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The “main clients” of a woman prosecutors say was forced into sex work by alleged cult leader Lawrence Ray were accidentally released by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office this week during Ray’s ongoing federal trial.
The list of clients, which was supposed to be under seal, was mistakenly uploaded to a public file sharing system on Monday night before it was quickly taken down, according to The New York Post.
After acknowledging the mistake, authorities urged the media not to share the list, which had been created in 2018 by Claudia Drury, a woman authorities say was forced to prostitute herself and then turn the estimated $2.5 million she earned over to Ray as payment for alleged wrongs he claimed she had committed against him.
Drury had been testifying Tuesday about the years of abuse she said she endured at the hands of Ray when he suddenly became ill and had to be rushed to the hospital for the second time in a week, postponing the trial yet again.
Before Ray was wheeled out of the courtroom on a stretcher, Drury testified that Ray used threats, intimidation, humiliation and violence to control a small group of college students after moving into his daughter’s Sarah Lawrence College dorm room in 2010.
“He slapped me in the face so hard I fell over, pulled my hair, strangled me, suffocated me, hit me,” she said, according to CBS News. “He threatened to put me in jail numerous times. He threatened to kill me on a memorable occasion. He threatened to cut my face, have me abducted and dropped in the Middle East.”
Drury said Ray’s threats of violence also extended to her family, threatening to blackmail people she knew or threatening to beat up her father.
Drury—like other members of group known as “The Ray Family”—said Ray forced her to record bogus confessions on video, falsely admitting to trying to poison him or damage his property.
Prosecutors have said Ray then used the tapes to extort money from his victims.
In Drury’s case, she testified that she was forced to hand over the “extreme majority” of money she earned working as a prostitute, according to The New York Daily News.
She turned to the sex work in 2015 in an attempt to get money to pay off debts she believed she owed Ray at the time.
“I wanted to repair what I believed I had done to Larry,” she testified. “But the extent to which I became a prostitute and the amount of people I saw … it was because I felt immense pressure from Larry to get money for him.”
She made the gradual move to sex work after noticing that Ray always seemed pleased when she talked to him about her sexual experiences. Ray and his alleged “lieutenant” and enforcer Isabella Pollok—who is facing her own set of charges—allegedly encouraged Drury to have sex with random strangers, once telling her to have sex with her taxi driver rather than paying the fare, she said, according to The New York Post.
Pollok has denied the allegations against her.
Drury testified that she began working at a sex club where she participated in violent BDSM sexual encounters with the club’s manager. In one particularly brutal episode, she said she had been hit with a 2-by-4.
She later transitioned to working at an escort service before eventually advertising her own services in online ads.
While she initially charged her clients $250 an hour, she later raised the rates to as much as $2,000 an hour, seeing as many as seven clients in a day, according to her testimony. The majority of the money was then handed over to Ray, she said, according to CBS News.
Drury testified that she felt pressured by Ray to continue the sex work, while living in high-class Manhattan hotels or traveling to various cities to meet an elite list of clients.
Drury once tried to tell Ray she believed the work was impacting her health, confessing that she believed she was developing bulimia, but she said Ray just accused her of “trying to sabotage making money.”
Ray, now 62, is facing a series of charges against him including sex trafficking and extortion. He's pleaded not guilty in the case.
If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
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