The one-time best man at former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik’s wedding was indicted Tuesday on federal charges of sex trafficking and extortion for the decade-long exploitation of a small cult of Sarah Lawrence College students.
The devious and predatory Lawrence Ray, 60, “subjected the victims to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” charged the 22-page Manhattan Federal Court indictment, adding that the defendant collected roughly $1 million from five victims of his lucrative scam.
Ray was arrested in his New Jersey home, where one of the defendant’s female victims was still there under his sway, officials said.
“At the core of Ray’s criminal conduct is his ability to psychologically control his young victims,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Ray ensnared many of his victims while they were teenagers, a time of particular vulnerability for the young people he preyed on.”In fact, Ray targeted his daughter’s Sarah Lawrence College roommates back in 2010 before bringing the naive students to live with him in an Upper East Side apartment where his dominance over the victims only grew, officials charged. Berman acknowledged the probe was launched in part by an April 2019 expose in New York magazine about Ray and his domineering relationship with the college kids.
The bizarre charges against the twisted defendant included allegations he threatened to dismember a young man in a dispute over damaged property and nearly suffocated a young woman forced into prostitution by placing a plastic bag over her head.
With Ray serving as the victim’s pimp, collecting roughly $500,000 of her earnings, the young woman was forced to work as a hooker for four years starting in 2014, officials said. Ray also saved explicit photos of the young woman as part of the extortion, and kept her working by threatening to turn her over to law enforcement, prosecutors charge.
“College is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and new-found independence,” said Berman. “But as alleged, the defendant exploited that vulnerable time in his victims’ lives, with a course of conduct that shocks the conscience.”
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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