Dad who lived in a dorm found guilty of abusing his daughter’s friends

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who moved into his daughter’s college dorm and charmed classmates with claims of influence and wisdom was found guilty on Wednesday of exploiting the close-knit group, using threats and violence to enrich themselves with millions of dollars as he ruined their lives.

Lawrence Ray, 62, was convicted in a trial where weeks of testimony chronicled his psychologically manipulative relationship with young people he met in the fall of 2010 at Sarah Lawrence College, a small liberal arts school from New York. Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm after completing a stint in jail for a securities fraud conviction.

The sentence was set for September 16 for charges of racketeering, conspiracy, forced labor, sex trafficking and obstruction of justice. Ray, who stood by his side and faced the Manhattan jury as guilty verdicts were returned on 15 counts, could face life in prison. A charge has a mandatory minimum duration of 15 years.

After the verdict was read, Ray was returned to custody, where he had been since his arrest in early 2020.

His lawyers declined to comment outside of court and did not return emails seeking comment.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Ray changed “a group of friends who had their whole lives ahead of them.”

“Over the next decade he used violence, threats and emotional abuse to try to control and destroy their lives,” Williams said. “He exploited them. He terrorized them. He tortured them. Let me be very clear. Larry Ray is a predator. A bad man who has done bad things. Today’s verdict finally brings him to justice.

Jurors concluded deliberations less than a day after receiving the case following a month-long trial that featured testimony from numerous victims who typically referred to Ray simply as “Larry.” Some testified that Ray tricked them into believing they had poisoned or otherwise injured him and that they had to pay him back.

A woman has testified that she became a sex worker to try to pay Ray reparations after she was convinced she had poisoned him. She said that, over four years, she gave Ray $2.5 million in installments averaging between $10,000 and $50,000 a week.

Another Harvard and Columbia-educated woman who was set to become a doctor in 2012 testified that her career and life were derailed when she met Ray and fell in love with him. She said he sometimes asks her to have sex with strangers and film it for him.

Ray’s lawyers argued he was victimized by former friends who made up their stories.

Ray did not testify. Twice the trial was halted as he was taken to hospital in an ambulance for undisclosed illnesses.

Several students testified that they were drawn into Ray’s world as he told them stories of his past influence in New York politics, including his role in ruining the former Commissioner’s career. NYPD Bernard Kerik after being best man at his wedding. years earlier. Ray had, in fact, been a figure in the corruption investigation that derailed Kerik’s nomination as head of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Some of the students agreed to live with Ray in the summer of 2011 in his one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, where his sinister side emerged as he began to claim the students had poisoned him and harmed him or his property. .

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

Prosecutors said the money was never enough. Through threats, violence and videotaped ‘confessions’, Ray has tightened his grip on young people, including forcing them to do landscaping and other work at his stepfather’s home. in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for weeks in 2013, they said.

The abuse culminated in October 2018 when Ray repeatedly abused the woman who gave him the proceeds of her sex work for hours, forcing her to be tied naked to a chair while he berated her, l strangled him with a leash and made him fear for his life by putting a bag over his head, prosecutors said.

Ray committed his crimes with the help of his daughter and Isabella Pollok, a woman who pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, prosecutors said. His trial is scheduled for later this year. The girl has not been charged.

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