Sarah Lawrence sex cult leader Larry Ray sentenced to 60 years in prison
Sarah Lawrence sex cult leader Larry Ray was sentenced to 60 years in prison Friday for abusing a group of young people he forced to do unpaid labor, mentally manipulated and sex trafficked over the course of nearly a decade.
“Mr. Ray’s conduct in this case was particularly aggravating, his crimes particularly heinous,” Judge Lewis Liman said before handing down the sentence Friday morning in Manhattan federal court.
Liman said Ray robbed his victims of their self worth, memories and “ultimately their bodies,” adding he had the evil genius to mentally break his victims.
“It was sadism pure and simple,” Liman said of the torture Ray inflicted on one of his victims.
A number of his Ray’s victims made statements in court at the sentencing hearing — including a representative of Claudia Drury, who Ray forced into prostitution for years.
Drury wrote that she suffered horrific damage from her years of abuse by Ray.
“I barely have the energy to exist day to day,” Drury said in the statement.
“He destroyed my life,” she added. “I have nightmares almost every night. Everything exhausts me.”
Assistant US Attorney Mollie Bracewell urged Liman to lock Ray up for life prior to the sentencing — arguing his case is similar to a murder case because of the total and far-reaching effect his abuse had on his victims.
“What the court saw and jurors saw was the defendant’s unspeakable cruelty,” Bracewell said of the testimony and evidence presented at trial.
“He took away these victims’ lives,” she added.
Ray was convicted in April 2022 of a slew of charges, including racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, sex trafficking, forced labor, and tax evasion.
During Ray’s month-long trial last year, federal prosecutors showed jurors how Ray physically and mentally abused the group of young people, who he was introduced to after moving into his daughter’s on-campus dormitory in 2010.
Ray infatuated the impressionable coeds with stories about his life, which allegedly included meetings with world leaders, involvement in military operations, and a bitter feud with former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Ray convinced a number of the students to move into a one-bedroom apartment with him on the Upper East Side after the school year, where he exerted tyrannical control over them, according to testimony at trial.
The fiend brainwashed the young people, convincing a number of them that they had damaged his property or poisoned him. He recorded his victims making false confessions and used the videos as leverage to exert control over them.
Ray forced Drury into prostitution for nearly five years and pocketed about $2.5 million that she made from high-end johns she would have sex with in Manhattan hotel rooms.
In October 2018, Ray feared Drury might be slipping out from under his control and tortured her for hours in a Manhattan hotel room, she testified at trial.
Ray ordered Drury to strip naked, then cuffed her hands and legs to a chair with handcuffs that she used as props with her johns, she testified.
He then poured water on her and positioned the chair next to an air conditioner to lower her body temperature. He also suffocated her with a plastic bag, she told jurors.
“I was suffocating. I was terrified. I was trembling. You can’t breathe. You want to breathe a lot. That just makes it much worse. It was terrifying,” she told jurors of the alleged sadistic abuse.
Ray’s crimes were first exposed in a New York Magazine story published in 2019. He was arrested by the FBI months later at a home in New Jersey.
His top lieutenant, former student Isabella Pollok, pleaded guilty in September to a single money laundering count.
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