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Who Is Lawrence Ray? Sarah Lawrence Dad And Cult Leader Charged With Sex Trafficking

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Who Is Lawrence Ray? Sarah Lawrence Dad And Cult Leader Charged With Sex Trafficking

You have all of the cliques, the nerds, jocks, party animals in college. But something changed that when rumors began about a possible cult happening on the campus of Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York.

People didn't know how to react or who was responsible for it. That is, until they found Lawerence Ray.

Who is Lawrence Ray? He was well known in New York for his connections to politicians and top police officers. In 2001, he was indicted with 18 others, including members of the Mafia, in a $41 million securties fraud scheme. In the fall of 2010, he took his con to Sarah Lawrence College, where his daughter Talia was a sophomore. It was there he allegedly started a sex cult.

Now, he has been arrested and is facing federal charges for extortion and sex trafficking. 

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1. Who is Lawrence Ray? He was living in his daughter's dorm room. 

In 2010, Lawrence Ray was released from jail after serving six months in a child custody dispute involving his youngest daughter, Ava. He moved in with his oldest daughter Talia, a student at Sarah Lawrence College who was living in a two story dorm. She was a sophomore.

Ray quickly made himself invaluable to her seven dormmates by doing the cooking and cleaning, and taking everyone out for dinner and picking up the tab. When Ray first moved into the dorm, he slept on an air mattress in his daughter's room.

It wasn't all that long before he moved into the room of her best friend, 19-year-old Isabella Pollock, who was heartbroken over a recent breakup.

2. How did Ray even end up in the dorm?

During Talia Ray's first year at Sarah Lawrence College, she often spoke about her dad. He was a truth teller, she told her friends. She said he'd been silenced by powerful, vindictive men who were out to get him. He ended up in prison because of the efforts he took to save her and her sister Ava from their abusive mother. His continued jail time was due to government corruption.

So, in September 2010, at the beginning of her sophomore year, Talia told her roommates that her dad was getting out of prison and needed to crash with them for a bit. The girls were mostly unfazed by it. Talia talked about her dad all the time, and they felt like they practially knew him.

3. Talia Ray's boyfriend spoke out about her father. 

Talia's boyfriend at the time revealed that he found the arrangement very strange — particularly after he found Ray stroking Pollock's hair while they both laid on Talia's bed. The boyfriend, who preferred to remain anonymous, said when he mentioned how weird the situation was to Ray, Ray said, “Nobody’s going to hurt my baby girl."

Ray told him he was going to start sleeping in Pollock’s room, and when the boyfriend expressed his concern, Ray responded, “You’re acting like I’m going to be sleeping with her, but I’m going to be sleeping on the floor. She needs someone to help her.”

Isabella remained distraught over her breakup.

4. Ray had contact with Pollock's family.

When fall break rolled around, Ray called Pollock's family just before she was about to go home for winter break. He told them that she had been sexually abused as a child. He said that if she went home to visit, she might try to kill her.

"You let this happen to her," Pollock's aunt remembers him saying to the 19-year-old's mother. He spent winter break with Pollock, Talia, and her boyfriend in a one-bedroom condo that belonged to a friend of his. Talia and her boyfriend slept on the couch. Ray and Pollock shared the bed.

The boyfriend said, “He controlled every aspect of our lives once we were in the apartment. When we ate, what we did, when we went to bed.” Ray told Talia’s boyfriend to stop taking his prescribed antipsychotic medication. Talia's boyfriend broke up with her as soon as winter break ended so he could get away from Ray.

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5. Ray held "counseling sessions" for his daughter and her friends. 

It wasn't long before Ray had a Svengali-like hold over Talia and her dorm mates. In the evenings, Ray would put one person in the “hot seat," demanding that one member of the group answer extremely personal questions, interrogation-style. When questions were answered by the girl on the hot seat, the other girls applauded.

Afterwards, Ray would have “counseling sessions.” He acted a lot like a dad, entertained the girls by telling stories about him working as a CIA assoicate, or about how he was buying weapons on the black market. He was still living in the dorm in the Spring of 2011.

6. Shortly after, it's believed he began a cult.

As time went on, the group of students became more ensnared in Ray's web of deceit and control. Three of the girls tried to kill themselves. Another said his family gave Ray over $200,000.

One of the roommates, Claudia Drury, became a prostitute to try and repay money Ray told her he owed for damaging an apartment shared by the group. At one point, Drury, at the urging of her mother, tried to poison Ray, Talia, and Pollock by putting poison in his food, on doorknobs, on his laptop, and all around his room.

7. Ray was extremely controlling and allegedly forced women to sleep with one anohter.

As time went on, more and more young women (and sometimes) men were drawn into Ray's orbit. He controlled their lives. He forced group members to have sex with each other in front of the group.

Over the years, some got out of Ray's web, moved on, and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. Others remained with Ray.

Legal documents show that Lawrence Ray, his daughter Talia, Pollock, and others were still living together in 2017. In 2019, Ray, Isabella, and a woman named Felicia Rosaro reportedly were living together in New Jersey. He called both Isabella and Felicia his wives.

Ray's Twitter has been dormant since mid-2015, but still gives a look into this man's twisted mind. It has tons of pro-military RTs.

8. Lawrence Ray has been charged with sex trafficking and extortion.

In February 2020, Ray was arrested and is currently facing nine counts of federal charges, including money laundering, extortion, and sex trafficking. The indictment says that Ray used "verbal and physical abuse" to control his victims. 

Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, released the following statement: "Ray directed his victims to obtain money for him by other means, by draining their parents' savings and worse, forced labor and prostitution."

The indictment also revealed that Ray demanded that his victims have taped confessions for the supposed crimes they had committed. 

This week, Sarah Lawrence released a statement regarding the charges, saying they're "serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting." The college also revealed that an investigation into Ray was started last year after a New York Magazine article was published about the allegations.

They said, "An internal investigation regarding the specific activities alleged in the article to have occurred on our campus in 2011; the investigation did not substantiate those specific claims." The college also said that they would cooperate if they were contacted by authorities. 

Ray will be arraigned this week. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

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Steven Hall is a writer who covers trending entertainment and news topics, as well as pop culture and relationships.