‘Sex cult’ abuser Larry Ray guilty on all counts
Serial manipulator, extortionist, pimp and torturer Larry Ray was found guilty on all 17 counts of racketeering and sex trafficking after a 16-day trial that ended Tuesday afternoon. He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison, but could be sentenced to life behind bars.
The prosecution relied on graphic testimony from Ray’s victims and former members of his household to cast him as a manipulative tyrant who “completely subdued” his victims with an array of cultlike tactics including torture, sexual abuse, blackmail, violence and threats.
The trial, which began March 10, was the culmination of years of prosecutorial effort ignited by a 2020 article in New York Magazine exposing Ray’s abusive and criminal mistreatment of those who came under his influence, joining a toxic environment that reports have dubbed a “sex cult.”
The prosecution argued that through “extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, obstruction of justice, financial crimes,” he bled his college-age victims of millions of dollars. The defense unsuccessfully argued that the several eyewitnesses lacked credibility and were driven by ulterior motives and animus toward the defendant.
His scheme began in 2010 when he moved in with his daughter, Talia, then a student at Sarah Lawrence, a prestigious liberal arts college in New York State. He is said to have charmed her friends with his strength of personality and purported connections to elite circles and overseas adventure. But over the years, he exploited and victimized these college-age admirers and others who fell into his orbit.
He forced one such young person, Claudia Drury, into prostitution. Testifying for the defense in late March, Drury said she was paid for sex seven days per week for about five years, enriching Ray by millions of dollars. She also spoke of enduring hours of torture at the hands of Ray and his accused co-conspirator, Isabella Pollok, by means of suffocation, physical restraint and extreme cold.
Ray was indicted in 2020 and jailed at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, where he now awaits sentencing. Pollok is to be tried later this year in a separate trial. Talia Ray, now 29, has been named as a co-conspirator but remains unindicted.