Who Is Larry Ray? The Dad Accused Of Running A Sex Cult In A Sarah Lawrence Dorm Room
The ex-con’s alleged grip on a group of Sarah Lawrence students is being likened to that of allegations made against R. Kelly and NXIVM.
Earlier this week, news broke about a father who moved into his daughter’s dorm room at Sarah Lawrence College and began exerting a powerful, dangerous influence over a group of her classmates.
An investigative report published in New York magazine claims that Lawrence “Larry” Ray, the 59-year-old father of Sarah Lawrence undergraduate Talia Ray, established a NXIVM-like “self-help” organization which he used to manipulate, assault, sexually abuse, and extract money from his mesmerized student admirers.
Some of the students reportedly under Ray’s sway say they attempted suicide. One woman said she turned to prostitution to pay he funds she believed she owed him. As the details continue to emerge in this bizarre saga, here are five essential facts about Larry Ray and the accusations being leveled against him.
Larry Ray Is A Convicted Swindler & Former Close Friend Of Fallen NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik
During the 1990s, Larry Ray was a high-stakes New York entrepreneur with ties to some of the richest and most powerful figures in the city. Ray even served as best man at the 1998 wedding of NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
In 2001, Ray got busted in a $41-million “pump-and-dump” stock scam. When he asked Kerik for help, the top cop reportedly turned a deaf ear.
After being convicted for conspiracy, Ray then played a key part in illuminating the financial improprieties that ultimately led to the ex-commissioner doing three years behind bars. [New York Post]
Ray Moved Into His Daughter’s Dorm Room After A 6-Month Jail Stint
In 2010, Ray had to serve a half-year in jail over a custody dispute with his ex-wife, during which he allegedly made abuse allegations against her that proved to be unfounded.
After getting sprung, Ray moved in to the student residence of his daughter Talia, a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Ray slept on an air mattress next to Talia’s bed.
Rather than raising eyebrows among the other college kids, Ray allegedly charmed Talia’s seven roommates. The 49-year-old reportedly cooked and cleaned, took the students on trips into Manhattan, and claimed he had worked as a death-defying CIA operative who once negotiated a cease-fire in Kosovo and could teach them military mind-control techniques.
In short order, Ray also moved his air mattress into the room of Isabella Pollok, Talia’s 19-year-old best friend.
As Ray’s hold on the roommates grew more intense, Talia told the others that Kerik and other high-ranking officials had locked up her dad as retaliation for bringing them to justice. She described Ray, above all, as a “truth-teller,” and her roommates, apparently, believed it — particularly after he started talking to them about his “Quest for Potential” program or, for short, “Q4P.” [New York magazine]
As A “Personal Improvement” Leader, Ray Took To “Counseling” The Students — With Some Disturbing Results
According to reports, Ray grilled one student each night in a “hot seat” to reach their “deep, personal truths” while the others watched. Afterward, Ray directed everyone to applaud the subject for making a “breakthrough.”
Claudia Drury, one of the roommates, posted an essay online, since removed, in which she wrote, “Instead of distancing himself, he kept listening to me. I felt no judgment or recoil from him for these things that I had hidden from everyone else. That was the first time in my life that anyone had listened to me… Larry always made it clear: He would never abandon any of us because of what other people said or thought. And he didn’t, even when it threatened to put him back in jail!”
In 2017, however, Drury posted a video in which she reportedly talks to Ray off-camera, claiming that three years earlier she conspired with his daughter Talia and Isabella Pollak to poison him, at the direction of Drury’s mother. “She told me to kill you,” Drury says.
Drury also goes on to claim that she repeatedly snuck vials of mercury, cyanide, and arsenic into Ray’s hospital room and that she put the poison in his food and on his doorknobs. At the end of the video, when Ray asks Drury why she is confessing to the apparent murder attempt now, she says, “So I can have access to you.”
At present, Drury is still sticking by the poisoning story at her personal website. She also claims that she once turned to prostitution to repay Ray money he said she owed him for damaging an apartment. [Daily Mail]
Allegations Against Ray Include Sexual Abuse, Humiliation & Demanding Money; Some Of The Students Say They Attempted Suicide
An ex-boyfriend of Talia said of Ray, “He controlled every aspect of our lives — when we ate, what we did, when we went to bed.” He added that any slight mistake, such as scratching a pan, was bombastically derided as “sabotage.”
The New York magazine story alleges that Ray pressured the students to have sex in front of him, and sometimes with him. The report also estimates that Ray received $200,000 from at least one of his acolytes, and demanded more from the others.
Ray reportedly kept his followers under control by convincing them of a vast government conspiracy headed up by the likes of Bernard Kerik and Rudolf Giuliani. He allegedly said, “It’s clear they want to kill us. They're arrogant, they're violent, they're terrible people."
One former devotee, Daniel Barban Levin, said that when he questioned his sexual orientation, Ray made him wear a dress and penetrate himself with a sex toy while the others mocked him. Levin also claims that Ray forced him to wear a “necklace” of aluminum foil balls around his genitals and that Ray once twisted the contraption so tight it cut off his circulation.
In regard to Ray’s sexual practices involving Isabella Pollok, Levin said, “I got so freaked out. There was no consent in that situation. Isabella may have seemed to be pursuing all of this, but her mind was being twisted by him.”
In total, it’s claimed 12 suicide attempts were made after being exposed to Ray’s “counseling.” Numerous QP4 participants say they have since sought therapy for escaped cult members. One ex-follower allegedly remains in hiding. [Inside Hook]
Larry Ray Remains Free & Denies Any & All Allegations Made Against Him
Then there’s the apartment on East 93rd Street, owned by Lee Chen, an old friend of Larry’s. There, Larry planned to personally guide the young adults through the difficulties of being a teenager https://t.co/iz1ZtdBqQ2 pic.twitter.com/eRcJaPFY1V— The Cut (@TheCut) April 29, 2019
Because the students involved with Ray were all of adult age, police say it is not easy to define any crimes that may have been committed. To date, the only post-Q4P legal action taken against Ray was an eviction in 2014. Ray countersued his landlord in that case and won.
Legal documents indicate that Ray, Talia, and Isabella Pollok were still living together in 2017. A more recent report, however, claims that Ray, Isabella, and an individual named Felicia Rosario are cohabitating in New Jersey and that Ray refers to both women as his “wives.”
In regard to the new report, Bernard Kerik told New York magazine, “Larry Ray is a psychotic con man who has victimized every friend he’s ever had. It’s been close to 20 years since I last heard from him, yet his reign of terror continues.
Ray, in response, reportedly said, “My intentions are honorable intentions.” [Popdust]