By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – A New Jersey man was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Friday on U.S. sex trafficking and other charges for grooming, abusing and extorting millions of dollars from a group of Sarah Lawrence College students.
Lawrence Ray, 63, was sentenced in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan following his conviction on charges he used sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse to control and extort students at the private New York college over a 10-year period, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
“Larry Ray is a monster. For years, he inflicted brutal and lifelong harm on innocent victims. Students who had their lives ahead of them. He groomed them and abused them into submission for his own gain,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.
Ray moved into his daughter’s dormitory room at the college located north of New York City in 2010. He then began to groom his victims through sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation and threats of physical violence, prosecutors said.
The victims paid Ray millions of dollars by draining their parents’ savings, opening credit lines and soliciting contributions from acquaintances. At his direction, some performed unpaid labor for him and earned money through prostitution, prosecutors said.
Among his victims, one woman was forced into commercial sex acts and paid him more than $500,000 of her proceeds from prostitution. Ray collected sexually explicit photographs of her and once nearly suffocated her to coerce her into performing the acts, prosecutors said.
He also used psychological and physical abuse to coerce three other female victims to perform unpaid labor at a family member’s property in North Carolina, prosecutors said.
Ray was arrested in 2020 and pleaded not guilty to charges including sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor and money laundering. He was convicted in April after a month-long trial.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Josie Kao)