Mr. Ray conducted “therapy” sessions which he said would improve their lives. Eventually, he began subjecting them to lengthy interrogations during which the students said they had become exhausted and fearful as he harassed them in false confessions about damaging his property or having done it to him. evil, which he then used as threats.

Ms Drury, who falsely confessed to poisoning Mr Ray at the request of Mr Kerik, said she admitted to things she did not do partly because of his insistence and partly because of her insistence. Other students confessed to imaginary offences.

“Once I kind of started confessing these things, each one was like further evidence of all the others,” she testified.

Mr Rosario testified that Mr Ray ordered him to have sex with another student, Isabella Pollok, who prosecutors say helped abuse her classmates and who pleaded guilty last year for conspiracy to launder money. Ms. Drury testified that Mr. Ray tricked her into having sex with a tool salesman who was visiting the apartment.

He also verbally abused and assaulted students, according to witness accounts and video and audio recordings. Mr. Rosario testified that Mr. Ray hit him repeatedly with a hammer and then ordered him to jump from a window in the Manhattan apartment. Ms. Drury testified that she saw Mr. Ray tell a student named Daniel Levin that he was going to “cut him up” by calling Ms. Pollok to fetch plastic sheeting from another room.

Mr Levin referenced the incident in a victim impact statement he read in court on Friday, saying he will always remember ‘sobbing while Lawrence Ray brandished a knife at me, asking Isabella to line the tub with plastic to catch my blood and the pieces of my body he’s about to cut.

Mr. Rosario read a statement to the court describing how Mr. Ray tore his family apart, luring his sisters, Felicia and Yalitza, into a web of exploitation.

Other former supporters submitted written statements. Ms Drury described Mr Ray as ‘a shadow of a malicious, violent and deceitful man’ and said his abuse was like ‘an attack on my soul’. Felicia Rosario, a graduate of Harvard and Columbia medical school before meeting Mr. Ray, wrote that he ordered her to find strangers at highway rest stops to have sex with and that she attempted suicide “after Larry came into my life”.

Prosecutors wrote to Judge Liman that a former student of Sarah Lawrence, Iban Goicoechea, over whom Mr. Ray had “asserted control”, had committed suicide in 2020. Mr. Rosario, his two sisters and Ms. Drury had attempted to commit suicide while being abused. by Mr. Ray, prosecutors added.

Ms Drury testified she overdosed on Tylenol in 2014 in a suicide attempt because she felt ‘trapped’ by Mr Ray’s threats that she would go to jail for poisoning him. After hospitalization, she testified, she worked as a hostess in sex clubs, which Mr. Ray had recommended.

Mr Ray also encouraged her to have sex with a taxi driver in lieu of payment, Ms Drury said, and to have sex with a stranger in Central Park.

In late 2014, she testified, Mr. Ray suggested that she become a prostitute, saying it would be “fun” and that she could use the money she earned to pay for repairs to her. alleged poisonings.

For about four years, Ms. Drury said, she saw several men a day in hotels, seven days a week, and gave Mr. Ray about $2.5 million.

She also testified that she eventually separated from Mr. Ray after a 2018 incident in which he handcuffed her to a chair in a Midtown hotel room and covered her head with a bag. plastic, saying at one point, “I’m going to kill you. .”

nytimes Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button