The father of a former Sarah Lawrence College student has been charged with sex-trafficking her classmates, according to a federal indictment released Tuesday.
Lawrence Ray, also known as Lawrence Grecco, allegedly physically, sexually, and psychologically abused his victims starting in 2010, when he moved into his daughter's on-campus residence in Yonkers, New York, after being released from prison.
The 60-year-old Brooklyn native faces a slew of charges, including extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, and money laundering.
He was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in Piscataway, New Jersey, a spokesperson for the US Attorney's office told BuzzFeed News.
Ray's alleged sex trafficking cult was the subject of a New York magazine story in 2019 titled "The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence."
In a statement issued Tuesday, officials at Sarah Lawrence College said they launched an investigation into the allegations detailed in the 2019 article, but that "the investigation did not substantiate those specific claims."
School officials said they have not been contacted by investigators concerning the charges as of Tuesday.
"As always the safety and well-being of our students and alumni is a priority for the College," the statement reads. "We have not been contacted by the Southern District of New York, but will of course cooperate in their investigation to the full extent of the law if invited to do so."
According to the federal indictment, Ray presented himself as a father figure and indoctrinated his victims under the guise of "therapy sessions," through which he manipulated them into sharing intimate details about themselves and isolated many of them from their own parents.
As part of the abuse, prosecutors said Ray would make false accusations against the students of stealing, lying, damaging his property, and even poisoning him. When they denied the accusations, he would interrogate them for hours.
Using tactics such as sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, and physical abuse, Ray got at least seven of the victims to falsely confess to the accusations, the indictment said.
After they confessed to the crimes they hadn't committed, Ray allegedly extorted them for money and unpaid labor.
In at least one case, prosecutors said, Ray coerced one of the women students into repeatedly engaging in sex work to earn money for him.
Prior to becoming an alleged cult leader, Ray ran in powerful circles. He worked on Wall Street, despite not having a college degree, and co-owned a nightclub in New Jersey.
He was best man at the wedding of Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York Police Department commissioner who later went to prison for fraud — partially due to Ray's role in publicizing his wrongdoings, according to New York magazine.
“Larry Ray is a psychotic con man who has victimized every friend he’s ever had,” Kerik told the magazine. “It’s been close to 20 years since I last heard from him, yet his reign of terror continues.”