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Larry Ray sentenced to 60 years in prison for trafficking US college students HP NEWS

Prosecutors said Ray groomed and abused students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York over many years

A New York man who secretly lived in his daughter’s college dorm room and lured her friends into prostitution has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Lawrence “Larry” Ray, was convicted in April for extortion, sex trafficking and forced labour.

Prosecutors said Ray groomed and coerced several students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

On Friday, a judge ordered that the 63-year-old spend six decades behind bars, meaning he will likely die in prison.

Editor’s note: You may find some of the details below distressing.

During the sentencing, New York judge Lewis J Liman called Ray’s crimes “evil” and “particularly heinous”.

Ray began his crimes in 2010, prosecutors said, when he moved into his daughter’s dorm room at the college.

It was there that he met a group of friends “that had their whole lives ahead of them”, US prosecutor Damian Williams said following Ray’s conviction in April.

During the trial, the students testified that he presented himself as a father figure and began giving them “therapy” sessions. He then alienated them from their parents.

“For the next decade, he used violence, threats, and psychological abuse to try to control and destroy their lives,” Mr William said.

Prosecutors said Ray extorted about $1m (£0.81m) from at least five victims during that time on false accusations of damages to his property, and at one point forced one female student into paid sex to pay for damages that she did not owe.

One of the students testified in court that she gave Ray about $2.5m in earnings through sex work over a four-year period.

Ahead of Friday’s sentencing, her representative read a statement in court, in which she said Ray’s abuse had deeply affected her psychologically.

“My soul was completely depleted. It was a tangible feeling,” she said.

In a letter to Judge Liman, prosecutors asked that Ray serve a life sentence for his crimes.

“Over a period of years, he intentionally inflicted brutal and lifelong harm on innocent victims that he groomed and abused into submission,” wrote assistant US Attorney Mollie Bracewell in the letter.

Ray’s crimes came to light after a story was published in New York Magazine in 2019, which detailed the workings of his “cult”.

He was later charged on 15 counts, including racketeering, violent assault, sex trafficking, tax evasion and money laundering.

Ray was found guilty on all counts.



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