Sarah Lawrence Cult trial begins

There is no doubt that Mr Ray’s life, before moving to the Sarah Lawrence campus in Westchester County, had been unusual. It included an...


There is no doubt that Mr Ray’s life, before moving to the Sarah Lawrence campus in Westchester County, had been unusual. It included an episode in which he arranged a meeting between Rudolph W. Giuliani, then mayor of New York, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and claims to have worked at one point in Kosovo for a US intelligence agency.

He was friends in the 1990s with Bernard Kerik, the former New York City Police Commissioner, who helped him get a job with Interstate Industrial Corporation, a construction company known to have ties to organized crime.

Mr. Ray was charged in 2000 by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn with participating in a scheme in which mobsters and stockbrokers were accused of defrauding investors of $40 million. Around the same time, Mr. Ray cooperated with prosecutors investigating Mr. Kerik, who ended up pleading guilty to state and federal charges stemming from their ties to the Interstate.

In 2010, Mr Ray was released from New Jersey State Prison, where he had served time on charges related to a custody dispute. He then moved into a dorm where his daughter, Talia Ray, lived.

Mr. Ray, who was then 50, quickly became a dominating force in the dormitory, called Slonim Woods, according to prosecutors. He began offering what prosecutors called fake “therapy” sessions to his daughter’s friends and roommates, gaining insight into their lives and their vulnerabilities.

When these students fell under the influence of Mr. Ray, his behavior, as described in an indictment, became more aggressive. In the years that followed, Mr. Ray ran what prosecutors said was a criminal enterprise — a business that in many ways resembled a cult, with Mr. Ray serving as its authoritarian leader.

He allegedly used psychological manipulation to convince the students that they were “broken” and needed his “fixing”. Prosecutors said he indoctrinated students into his belief system; used threats and coercion to get them to confess to crimes they did not commit; and extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Sarah Lawrence Cult trial begins
Sarah Lawrence Cult trial begins
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