NJ Man Charged With Abusing, Extorting College Students

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The father of a former Sarah Lawrence College undergraduate created a cultlike group with his daughter’s classmates, abusing them for a decade, federal authorities charged, the Wall Street Journal reports. Beginning in 2010, Lawrence Ray befriended the students, laying the groundwork to exploit them, said the FBI and prosecutors. He moved into their campus housing, directed them to drain hundreds of thousands of dollars from their parents’ savings accounts and extorted $1 million from at least five victims, authorities said. Ray, 60, was indicted on nine counts and arrested Tuesday in Piscataway, N.J. One of his daughter’s roommates as well as a victim of his alleged scheme were in his house when he was arrested.

Ray was indicted in Brooklyn federal court in 2000 in a securities-fraud scheme and served prison time for violating terms of probation. Ray “exploited and abused young women and men emotionally, physically and sexually for his own financial gain,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. Ray subjected the young women and men to grueling hours-long interrogations that included sleep and food deprivation, Berman said. The goal was to coerce them into confessing to harming or attempting to harm Ray. At least seven victims made such confessions, Berman said. The investigation of Ray was prompted by an article in New York magazine last year titled “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence.”

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