A federal judge in Manhattan returned the verdict against Lawrence Ray for the psychological abuse and physical torture he subjected his victims to.
Jan. 20 (News) — A man who abused several students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York for more than a decade was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Friday.
Ray, 63, was found guilty in April of 15 counts, including sex trafficking, forced labour, tax evasion and extortion, and faces a minimum of 15 years in prison. The jury returned a guilty verdict within four hours.
His attorney had favored the minimum sentence, but Justice Lewis Liman on Friday called the crimes “particularly heinous” and branded Ray an “evil genius.”
Federal prosecutors advocated sending Ray to prison for the rest of his life.
“It was sadism, plain and simple,” said the judge on Friday at the verdict.
“There is no reason to believe that criminal behavior would cause Mr. Ray to age.”
Ray’s victims attended the small liberal arts college in Westchester County, NY
He met her through his daughter, who also went to school.
Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm room on campus, where he befriended his victims before extorting sex and money from them while posing as a father figure to unknowing fellow students.
Ray went so far as to force several victims into prostitution and to blackmail them, recording intimate details of their lives to use against them.
“[He] stripped me naked, tied me to a chair and repeatedly choked me with a plastic bag until I begged for my life,” victim Claudia Drury told the court in a statement on victim influence.
During the trial, Drury explained how Ray had forced her into prostitution for years. She said she made around $2.5 million, which she gave to Ray.
“My boyfriend’s father moved into my dorm and years of abuse ensued — psychologically, physically, sexually,” another victim, Dan Levin, told the court.
“I can never live a life where that hasn’t happened.”