Man who lived in daughter's Sarah Lawrence College dorm room convicted of sex trafficking, forced labor and other federal crimes

A prosecutor said Lawrence Ray used psychological abuse, threats and violence to try to control the lives of his victims.

CNN  — 

The father who lived in his daughter’s college dorm room has been convicted of sex trafficking, forced labor, tax evasion and money laundering after less than a day of jury deliberations, the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York announced Wednesday.

“Twelve years ago, Larry Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm room at Sarah Lawrence College,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in the news release. “And when he got there, he met a group of friends who had their whole lives ahead of them. For the next decade, he used violence, threats, and psychological abuse to try to control and destroy their lives. He exploited them. He terrorized them. He tortured them. Let me be very clear. Larry Ray is a predator. An evil man who did evil things.”

Williams thanked the victims who spoke in court, noting the verdict wouldn’t have been possible without their testimony. “We are in awe of their bravery in the face of incredible trauma,” he added.

CNN has reached out to Ray’s attorney, Marne Lenox, for comment.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, Ray, 62, was convicted of:

  • Racketeering conspiracy
  • Conspiracy to commit extortion
  • Extortion
  • Sex trafficking
  • Obtaining forced labor
  • Forced labor trafficking
  • Conspiracy to obtain forced labor
  • Violating the Travel Act
  • Four counts of tax evasion
  • Money laundering

The sex trafficking conviction comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison.

Over a period of years, Ray sexually and psychologically manipulated and abused a group of college students and other victims, according to the Department of Justice.

He extorted payments from victims after getting them to make false confessions about causing damages to him, his family and associates, according to the indictment. Victims drained their parents savings, opened credit lines and sold real estate ownership to pay Ray. He also directed the victims to do unpaid labor for him and earn money for him through prostitution.

Ray forced one woman to engage in commercial sex acts to pay damages to Ray – money she never owed, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Ray groomed her when she was a college student and collected sexually explicit photos and other information to coerce her to commit more commercial sex acts, the office said.

In one instance of Ray’s alleged brutality, he tied the woman to a chair, put a plastic bag over her head and nearly suffocated her, according to the indictment. He collected millions of dollars of forced prostitution proceeds from this victim, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said in 2020 that the investigation was prompted by an April 2019 magazine article titled “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence,” published on New York magazine’s The Cut. The private liberal arts college has about 1,700 students and is located in Yonkers, New York.