Lawrence Ray Ran a Sex Cult Out of Daughter’s Sarah Lawrence Dorm, Feds Say

The father of a former student at New York’s elite Sarah Lawrence College has been charged with starting a sex cult in his daughter’s dorm room, eventually forcing one woman into prostitution and holding a knife to a male victim’s throat until he confessed to a crime he didn’t do, authorities said Tuesday.

Lawrence Ray, 60, faces nine federal charges, including sex trafficking, extortion, and forced labor for allegedly subjecting “his victims to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” and laundering about $1 million from five different victims under the guise of self-help. One of the victims, identified in the indictment as Female Victim-2, was present at his New Jersey residence at the time of his arrest, authorities said.

Beginning in 2010, prosecutors allege Ray “targeted a group of college students and others for indoctrination and criminal exploitation,” using “fear, violence, and coercion” to commit “unspeakable abuse,” Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said during a Tuesday press conference.

“If you’re not angry, you don’t have a soul,” added William Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI in New York.

Prosecutors allege that shortly after his release from a New Jersey prison in 2010, Ray moved into his daughter’s on-campus housing at the private Westchester County university and began manipulating her friends—preaching about “his personal philosophy” and conducting “therapy sessions” all while presenting himself “as a father figure.”

The alleged abuse later continued in his Manhattan apartment, North Carolina, and other locations.

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