Larry Ray is going to prison, perhaps for life, after a New York jury convicted him on 15 counts all related to the exploitation and extortion of his daughter’s friends. Ray managed to convince his daughter to allow him to move into the dorms shortly after he was released from prison on a securities fraud conviction.
Ray managed to convince one victim that she had poisoned him and owed him reparations. The woman paid between $10,000 and $50,000 per week to make amends, at one point even performing sex work to make payments. Another woman revealed that her life was turned upside down when she met Ray. She was on track to become a medical doctor when she became romantically involved with him. He would often ask her to have sex with other men while he videotaped it.
The entire scheme appears to have hinged on Ray using a Svengali-like ability to manipulate those around him. Ray was able to convince several students that they had poisoned him after he agreed to let them stay at his apartment. To make amends, they did as Ray asked, including giving him a lot of money, performing yard work, and more.
The abusive scenario continued for nearly a decade until 2018 when he tied one of his victims to a chair naked and berated her. The woman had given Ray the proceeds from her sex work job which she only took because she believed that she had poisoned him.
Understanding Cult Situations
This is certainly a cult situation. Cult leaders can be very difficult to prosecute, but they usually make at least one mistake. Since they are used to being the only powerful person in their social circle, cult leaders tend to overestimate their ability to manipulate the unwilling. Eventually, they cross a line and the very people that were in their thrall end up turning on them. In this case, four former cult members provided testimony against Ray sealing his conviction. It can be very difficult for prosecutors to secure that testimony until the cult leader has crossed a line. That means that something terrible needs to happen before anyone steps in.
In this case, the criminal act was actually fraud. Ray convinced the students that they had caused him an injury and he deserved their compassion, obedience, plus damages. That was a lie that was told so that he could financially exploit them and control them. Among the charges that Ray was convicted of, sex trafficking is the most serious. The charge carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years.
By the time anyone realized they were being exploited, Ray had forced them to provide videotaped confessions that he used as leverage against them. The students were convinced that Ray was powerful and connected, but also had powerful enemies that had lined up against him. So, like most cult leaders, he used violence and fear to produce loyalty.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing serious criminal charges in the Chicago area, call the criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.