Ex-Sarah Lawrence Student's Dad Faces Sex Abuse Charges

Yolanda Curtis
February 13, 2020

Authorities say he collected more than $500,000 from one woman after forcing her into prostitution, while several were forced to perform unpaid labour.

Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said: "College is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and new-found independence". His first victims were his daughters' roommates, Berman said.

Ray also set up an online domain business where he bought internet domain names and sold them at a profit, officials said, using the money bilked from his victims to buy the domain names.

Ray brought three victims to Pinehurst, North Carolina, where the women were forced to install an irrigation system and do other labor for free on property owned by Ray's relative, prosecutors say.

A new indictment, unsealed in the Southern District of NY, accuses Lawrence Ray of moving into a dorm at the college and manipulating his teenage and young adult victims, extorting $1 million from them and their parents.

Ray allegedly began targeting students after he moved into his daughter's on-campus dormitory with her and male and female roommates around 2010 when they were sophomores, the indictment says.

Ray "exploited that vulnerable time in these victims' lives through a course of conduct that shocks the conscience", Berman alleged.

He then launched what amounted to a decade-long reign of terror, subjecting his victims to psychological torture and physical violence to keep them under his thumb and force them to do his bidding, including sex trafficking one of the co-eds, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

A former disgraced Wall Street securities trader from Middlesex County who's accused of running a sex cult using his daughter's college classmates already had a notorious history in both NY and New Jersey.

The indictment reads that police say the father allegedly subjected the victims to "interrogation sessions" filled with violence and verbal abuse in front of other victims to brainwash and exploit the students.

A spokesperson for Sarah Lawrence College called the charges "serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting".

In interviews with NY magazine, Ray said he believed he was being poisoned as part of a conspiracy hatched by some of the students and Kerik, who denied any involvement.

"At that time, the College undertook an internal investigation regarding the specific activities alleged in the article to have occurred on our campus in 2011; the investigation did not substantiate those specific claims". He made them pay by "draining their parents' savings, opening credit lines, soliciting contributions from acquaintances, selling real estate ownership, and at Ray's direction, performing unpaid labor for Ray and earning money through prostitution". As always the safety and well-being of our students and alumni is a priority for the College. "We have not been contacted by the Southern District of NY, but will, of course, cooperate in their investigation to the full extent of the law if invited to do so", spokesperson Patricia Pasquale said in a statement.

"Ray, 60, of Piscataway, New Jersey, is charged with the following offenses: conspiracy to commit extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; sex trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison; obtaining forced labor, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; forced labor trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; conspiracy to obtain forced labor, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; two counts of violating the Travel Act, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison".

Kerik ultimately served almost four years in prison for tax fraud, making false statements and other charges related to gifts he accepted from companies looking for favours, including a construction firm that wanted his help getting a city licence.

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