In 2010, Lawrence “Larry” Ray, now 63, infiltrated his daughter Talia’s buddy group at Sarah Lawrence School in New York, a college recognized for attracting a few of the brightest college students within the nation. However what started as a dad crashing on a sofa morphed right into a full-fledged cult full of intercourse, manipulation, and extortion.
Ray’s story garnered nationwide consideration in 2019 after New York Journal revealed a function about his then-alleged exploits together with extorting thousands and thousands from his victims known as “The Stolen Children of Sarah Lawrence.”
The expose was prompted after folks discovered web sites of Ray’s victims promoting prostitution and movies of false confessions, and the piece led authorities to start investigating Ray and his crimes. What they discovered was a collection of deliberate makes an attempt to regulate his victims and extort them for monetary acquire.
RELATED: Every thing to Know Concerning the Unsolved Murdaugh Household Murders: From Their Authorized Legacy to A number of Unexplained Deaths
In January 2023, after three years within the New York courtroom system, Ray was sentenced to 60 years in jail for racketeering conspiracy, violent crime in help of racketeering, extortion, intercourse trafficking, pressured labor, tax evasion, and cash laundering offenses.
Hulu unpacks the story in a three-part docuseries Stolen Youth: Contained in the Cult at Sarah Lawrence, which premiered on February 9.
Preserve scrolling for every thing you must learn about Larry Ray and the Sarah Lawrence cult.
Who’s Larry Ray?
Based on The New York Instances, Lawrence “Larry” Ray owned a number of bars and nightclubs within the Eighties, the place he grew to become mates with influential politicians like Bernie Kerik, commissioner of the New York Division of Corrections. Regardless of by no means having a school diploma, he additionally labored as a marketing consultant in numerous industries from insurance coverage to playing, per New York Journal.
Moreover, Ray had ties to influential authorities officers together with former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, after befriending the Soviet chief’s interpreter, Pavel Palazhchenko, based on Individuals. He allegedly used his connection to Gorbachev to rearrange a gathering with him and then-New York Metropolis Mayor Rudy Giuliani, on the request of Kerik.
In 1988 he married Teresa Ray, and collectively they welcomed two daughters, considered one of which was Talia Ray, earlier than divorcing in 2004.
Ray as soon as touted himself to these round him — and later to Talia’s mates — as a former marine with wealthy life expertise and slowly grew to become a self-help “guru” and marketing consultant to the group of scholars, per Individuals. Moreover, Ray had informed her mates that he performed a key function in some international coverage discussions, together with aiding within the ceasefire in Kosovo and he usually confirmed off a letter from NATO thanking him for his efforts, per the Washington Publish.
Along with his tales of the glory days, he hosted group remedy periods and lured the youngsters in with home-cooked meals and fatherly recommendation to earn their belief.
Nevertheless, his alleged resume was significantly embellished. The Reduce discovered that the Brooklyn native served in the US Air Pressure for 19 days, with no proof of him ever working as an intelligence agent regardless of his many claims to Talia’s mates that he was concerned with the CIA.
Additionally, a NATO official, Chris Donnelly, informed The Reduce that the letter Ray introduced was simply attainable for anybody who even had a small involvement within the ceasefire.
United States Legal professional for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman introduced Larry Ray’s indictment in February 2022.
Picture credit score: Stephanie Keith/Getty Photos
What occurred at Sarah Lawrence and the way did Larry Ray revenue off his victims?
Ray’s involvement with the scholars at Sarah Lawrence started in 2010 after he served six months in jail for violating his probation for securities fraud after he was charged with interference with youngster custody for refusing to show his daughters over after a scheduled go to.
Ray’s daughter Talia, who usually regarded her father as a deity of knowledge, per The Reduce, believed Ray was defending her from her “abusive mom” earlier than he was jailed. She known as his efforts to separate her from her mom “heroic” and his imprisonment again then was unjust and the results of “deep-seated authorities corruption,” based on the outlet. Upon his launch, he went to dwell with Talia in her school dorm together with her mates Santos Rosario, Daniel Levin, Isabella Pollok, and Claudia Drury.
Whereas the scenario appeared odd at first to the scholars, per The Guardian, he garnered their respect one after the other by providing “remedy periods” to assist with their issues, based on the outlet.
As soon as summer season trip got here round, Ray moved into an condominium on the Higher East Facet in 2011 and the scholars moved in with him. He then started utilizing techniques like sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of bodily violence, bodily violence, threats of felony authorized motion, alienation, and exploiting the victims’ psychological well being vulnerabilities, based on the indictment, to achieve management over his victims and use them for financial acquire.
Ray would persuade his followers that they owned him cash by manipulating them into considering they destroyed his property, together with a wide range of equipment used for dwelling renovations, like instruments for digging, and would drive the scholars to take part in exhausting labor.
RELATED: The FBI’s Most Wished ‘Crypto Queen’ Scammed Traders Out of $4 Billion. Now, 5 Years Later, a London Condominium Itemizing Might Have Blown Her Cowl.
Ray additionally extorted the scholars’ dad and mom by asking them for funds along with making the youngsters work off their money owed. Based on prosecutors, Ray extorted about $1 million complete from not less than 5 of his victims on false accusations of property damages, per BBC.
A few of his followers slowly began realizing what was taking place and left the group, together with Daniel Levin who minimize off contact with Ray in 2013. Santos Rosario caught round, and his sisters Yalitza and Felicia Rosario joined him. Isabella Pollok and Claudia Drury additionally stayed within the one-bedroom condominium with Ray as nicely. Pollock and Yaliza Rosario stood by Ray the longest and have been generally known as his girlfriends. Isabella and Ray have been sharing a bed room.
Ray additionally pressured Claudia Drury to turn out to be a prostitute to earn cash to repay him after convincing her she broke his vacuum, ate his meals, and claimed she tried to poison him with cyanide, per the New York Instances. She charged $2,000 an hour for her companies. Based on the BBC, her intercourse work introduced Ray $2.5 million over the course of 4 years.
Signage from Sarah Lawrence School’s campus.
Picture credit score:Stephanie Keith/Getty Photos
Ray’s hassle with the regulation started earlier than Sarah Lawrence
Earlier than he grew to become a cult chief at Sarah Lawrence, Ray was already concerned in shady enterprise offers.
From the Nineties to the early aughts, Ray and Kerik developed a robust enterprise and private relationship with Ray even being Kerik’s finest man at his wedding ceremony.
Kerik launched Ray to FBI agent Gary Uher, per The Reduce, and he started working as an informant on the Gambino crime household’s “pump-and-dump inventory scheme,” because of his long-standing enterprise relationship with Eddie Garafola, a capo within the Gambino household.
Nevertheless, Ray had provided a $100,000 bride on Garafola’s behalf and the FBI agent quickly realized Ray had been utilizing his function with the FBI to cowl his personal involvement within the case.
In 2000, Ray and 18 different defendants have been indicted in connection to the Gambino crime household’s scheme and he was charged with securities fraud.
Ray then turned to his longtime buddy Kerik, who was then nominated to be Secretary of Homeland Safety by former President George W. Bush in 2004, for assist getting out of his authorized troubles. After Kerik refused to get entangled, Ray pleaded responsible to securities fraud and was sentenced to 5 years probation in 2003.
RELATED: Who Is Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker? Netflix Unpacks How the Viral Meme Sensation Went From Web Fame to Convicted Assassin
The ordeal led Ray and his spouse Teresa, who had beforehand accused him of kid abuse in courtroom filings, to divorce in 2004 and a bitter custody battle adopted.
Following his sentencing, Ray turned to the media to share damaging data on Kerik together with particulars about $165,000 in unlawful free dwelling renovations that Kerik allegedly accepted from the Interstate Industrial Company (recognized for allegedly having mob ties), to which Ray had launched him.
The scandal pressured Kerik to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Homeland Safety shortly after his nomination, and he later plead responsible to felony tax and false-statement prices in relation to data Ray had given to the authorities. Kerik served three years in jail from 2010 to 2013.
Outdoors of the house Larry Ray lived along with his victims on Sarah Lawrence’s campus.
Picture credit score: Stephanie Keith/Getty Photos
The place is Larry Ray at the moment?
New York Journal’s 2019 function sparked an FBI investigation, which led to Ray’s arrest in February 2020 on 15 counts of racketeering, extortion, violent assault, intercourse trafficking, pressured labor, cash laundering, and tax evasion, based on courtroom paperwork. His trial started in April 2022, and in January 2023 was discovered responsible on all counts and sentenced to 60 years in jail.
A number of of Ray’s victims testified at his trial and went on to inform their tales in books and documentary appearances. Santos Rosario and Daniel Levin revealed the guide “Slonim Woods 9: A Memoir” in 2021. Just one, Isabella Pollok, his longest girlfriend, has confronted prices for her time with Ray and the crimes she allegedly dedicated.
Pollok was charged with racketeering, extortion, and intercourse trafficking conspiracies in March 2021, per Newsweek. She was the final to depart Ray’s facet however they seem to have parted methods as their authorized troubles mounted and they’re now not collectively. She pleaded responsible to at least one rely of cash laundering conspiracy in September 2022, and he or she’s set to be sentenced in February and will face a most of 5 years in jail.