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Larry Ray Will Spend 60 Years in Prison for ‘Acts of Unspeakable Cruelty’ in Sarah Lawrence College Sex Trafficking Case

Larry Ray over blue

Larry Ray in a Sarah Lawrence College T-shirt.

Convicted sex trafficker Lawrence “Larry” Ray will go to prison for 60 years for “acts of unspeakable cruelty” toward his daughter’s Sarah Lawrence College roommates and others, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

It’s effectively a life sentence for the 63-year-old man.

“His crimes are particularly heinous,” U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman said on Friday, adding that Ray used “psychological terror and manipulation.”

Along with the psychological terror came physical abuse, the judge noted.

“After gaining control of their minds and bodies, he extorted them to do his bidding,” Liman continued. “They had to keep paying him. They had to remain his slaves.”

In the autumn of 2010, the Sarah Lawrence father had just gotten out of jail on unrelated charges related to a child custody battle over his daughter, Talia Ray. Inviting her father to visit their communal dorm, Talia Ray introduced him to several of the roommates: including Daniel Levin, Isabella PollokClaudia Drury, and Santos Rosario, among others.

What followed, after Ray ingratiated himself into their lives, was a campaign of horrific physical, financial, and sexual exploitation, the jury found.

Two of the victims, Rosario and Levin, delivered statements in person. One, Drury, delivered remarks to the court through a representative.

“The experience that I had while being sex trafficked haunt me today,” Drury’s statement said. “I feel profoundly violated in a way that I cannot fully communicate.”

Levin, who wrote a memoir of his experiences titled “Slonim Wood 9,” cried as he recounted the horrors to which Ray subjected him, including hitting his ribs with a sledgehammer, pulling his tongue with pliers, squeezing his testicles with a garrote and forcing a giant dildo in his mouth.

From now on, Levin said: “All my hope will be tinged with fear.”

Santos Rosario, Dan Levin and Claudia Drury

Ray’s victims Santos Rosario, Dan Levin and Claudia Drury. (Photo via DOJ)

During the trial, Santos Rosario testified that Ray held a knife to his genitals, and that Ray’s abuse led the then-young student to attempt suicide.

“I became convinced that I was unsafe to be around,” Rosario told the court on Friday. “He took 10 years of my life away from me.”

Santos Rosario introduced both of his siblings, Felicia and Yalitza Rosario, to Ray, and both eventually joined the group. All three were present in the courtroom, though only Santos Rosario delivered a statement.

Judge Liman praised the courage of Ray’s victims.

“In a case, this trial speaks volumes about the resiliency of the human spirit,” Liman said.

Ray appeared expressionless as he looked at the victims from behind as they shared their stories.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mollie Bracewell called for the toughest punishment available for Ray’s “unspeakable cruelty.”

“Anything less than life is simply inadequate,” the prosecutor said.

The government and the victims described Ray as remorseless, and Ray himself spoke only about his own pain in his remarks to the court.

“I had COVID twice and been in pain all the time,” the 63-year-old said. “My health conditions have been getting progressively worse.”

Ray, dressed in beige prison garb, complained about jailhouse lockdowns, roaches and rodents inside the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Both during the trial and in other public forums, The Sarah Lawrence students gave similar accounts of how Larry Ray won their trust. He would dazzle them with tales of his ties to powerful people, claiming to work in U.S. intelligence and boasting of his ties to many including former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ex-New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Those days of power and influence are over, and his attorney Marne Lenox noted that she cannot even refer the court to people supporting her client.

“Today, there’s no one,” Lenox said.

In her written briefs, Lenox blamed Ray’s actions on his alleged childhood traumas. Prosecutors call Ray’s claims of childhood physical and sexual abuse uncorroborated, but Lenox said that they were not stories that Ray “concocted” to win leniency. The defense attorney also pointed to the cases of disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly and Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, which involved the sexual abuse of minors — and where the defendant did not get a life sentence.

Though young adults at the time, none of Ray’s victims were minors, Lenox noted.

Though those crimes were horrible, the judge noted, Ray’s involved a particularly “evil genius.”

Some of Ray’s backstory, prosecutors say, was embellished, like his claims to have contributed to the end of the Kosovo War. Other claims from Ray had a grain of truth: He was connected to, and was photographed with, Gorbachev, Giuliani and Kerik. After depicting himself to the students as a worldly, intelligent, and charming individual, Ray would insinuate himself into their lives as an advisor and guru.

Then, prosecutors say, he would shift gears into a years-long campaign of “heinous” abuse. He would also force one of his victims, Drury, into prostitution for four years, keeping more than $2 million of her earnings.

Claudia Drury photo

Claudia Drury (Photo via DOJ)

In harrowing testimony, Drury said that Ray tried to keep her in line through horrific abuse at the Gregory Hotel in Manhattan in October 2018. She said he stripped her naked, bound her to a chair, smothered her with a pillow, choked her with a leash, and poured water over her head next to an air conditioner. Prosecutors called the incident the “long night of torture.”

“My soul was completely depleted,” Drury said, adding that she felt “catatonic” at times with clients. “It was a tangible feeling.”

Also with Ray and Drury in the room was Pollok, who created an audio recording of the abuse.

Prosecutors described Pollok as Ray’s “lieutenant,” and she eventually pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ray to sexually traffic Drury and launder her money.

In April 2022, a federal jury quickly convicted Larry Ray on all charges of his 15-count indictment, including racketeering, sex trafficking, money laundering, tax fraud and other offenses.

Prosecutors want the judge to order Ray to pay his victims more than $5.5 million in restitution, more than $761,000 in unpaid federal taxes, and other financial penalties.

Judge Liman, a Donald Trump appointee, set a separate hearing to determine the appropriate amount.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."