A man who moved into his daughter’s college dorm and charmed her schoolmates with tales of his wisdom was convicted of charges on Wednesdaywho uses threats and violence to enrich himself with millions of dollars.
Lawrence Ray, 62, was convicted on all charges after a Manhattan trial in which jurors spent weeks hearing testimony describing his psychologically manipulative relationships with young people he first attended Sarah Lawrence College, a small liberal arts school in New York, in the fall of 2010. Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm after being released from prison.
Ray was charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, conspiracy, forced labor and other crimes.
In some cases, Ray convinced his alleged victims that they had poisoned or otherwise harmed him and that they had to pay him back, prosecutors said.
One woman testified that she became a sex worker to try to pay reparations to Ray after she was convinced she had poisoned him. She said she gave Ray $2.5 million over four years in installments that averaged between $10,000 and $50,000 a week.
Ray’s lawyers claimed he was bullied by former friends who made up their stories.
Ray, who has been jailed since his arrest in early 2020, did not testify. Twice the process like him was interruptedin an ambulance for unknown diseases.
Several of the students testified that they were drawn into Ray’s world as he shared stories about his past influence on New York City politics, including his role in ruining the career of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik after he served as a Best man had served his wedding years earlier. Indeed, Ray had been a figure in the corruption investigation that thwarted Kerik’s appointment as head of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Some of the students agreed to live with Ray in his one-bedroom Manhattan apartment during the summer of 2011, where his darker side came out when he began claiming the students poisoned and injured him.
To make amends, they testified, they did what he asked, including handing over money. One man said he gave Ray over $100,000.
Prosecutors said the money was never enough, however. Through threats and violence and videotaped “confessions,” Ray deepened his hold on young people, including being forced to labor for weeks in 2013 at his stepfather’s home in North Carolina, they said.
The allegations against Ray gained public notoriety with the release of The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence in 2020, a feature of New Yorker magazine.