Student’s parent charged with sex trafficking, forced labor at Sarah Lawrence College

first_imgStephanie Keith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A 60-year-old man has been accused of targeting students at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, and subjecting them “to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” according to an indictment released Tuesday.Lawrence Ray was charged with sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor and other offenses regarding his alleged criminal actions, some of which he went on with for nearly a decade, according to the indictment from federal prosecutors in Manhattan.He is believed to have laundered about $1 million from his victims, most of whom were teens and young adults that participated in so-called therapy sessions he put on to purportedly help with psychological problems, prosecutors said.Sarah Lawrence College did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.Ray’s alleged criminal activity started through the so-called therapy sessions, which he ran after he was released from a prison sentence for security fraud and moved into on-campus housing at the liberal arts school with his daughter and her roommates. The group eventually moved into a one-bedroom apartment on East 93rd Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.Ray presented himself as a father figure to the students and learned “intimate details about their private lives, vulnerabilities, and mental health struggles under the pretense of helping them” during the sessions, according to the indictment.Yet he then alienated them from their parents and convinced several that they were “broken” and “in need of fixing by Ray,” the indictment claimed.He also made up lies about them, and, when they denied it, would subject them to interrogations that included “sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, physical violence, and threats of criminal legal action” — actions that then garnered false confessions, according to the indictment.Ray videotaped the false confessions from at least seven victims and used them to extort money, unpaid labor and forced prostitution, according to the indictment.If the students couldn’t pay, the indictment claimed, Ray ordered them to drain hundreds of thousands of dollars out of their parents’ savings accounts, open lines of credit, engage in real estate fraud and in one case earn money through prostitution.He also allegedly took explicit photographs of some of the students.Ray was the subject of a lengthy 2019 profile in New York Magazine’s The Cut, which detailed his dealings with the Sarah Lawrence College students. The piece was titled “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence: What happened to the group of bright college students who fell under the sway of a classmate’s father?”Ray did not talk to the outlet about parts of his past because he said they were either “classified” or would “endanger other people.”He denied mostly all the accusations in The Cut article, but did admit to taking money from one of his alleged victims that she earned through escorting.“We know what is and is not. We know what’s truth and what’s wrong,” he told the outlet.It was not immediately clear if Ray had obtained legal representation.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Wall of hate

first_imgTo the Editor:Building a border wall along the southern border would hurt the image of the Unites States. The proposed border wall would be viewed as a symbol of hate and discrimination throughout the world. Supporters of the border wall cite the potential migration of criminals, drug traffickers, and terrorists as their primary reasons for building the wall. However, the wall would not stop terrorists from finding alternative routes to enter the country. Additionally, criminality is not exclusive to Mexicans and Central Americans. Further, the wall would provide little deterrence to drug smugglers intent on bringing drugs into the United States since trucks transporting legal goods across the border could easily hide and conceal illicit drugs in secret compartments.Although there were talks of building a border wall with previous Presidential Administrations, President Trump has reignited talks for a border wall just when it seemed the United States was weaning off this divisive rhetoric. The United States was returning to its roots of welcoming all immigrants until President Trump won the GOP nomination and eventual Presidency of the United States.President Trump is intent on rewriting American history and turning the dreams and hopes of future migrants into desperate pleas for acceptance. Throughout President Trump’s campaign he spoke to a segment of White America in a language that created a cult-like following. Particularly, President Trump spoke to White Supremacists, whose primary reason for existence is to create walls between themselves and anyone who does not wear their skin color. Trumps’ attacks on a Mexican judge and a Latin American beauty pageant contestant reinforced his image as a Hispanic hate monger and were motivated by his disdain for their ethnicity.Trump built his support by dividing the country, pitting White America against reasonable and compassionate Americans. The wall would be a reward for his polarizing supporters and fuel their appetite for hate. The confederate flag represents a symbol of slavery and White Supremacy. In 1860, seven Southern states decided to secede from the Union and form the Confederate States of America. Later, four states would join them. They were fighting to defend their right to continue to enslave 3.5 million African slaves. As the Confederate Army fought for continued enslavement, they battled under the Confederate Flag. Today, Black Americans still cringe at the sight of the Confederate flag because the flag reminds them of the pains of slavery. The Confederate flag has evolved into a symbol of hate for White Supremacists.The Trump Border Wall would follow a similar fate since the underlying motivations for both symbols are the hate of another group of people. The swastika is one of the most recognized symbols of hate in the world. The swastika is viewed as Anti-Semitic and is another favorite symbol of hate for White Supremacists. The sight of a swastika brings great pain to the Jewish people and offends many people throughout the world. Although, in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, swastika means “well-being,” its association with the horrors of the Holocaust will never escape the minds of Jews throughout the world. Freddie Knoller, a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor, stated, “For the Jewish people the swastika is a symbol of fear, of suppression, and of extermination. It’s a symbol that we will never ever be able to change. If they put the swastika on gravestones or synagogues, it puts a fear into us. Surely it shouldn’t happen again.”Although there are concerns related to monitoring our border, building the wall is not a viable option. We must not allow Trump to erect a symbol of hate. President Trump and his supporters hide behind hollow reasons to camouflage their hate. Trump must not be allowed to misrepresent this country’s values and cause additional pain to groups of people seeking nothing more than the American Dream. Let’s continue to welcome migrants with open arms and open borders. PATRICK J. OAKLEYColumbia University Studentlast_img read more