Sarah Lawrence father charged with sex trafficking, exploiting daughter's college friends

Lawrence Ray faces charges including forced labour extortion and sex trafficking. Image Getty

The father of a student who attended a NY college is accused of moving into the dorms, preying on his daughter's friends, sex trafficking, and extortion.

During the sessions, he allegedly learned intimate details about the students' private lives and mental health struggles.

Ray was able to isolate his victims from their families and extorted approximately $1 million from at least five victims; forced certain victims to perform unpaid labor; and caused, through force, fraud, and coercion, at least one victim to engage in commercial sex acts, prosecutors claim.

Prosecutors said Ray solicited false confessions from more than a half-dozen victims, and coerced them to make payments they didn't actually owe and couldn't afford. On another occasion, he's accused of grabbing another male by the neck and choking him until he was unconscious.

"After gaining his victims' trust, Ray turned on them, falsely accusing them of harming him by attempting to poison him or to deliberately damage his property", Berman said.

"Through his manipulative interrogation sessions, Ray made his victims confess to alleged wrongdoing and then compelled them to repay Ray alleged damages owed to him, through payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars, or worse, forced labor and sex trafficking", Berman said. Beginning when she was just a college student, Ray sexually groomed this victim, and collected sexually explicit photographs and other personal information which he then used to coerce her into continued commercial sex acts. One female victim worked as a prostitute for four years and gave most of the proceeds to Ray.

He also relied on physical abuse to control the woman, at one time tying the victim to a chair and putting a plastic bag over her head, according to the indictment.

Lawrence Ray, the father of a student at the college, lived with some of the victims in on-campus housing and later at locations in the New York City borough of Manhattan, and in the town of Pinehurst, North Carolina, among other places.

Sarah Lawrence College called the charges "serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting", according to a statement from the school sent to ABC News. The investigation "did not substantiate those specific claims", the spokesperson said in a statement. At his arraignment Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty.

His probation was revoked after being accused of domestic violence, although the charges in that case were later dropped.

Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College

After the move, Ray allegedly started so-called therapy sessions with some of the roommates, presenting himself as a wise, older figure who could help the students with some of their issues.

Ray often falsely accused the victims of damaging his property, damaging the apartment he had moved into with numerous victims subsequently or poisoning him or his family members.

While living at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Manhattan apartment, Ray would interrogate the victims for hours and often employed such tactics as sleep deprivation, sexual and psychological humiliation, verbal and physical abuse, and threats until they made the false confessions, according to the indictment.

Sassoon said investigators who conducted about 17 interviews with victims were told that Ray would sometimes use a woman's electronic device to take sexually explicit materials and then seize that device.

Prosecutors allege that Ray directed the students to drain money from their parents' savings accounts and forced some of them into unpaid labour at a family member's property in North Carolina. He allegedly "berated" them, restricted their access to food and became violent when he thought they were doing an inadequate job, according to the indictment.

"As alleged, for almost a decade, Lawrence Ray exploited and abused young women and men emotionally, physically, and sexually for his own financial gain", Berman said in a statement Tuesday.

"For so many of us and our children, college is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and newfound independence, a chance to explore and learn all within the safety of a college community", said Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, in a press conference on Tuesday.

He allegedly laundered the money through an online business. "We thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NYPD for their extraordinary work on this case".

When Ray was arrested Tuesday morning in Piscataway, New Jersey, one of his daughter's roommates and another female victim were in the residence, Berman said.


Related:

Comments

Latest news

Taliban peace deal 'on the table,' says Esper
A deal would commit Taliban insurgents to curb attacks in Afghanistan and the U.S.to reduce its troop presence there. The Taliban has warned that the USA would "lose the most" by cancelling the talks.

Auto bomb blast outside military university in Kabul
According to the ministry, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a roundabout close to the Marshal Fahim Military Academy. Past year at least six people were killed during a suicide bombing just outside the academy.

Amber Rose's boyfriend Alexander Edwards gets face tattoo to match hers
Amber Rose just got a face tattoo and she does not care what any of her haters think. Vixen Amber Rose has added some major ink to her head top.

Bezos buys Warner Estate in Beverly Hills for record $165 million
The Wall Street Journal said Bezos purchased three NY apartments earlier this year in a deal valued at about $80 million. Citadel founder Ken Griffin plunked down record $238 million for a NY penthouse at 220 Central Park South.

MWC 2020 is officially cancelled over coronavirus concerns
Actually, as a result of Corona virus unfold in China, many nice corporations had opted out of this program. It's the world's biggest phone show, and lots of companies show off their latest phones at the event.

Other news