Lawrence Ray
Photo by HONS/AP/SHUTTERSTOCK

Larry Ray’s Sinister Manipulations: A Web of Lies, Control, and Abuse

Larry Ray claimed to have a colorful past, boasting about his alleged involvement with the CIA and friendships with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, Ray also told enraptured students about a sinister conspiracy to silence him because of his knowledge about 9/11.

Ray particularly targeted Isabella Pollok, Talia’s best friend, building her confidence while grooming her to become completely dependent on him. “There’s almost a twinge of jealousy from some of the other roommates – ‘If that’s what Larry can do for Isabella, what can he do for me?’” explained Stephanie, another student.

Felicia Rosario, another of Ray’s victims, told People Magazine, “He was like a friend of a friend of a friend — cool, trustworthy, reliable.” She added, “It didn’t occur to me he would be the person he ended up being.” Ray convinced Felicia that he was targeted by a conspiracy and that all his new friends were potential targets too. Brainwashed by Ray’s expert grooming, she moved in with him in New York, only to discover that he had coerced the other girls into s*xual acts and used s*x tapes to blackmail them into further exploitation.

Ray manipulated his victims by diagnosing them with various personality disorders and convincing them they had been s*xually abused as children, despite no evidence. Another newcomer, Daniel, was coerced into having s*x with Isabella while Ray watched and even joined in, demonstrating his control over the students.

His manipulation deepened as he convinced the students they owed him money for “damages” to his property and other financial claims. One student testified in court that she gave Ray about $2.5 million in earnings from s*x work over four years.

According to prosecutors at his eventual trial, “Ray’s tactics included sleep deprivation, psychological and s*xual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, physical violence, threats of criminal legal action, alienating the victims from their families, and exploiting the victims’ mental health vulnerabilities.”

Claudia tried to break free, only for Ray to track her down and coerce her into making a bizarre “poisoning” confession, which he then emailed to students to humiliate her. The New York Post reported that she was tortured by Ray, who had forced her into prostitution for several hours. Ray and another conspirator reportedly stripped her, handcuffed her to a chair, and attempted to suffocate her with a plastic bag.

Claudia eventually became a key witness at his trial, which was sparked by New York Magazine’s exposé, “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence,” leading to an FBI investigation.

Ray was convicted of 15 criminal counts, including s*x trafficking, extortion, and racketeering conspiracy, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison in January. Despite protesting her innocence, Isabella was sentenced to four and a half years in prison as a co-conspirator.

Ray’s victims, most of whom have chosen to remain anonymous, are now left with the difficult task of rebuilding their shattered lives.

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