Sex, lies and manipulation: Here's how Lawrence Ray ran deviant cult from a college dorm

Lawrence Ray, who extorted money and forced girls to get into prostitution. faces life imprisonment.

A man from New Jersey was indicted by the US Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York over charges that he subjected his daughter's friends "to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse," while living in their dorm.

The authorities said that Lawrence Ray, or Lawrence Grecco, created several manipulative plans which have led to him being charged with sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, and trafficking, two counts of use of interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity and money laundering.

Ray was arrested in his New Jersey home Tuesday morning. The 60-year-old man lived with his daughter for a long time in the Sarah-Lawrence housing. According to the indictment the man was trying to charm his way through to the young adults living in the housing by holding therapy sessions that induced trauma in the young adults.

Lawrence Grecco
Lawrence Grecco YouTube Grab/ CBS

The man with a plan?

Out of the nine housemates in the Slonim Woods 9, Talia was Ray's daughter, who continued to claim that her father was a nice man and had worked with the government. She convinced her friends to let her father stay with them because he didn't have anywhere else to go after getting out of prison. She even told them that he was wrongfully sent to jail because of her mother.

The charges against Ray came after he moved into the housing around 10 years ago. His continuous interference in the students' lives by involving them in therapy sessions and other ordeals led to the unravelling of the truth about what happened inside the house since Talia's freshman year. By 2011 a number of students were under his control inside the dorm.

Ray or Larry, as he was called by the housemates, is said to have abused them mentally and physically by devising various methods that could be considered as a cult behavior. A detailed account of the incident was first revealed by a New York magazine in 2019.

Upon the indictment, the college authorities launched an internal investigation about the situation. But according to one of the housemate's parents they had talked about Ray's strange behavior and influence on the young adults inside the dorm room when their daughter was under his control. Back then the college had said that their hands were tied because the parents have visiting rights to the child's dorm room and they can stay with their children if they wish to.

Several missing links in the story

The reports and indictment show the mental abuse the housemates had to go through because of Ray. There were incidents where he had extorted money from the students using prostitution and other methods. He had also made them wire money to him through their parents' accounts by blackmailing them. He lived a lavish lifestyle even before he started extorting money from the children which suspicious to some of the students.

There were incidents when some of the students were forced to have sex with each other and people were invited to watch it. One such incident was recounted by Lee Chen to the Post where he was forced to watch two of the students have sex with each other.

Ray was taken to court on Tuesday afternoon. If convicted he can face life imprisonment for his actions. Authorities are asking other victims to come forward and talk about the abuse that they had faced because of Ray.