A former convict is accused of running a sex cult and sexually abusing students in the Hudson Valley.

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On Tuesday, an indictment was unsealed charging Lawrence Ray aka “Lawrence Grecco,” 60, of New Jersey with multiple offenses, including extortion, sex trafficking and forced labor.

As alleged in the indictment, Ray used physical and psychological threats and coercion to indoctrinate and exploit a group of college students in Westchester County as well as other victims.

In 2010, Ray was released from prison and moved into his daughter's dorm room at Sarah Lawrence College, The Cut reports. He then began targeting her daughter's college friends.

Ray extorted approximately $1 million from at least five victims; forced certain victims to perform unpaid labor; and caused, through force, fraud, and coercion, at least one victim to engage in commercial sex acts, officials say.

He laundered the proceeds of his crimes through an internet domain business. Ray committed the alleged offenses in locations including Westchester County, across New York State and in North Carolina.

“As alleged, for nearly a decade, Lawrence Ray exploited and abused young women and men emotionally, physically, and sexually for his own financial gain," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. "College is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and new-found independence. But as alleged, Lawrence Ray exploited that vulnerable time in his victims’ lives through a course of conduct that shocks the conscience. Through his manipulative interrogation sessions, Ray made his victims confess to alleged wrongdoing and then compelled them to repay Ray alleged damages owed to him, through payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars, or worse, forced labor and sex trafficking. We hope that today’s charges bring some measure of comfort to the victims and their families. We thank the FBI and the NYPD for their extraordinary work on this case.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment:

  • From in or about 2010 through the 2020, Ray subjected a group of college students and other victims to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse.
  • Tactics included sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, physical violence, threats of criminal legal action, alienating the victims from their families, and exploiting the victims’ mental health vulnerabilities.
  • Through this manipulation and abuse, Ray extracted false confessions from the victims to causing purported damages to RAY and his family and associates and then extorted payment for those purported damages through several means.
  • The victims made payments to Ray by draining their parents’ savings, opening credit lines, soliciting contributions from acquaintances, selling real estate ownership, and at RAY’s direction, performing unpaid labor for RAY and earning money through prostitution.
  • As alleged, through fear, violence, and coercion, Ray forced one female victim to engage in commercial sex acts to pay damages to RAY that she did not actually owe.
  • Beginning when she was just a college student, Ray sexually groomed this victim and collected sexually explicit photographs and other personal information which he then used to coerce her into continued commercial sex acts.
  • Ray was charged conspiracy to commit extortion, extortion, sex trafficking, obtaining forced labor, forced labor trafficking, conspiracy to obtain forced labor, two counts of violating the travel act and money laundering.

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