Larry Ray, a convicted sexual predator, is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday for abusing a group of Sarah Lawrence University students after luring them into a sadistic sex cult and terrorizing them for nearly a decade.
Ray faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted by a Manhattan federal court jury in April 2022, according to Judge Lewis Liman, who presided over the month-long trial last year.
Federal prosecutors asked for Ray’s life sentence, claiming in a court filing last week that 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 met his victims after being released from federal prison in an unrelated case and moving into his daughter’s on-campus dorm at Sarah Lawrence College in 2010.
The charlatan enthralled the gullible students with stories about his alleged involvement in overseas military operations, meetings with world leaders, and his apparent long-running feud with former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
After the school year ended, several of the students moved into a one-bedroom Upper East Side apartment with Ray, where he exerted physical and mental control over 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.
Drury told jurors that he tortured Ray in a hotel room one night, cuffing her to a chair and suffocating her with a plastic bag until she thought she was going to die.
Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, praised Ray’s conviction in a statement following his conviction.
“Let me be perfectly clear. Larry Ray is a hunter. An evil man who committed evil acts. “Today’s verdict brings him to justice for the first time,” Williams said.
“Without the victims who testified in court, this verdict would not have been possible. “We are inspired by their bravery in the face of such adversity,” he added.