‘Stolen Youth,’ Hulu’s Sarah Lawrence Sex Cult Doc, Stands Apart From the Worst of True Crime

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The case of the Sarah Lawrence College cult is peak true-crime fodder, to the point where it’s gotten two separate docuseries in the past five months. The version of the story as told by Peacock’s salacious September release Sex, Lies, and the College Cult was especially tantalizing: a bunch of college co-eds fall under a dad’s spell, leading them to move into a one-bedroom apartment with him, have sex with each other, and endure emotional and physical abuse for years.

That doc, however, was a tacky reduction of this specific story. Larry Ray, who was recently sentenced to 60 years in prison for sex trafficking, conspiracy, and 13 other charges, preyed upon a specific set of people: twentysomethings dealing with mental health issues; men and women of color butting up against societal pressures of being underprivileged; kids still figuring out their sexuality. Each of the college kids who Ray blackmailed, abused, and brainwashed was particularly susceptible to his manipulation.

Hulu’s new series Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult of Sarah Lawrence is the first version of this lurid yet intoxicating crime story that recognizes this. And that’s most apparent in how Stolen Youth gives the most heartbreaking victims of Ray a human story—allowing them to speak up, on camera, free of their tormentor’s presence and influence.

Content retrieved from: https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-hulus-sarah-lawrence-sex-cult-doc-stolen-youth-stands-out.

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