Where is Sarah Lawrence College “cult” leader Larry Ray now?
When we put sex cult leaders in jail, part of the purpose is so they can never harm their victims again. Unfortunately, being behind bars isn’t stopping Larry Ray, former sex cult leader at Sarah Lawrence, from harassing former members.
While awaiting trial, Larry Ray’s father contacted some of his former members on his behalf to intimidate them from testifying. He told the women that “they signed on for life,” so they couldn’t testify against their leader. Records show these calls happened in May & June.
Who is Larry Ray, the man who started a massive sex trafficking ring out of a historic all-girls’ college? Can this NXIVM-like cult still be a threat despite its leader’s arrest? Here’s what we know so far.
How Larry Ray’s NXIVM cult started
Larry Ray allegedly moved into his daughter’s dorm at Sarah Lawrence University in 2010 and founded his sex cult there. He lured students into his group and forced them to perform sex acts on him. He allegedly forced one of the victims into prostitution for his group.
So how did a grown man end up in a college girls’ dorm? His daughter, Talia, secured on-campus housing for herself and a group of her friends. Meanwhile, her father was incarcerated, scheduled for release soon.
Talia Ray painted her father as a martyr of the U.S. justice system who went to jail to protect her from her “abusive mother.” She also claimed that the government was out to get her dad. Her friends believed the story and let him stay with them.
The sex cult’s dealings
When Larry Ray moved in, he began telling his daughter’s roommates grandiose stories about his time with the NYPD. Ray was good friends with former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik. Stories like these lured new members in.
According to victims, Larry Ray’s cult would try to isolate them from their friends and family as much as possible. Ray extorted money from his victims, at least $1 million from at least five of his victims, and moved some of them to a secluded Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan, away from campus and his victims’ families.
Larry Ray also forced at least one of the victims into prostitution. He allegedly made at least $500,000 from that exploit. Reports indicate he also sexually groomed this victim, made her sleep with a male student in front of him, and blackmailed her for years to sexually exploit her.
Larry Ray’s arrest
Desperate parents reached out to Sarah Lawrence about their missing children and also appealed to authorities. Officers said they were limited in their search due to Larry Ray’s victims being of legal age. Administrators told parents that Ray was the father of a student at Sarah Lawrence, which was why he was there.
Larry Ray was arrested in February. He had one of his victims in his bed when cops showed up to his residence to make the arrest. He pled not guilty to nine counts of very serious charges, including sex trafficking, extortion, and forced labor.
Police found ledgers documenting Larry Ray’s earnings and exploits. In 2017, he made over $700,000 from just one of his victims. A judge deemed him a danger to the community and a flight risk, so denied him bail. He’s awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Detention Center. Twelve witnesses are already willing to come forward to testify.
Sarah Lawrence’s response
Sarah Lawrence alumni and even the university’s own president expressed shock at how a parent of a student could move in and start this sex cult so easily. They blamed a too-accepting culture and a private layout of the apartment building for Ray’s ability to exploit students.
Administrators’ role in not addressing Larry Ray’s presence on campus resulted in a lawsuit from parents and students. However, university officials claim they already had guidelines in place for who could move into their housing and how long they can stay. Enforcing it, however, is difficult for universities across the U.S.
Since the prison Larry Ray is being held at is close to where his parents live, Ray has been using his father to further harass his victims. His father, who lives in Staten Island, is close to two of Ray’s victims. Ray’s father gave them intimidating phone calls at least twice.
Federal prosecutors claim Larry Ray’s behavior could be witness tampering.