US man sentenced to 60 years for extorting college students and trafficking in women
The victims used their parents’ funds, opened credit lines, and asked friends for donations to pay Lawrence Ray millions of dollars.
This courtroom sketch depicts Lawrence Ray, who was convicted on charges of sex trafficking and other crimes for forcing a group of students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York state to perform unpaid work for him including engaging in prostitution, standing before Judge Liman during his sentencing hearing at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, US, on January 20, 2023
REUTERS This courtroom sketch depicts Lawrence Ray, who was convicted on charges of sex trafficking and other crimes for forcing a group of students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York state to perform unpaid work for him including engaging in prostitution, standing before Judge Liman during his sentencing hearing at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, US, on January 20, 2023. REUTERS
On Friday, a New Jersey man was found guilty of US sex trafficking, among other offenses, and given a 60-year prison term for grooming, exploiting, and extorting millions of dollars from a group of Sarah Lawrence College students.
According to a statement from the US Department of Justice, Lawrence Ray, 63, was sentenced in a US District Court in Manhattan after being found guilty of using physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological coercion to control and extort students at the private New York college over a ten-year period.
“Larry Ray is an evil person. He harmed innocent individuals brutally and permanently for years. students who still had their entire lives to live. He coerced them into subjection by grooming and abusing them for his own gain “Damian Williams, US Attorney, stated.
In 2010, Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm space at the college north of New York City. Then, according to the prosecution, he started to groom his victims by depriving them of sleep, humiliating them psychologically and sexually, and threatening them with bodily harm.
By using their parents’ funds, taking out credit cards, and asking friends for help, the victims gave Ray millions of dollars. Some allegedly worked for him uncompensatedly and made money from prostitution under his instruction, according to the prosecution.
One of his victims was coerced into performing in commercial sex acts and gave him more than $500,000 of her prostitution fees. Prosecutors claim that Ray forced her into committing the actions by collecting sexually explicit photos of her and once coming dangerously close to suffocating her.
Prosecutors claim he also forced three additional female victims to work for free at a family member’s property in North Carolina by abusing them psychologically and physically.
In 2020, Ray was detained and charged with sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor, and money laundering. Ray entered a not guilty plea to all of the allegations. After a month-long trial, he was found guilty in April.