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Crime News Cults

Here's What Sarah Lawrence Has Said About The Cult That Originated On Their Campus

After Larry Ray started living in his daughter's dorm at Sarah Lawrence, he was able to form a predatory connection with some of the students he met there.

By Becca van Sambeck
Executive Producers Of Peacock’s ‘Sex, Lies And The College Cult’ On Sarah Lawrence Cult Leader Larry Ray

How did Larry Ray ensnare a group of students into what authorities allege was a cult?

That's the question explored in the new Peacock documentary "Sex, Lies And The College Cult," streaming now. Larry Ray first met a group of young people while staying with his daughter in her dorm room at Sarah Lawrence College, a private liberal arts college in Bronxville, New York. Over the years, according to prosecutors, he would manipulate them and gain psychological, emotional and financial control of many of them. Ray was convicted earlier this year of 15 federal counts, including extortion, sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy.

While the crimes Ray was convicted of happened off-campus, Ray was able to meet the victims while sleeping in a Sarah Lawrence dorm. So, what has the college had to say about this disturbing incident?

RELATED: Lawrence Ray, Man Who Moved Into Daughter's Sarah Lawrence Dorm, Convicted Of Exploiting Her College Friends

In one of the earliest articles about the Ray case, published in The Cut in 2019, Sarah Lawrence told the outlet it "had no record that Larry Ray lived on campus at any time." After Ray's indictment in February 2020, the school's president, Cristle Collins Judd, responded with a more detailed statement on the school's website, saying the news "raises serious and troubling questions of how student members of our community first apparently came under his influence in 2010 and what interventions might have been possible."

"From the indictment, it appears that for some part of the fall semester in 2010, this parent stayed in his daughter’s on-campus apartment, in a clear violation of the College’s written policy on campus visits. The question, How could the College not know this?, has been asked by many, including myself. We are a small college, and while it is not unreasonable to expect that we will know when something is happening on our campus, in fact College officials at the time didn’t know," Collins Judd wrote, emphasizing "no reports about this parent’s presence on campus during that semester, formal or informal, were lodged by students sharing that small living space, by their student neighbors, or by anyone else."

An exterior view of Sarah Lawrence College

Collins Judd went on to note that "the acts charged in the indictment allegedly started in 2011—after Ray had stayed with his daughter; they spanned nearly a decade and are not alleged to have taken place on the Sarah Lawrence campus. That makes the acts as alleged no less horrific, nor our heartache for the victims of those misdeeds any less deep, but it is important to reiterate that the crimes for which this man has been indicted did not occur at Sarah Lawrence, even though he appears to have met certain of his victims while they were students here."

She also explained the school has current policies and protections in place to help prevent a situation like the Larry Ray one from happening again, writing, "We continue important conversations about campus safety and support for all our students; we regularly review our policies to enhance their efficacy, and regularly provide training and information to insure that our students and community members are aware of the policies, the support systems and the available resources."

To learn more about this case, watch "Sex, Lies And The College Cult," streaming now on Peacock.