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Alleged 'Lieutenant' Of Sarah Lawrence Sex Trafficker Larry Ray Says She Was Also A Victim
Isabella Pollok, who pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy in the Sarah Lawrence University sex trafficking case in which Larry Ray was convicted by a jury, claimed in court documents before sentencing that she was also a victim of his.
The soon-to-sentenced co-conspirator of convicted sex-trafficker Larry Ray insists that she, too, was “brainwashed” by the jailed predator, according to court documents.
Lawyers for Isabella Pollok, the former Sarah Lawrence College student who’s been described as a top “lieutenant” in Ray’s sex-trafficking scheme at the college more than a decade ago, claimed in letters to the case’s judge and prosecutors that she was a victim of Ray’s “cult."
Pollok pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy in September after initially pleading not guilty. The 31-year-old ultimately admitted that she aided Ray in sexually trafficking former friend and roommate, Claudia Drury, as well as laundering her millions of dollars in earnings.
Larry Ray allegedly recruited Pollok after moving onto Sarah Lawrence’s campus in 2010. The convicted sex criminal had sought to enlist Pollok “to join the criminal scheme and to work on behalf of the [e]nterprise,” investigators wrote in court documents.
Pollok now faces a maximum of five years behind bars and a $250,000 fine, per her plea agreement.
Larry Ray was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, a violent crime in aid of racketeering, extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, tax evasion and money laundering offenses last April following a four-week trial.
Pollok’s lawyers, David B. Bertan and Jill R. Shellow, say their client was extensively manipulated, groomed and coerced by Larry Ray from the moment he entered her orbit, in a 10-page letter to a federal judge before her sentencing this month.
“This prosecution reveals four phases of Isabella Pollok’s life: There is the damaged, lonely Sarah Lawrence College freshman,” they wrote in a letter cited by Law&Crime.
“There is the awed protégé. There is the broken automaton. And now there is the Isabella who is before Your Honor prepared to be sentenced," they added. "If it were not for Lawrence Ray’s presence at Sarah Lawrence, Isabella would not be here. She does not deserve to go to jail.”
Pollok also addressed prosecutors and the case’s judge directly in separate court letters.
“When I started at Sarah Lawrence College in 2009, I saw it as opportunity to escape all the hardships in my life,” Pollok wrote to federal prosecutors.
Many segments of Pollok’s letter, which had focused on alleged trauma she’d endured as a child, were redacted. Her legal team, however, described that period of her Pollok’s life as one of “abuse and neglect.”
“I felt I was sinking into the quicksand of what would have mirrored my parents and my brother, addicts with no direction,” she also described in her letter to prosecutors.
Pollok’s appeal to U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman struck a similar tone.
“For the longest time I believed that at 19 years old, I was an adult and therefore in complete control of my mindset,” Pollok wrtote. “Attending Sarah Lawrence was my way of trying to run away from traumas that I experienced in my childhood.”
Some of Pollok’s family members have also long-maintained she was also coerced, groomed and “brainwashed” by Ray in part because, at the time, she was a close friend of Larry Ray’s daughter, Talia.
“Talia was good to me, I trusted her and her trust in him was enough,” Pollok’s letter added. “At that point in time, he did save my life. There is no question that I wanted to make my family suffer for the way they made me suffer and the only way I believed I could do it was to commit suicide back in Texas during Christmas break.”
During Pollok’s time with Ray, the pair — who were engaged in a romantic relationship — lived off campus at multiple addresses around New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.
“Ray’s manipulation of Isabella was different in kind from the other student-victims because, among other things, he had made her his lover,” Pollok’s lawyers also wrote in recent court letters. “But she was no less a victim.”
Pollok is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 22.