NEW YORK (AP) — The man accused of exploiting his daughter’s Sarah Lawrence classmates was convicted Wednesday on sex abuse, forced labor charges.
The Manhattan federal court jury started Tuesday to weigh the evidence of racketeering, sex trafficking, conspiracy, forced labor and other charges against Lawrence Ray. He was charged with exploiting college friends of his daughter to get free labor and millions of dollars after convincing them that they’d poisoned him.
Ray, known as “Larry,” could face life in prison.
A prosecutor said Ray bragged about ruining the career of an ex-New York City police commissioner. The prosecutor described Ray as a con man who tricked his daughter’s college friends into obeying his commands and supplying him with millions of dollars.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Bracewell urged jurors in Manhattan federal court Monday to convict Lawrence Ray of charges including racketeering, conspiracy, forced labor, sex trafficking and obstruction of justice.
Ray’s lawyer, Marne Lenox, countered in closing arguments capping a one-month trial that Ray was a victim of the young people he lived with who made him feel paranoid and under attack.
Ray’s psychological and physical abuse began after he moved into his daughter’s on-campus housing during her sophomore year in late 2010 and started “therapy” sessions with some of her roommates, according to the indictment. By summer 2011, some of the victims moved into an apartment with Ray on the Upper East Side and introduced him to other victims.
While living at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Manhattan apartment, Ray would interrogate the victims for hours and often employed such tactics as sleep deprivation, sexual and psychological humiliation, verbal and physical abuse, and threats until they made the false confessions, according to the indictment.
To pay Ray back for their alleged debts or crimes, the victims drained their parents’ savings accounts, opened credit lines, sold real estate and performed unpaid labor on a property in North Carolina, according to indictment.