Sarah Lawrence dad accused of running a sex cult out of daughter's dorm room denied bailcloseVideo
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The Sarah Lawrence father accused of forcing women he met in his daughter's dormitory into hard labor and years of prostitution was in bed with one of his alleged victims when he was arrested last month, prosecutors said.
Ex-convict Lawrence Ray was denied bail Monday in New York.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon claimed in court that Ray — who has a long history of failing to obey court orders, tampering with witnesses and at one point using his daughter as a human shield — should not be granted bail.
Ray described the woman he was in bed with when authorities arrested him as his wife, though prosecutors said she was one of his victims.
ELECTRONICS SEIZED FROM HOME OF SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE DAD ACCUSED OF RUNNING SEX CULT OUT OF DAUGHTER'S DORM ROOM
The shocking events surrounding Ray's apprehension at times seemed more fiction than fact when brought to light.
The 60-year-old New Jersey man pocketed more than $1.7 million in 2017 and 2018 from the proceeds of a victim whom he forced to work as a prostitute, Sassoon said.
Ray is also accused of torturing women he lived with, at times keeping a lock on the refrigerator door to restrict their access to food.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman points to a photo showing Lawrence Ray during a news conference, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. Ray, an ex-convict known for his role in a scandal involving former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, was charged Tuesday with federal extortion and sex trafficking charges involving a group of students at Sarah Lawrence College. (AP)
Ray was arrested last month on charges that he used "physical, sexual and psychological abuse" to extort money from five different students at Sarah Lawrence College, a private liberal arts school outside New York City.
Authorities said he convinced them they were indebted to him, subjecting them to grueling hours-long interrogations that included sexual exploitation and humiliation as he deprived them of basic necessities like food and sleep.
"He essentially broke their spirit," Sassoon said.
SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE DAD ARRESTED FOR RUNNING SEX CULT OUT OF DAUGHTER'S DORM ROOM, POLICE SAY
Of his victims, two were living with him when Ray was arrested.
Prosecutors also said he "sexually groomed" one woman, getting her to have sex with various men while he filmed the encounters. Sassoon said he had sex with multiple victims himself. She added that Ray tried to shield himself from investigators by keeping cash in bank accounts under the names of his victims or in a backpack he carried around.
Ray, who was the best man at the wedding of former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, has been charged with sex trafficking and extortion. If convicted, he could face a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison on the sex trafficking charge alone. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Shortly following his arrest, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Ray had also mentally and physically abused his male victims.
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"Ray put a knife to one male victim's throat, brandished a knife and threatened to dismember another male victim, grabbed a third male victim around the neck until he passed out, slapped a female victim and grabbed another female victim by her head before shoving her to the ground," Berman said. "After enduring Ray's abuse, seven of his victims falsely confessed to having harmed or attempted to harm Ray. Ray, who sometimes recorded these false confessions, then used these false confessions to extort money from his victims."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.