How a dad moved into his daughter’s dorm at Sarah Lawrence College and turned it into his own cult

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When 20-year-old Talia Ray told her college roommates that her father needed to stay in their dorm for a while, they welcomed him with open arms.

They had no idea they were about to fall victim to an “evil genius” who planned to ensnare them in a cult that would take years to escape.

In September 2010, Larry Ray left the New Jersey prison where he’d been incarcerated for violating a child custody agreement and moved straight into the dorm at Sarah Lawrence College.

The elite private university just outside New York City required everyone to register guests before letting them stay over.

But students at the school, which encourages “academic risk-taking”, spurns exams and grades, and counts Yoko Ono and Carrie Fisher among its graduates, weren’t exactly sticklers for the rules.

From the moment he set up an inflatable mattress on Talia’s floor, Ray started to cast his spell on her six roommates.

Talia adored her father, telling her friends that he’d been framed and wrongfully convicted for trying to save her from an abusive mother.

He made them lavish dinners, dispensed life advice and regaled them with wild stories about his past as a CIA operative.

“He met a group of friends who had their whole lives ahead of them,” said Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“For the next decade, he used violence, threats, and psychological abuse to try to control and destroy their lives. He exploited them. He terrorised them. He tortured them.”

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1 comment

  1. Perhaps one of the most disturbing facts is that a Sarah Lawrence College dorm was the place Larry Ray chose to start his cult recruitment scheme. How did the school respond?

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