Convicted sexual predator Larry Ray faces sentencing Friday for abusing a group of Sarah Lawrence college students after luring them into a sadistic sex cult and terrorizing them for nearly a decade.
Ray, convicted by a Manhattan federal court jury in April 2022, is looking at a maximum sentence of life in prison before Judge Lewis Liman, who presided over the month-long trial last year.
Federal prosecutors requested Ray be thrown in prison for the rest of his life, arguing in a court filing last week he took “sadistic pleasure” in his victims’ pain and made millions by forcing one of them into prostitution for years.
“Lawrence Ray’s crimes were heinous,” a trio of prosecutors wrote in the sentencing submission.
“Over a period of years, he intentionally inflicted brutal and lifelong harm on innocent victims that he groomed and abused into submission. Once he had established control over his victims, he exploited them for his own profit through extortion, sex trafficking, and forced labor,” they added.
Ray was introduced to his victims when he moved into his daughter’s on-campus dormitory at Sarah Lawrence College in 2010 after he was released from federal prison in an unrelated case.
The fiend dazzled the impressionable coeds with tales about his supposed involvement in overseas military operations, his meetings with world leaders and his apparent long-running feud with former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
A number of the students moved into a one-bedroom Upper East Side apartment with Ray after the school year finished, where he exerted physical and mental control of them and began his campaign of sexual and physical abuse.
At trial, prosecutors called a parade of witnesses to testify about Ray’s guilt, including victims who provided horrific details about the abuse they suffered under Ray’s control.
One victim, Claudia Drury, described how Ray forced her into prostitution after he played bizarre mind tricks on her, convincing her she had poisoned him and damaged his property.
Drury worked seven days a week meeting high-class clients and steered some $2.5 million in earnings to Ray during her years as a prostitute, she testified.
In a particularly disturbing encounter with Ray, Drury told jurors he tortured her in a hotel room one night, cuffing her to a chair and suffocating her with a plastic bag until she feared she’d die.
In a statement after Ray was convicted, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, lauded that Ray had finally been brought to justice.
“Let me be very clear. Larry Ray is a predator. An evil man who did evil things. Today’s verdict finally brings him to justice,” Williams said.
“This verdict would not have been possible without the victims who testified in court. We are in awe of their bravery in the face of incredible trauma,” he added.
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