On Tuesday, a federal indictment was released detailing how Lawrence Ray (also known as Lawrence Grecco) physically, sexually, and psychologically abused students on the campus. Per BuzzFeed, the 60-year-old Brooklyn native moved into his daughter's residence on the campus in Yonkers, New York after being released from prison.
According to the indictment, Ray would present himself as a father figure to these young women. He would offer them "therapy sessions" where he would get them to share details about their life. He would then use this information to isolate them from their parents and bring them into his world of abuse.
Ray would then accuse them of things like lying to him, damaging his property, and/or stealing. He'd use sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, and physical abuse to get them to admit to things they hadn't done. These confessions were used against the women so Ray could extort them for money. If they didn't have money, Ray would make them find ways to get earn it. On at least one occasion, he forced a victim to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money.
Ray's alleged cult began in 2010. In 2019, the New York Times did a profile on Ray's alleged organization titled "The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence." In a statement released on Tuesday, school officials claimed they conducted an investigation after the Times piece but "the investigation did not substantiate those specific claims." The school also stated that it has not been contacted by authorities regarding this arrest.
"As always the safety and well-being of our students and alumni is a priority for the College," the statement reads. "We have not been contacted by the Southern District of New York, but will of course cooperate in their investigation to the full extent of the law if invited to do so."
Ray was arrested on Tuesday at his home in Piscataway, New Jersey. He's been hit with an onslaught of charges including extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, and money laundering.