Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio is joined by legal journalist Mollye Barrows to discuss a horrific case of sex trafficking and extortion unearthed just outside the Sarah Lawrence College campus in New York. Lawrence Ray exploited his own daughter and her peers to run a ‘sex cult’ out of her dorm room, which Ray himself also lived in.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             A disturbing new case has emerged where the father of a former student at Sarah Lawrence College in New York was found to be running a sex cult right on campus out of his own daughter’s dorm, dormitory. What’s more, he managed to extort her friends and her classmates into pony up heaps of money while subjecting many of them to prostitution. Here to talk us through this case is Mollye Barrows, a journalist for trial lawyer magazine. Mollye this, this is beyond crazy.

Mollye Barrows:                It is.

Mike Papantonio:             You know what gets me, all of this is taking place on the college campus. The college campus is trying to cover it up, make act like it’s not a big deal. The same reason that they coverup rape cases that take place on campus.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes, that’s what stuck out to me about this story as well. You know, sad as it is, it’s not unusual to have a master manipulator, which is what prosecutors say this Ray, Lawrence is the father of this former student that went to Sarah Lawrence College, but what is crazy to me is that he moved in with his daughter in her dorm with eight other students. There were seven females, one male student, he was there for two months. That’s where he formed this relationship under the guise of a father figure.

Mike Papantonio:             And we’re talking about on campus?

Mollye Barrows:                On campus in the middle of campus. Now he lived in campus and made these connections, made the, the foray into these relationships to manipulate them for a couple of months and then he eventually moved off campus. Many of the students followed him. He was living in an apartment with a man he’d met in prison because, mind you, this began in 2010 he moved in straight out of a prison cell into his daughter’s dorm room.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, yeah.

Mollye Barrows:                And parents at the time, we’ll get into some of the details, but basically parents of some of his victims have said that they did come forward to the school at the time he was living on the campus and say, what’s going on? Why is this man living here? And one individual that was representing the school told this couple, these, these parents. Well, we’d had complaints about him, but our hands are tied because he’s visiting his daughter.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh wow. Okay. So here’s the deal, here’s the story you and I’ve done so many times. College campuses don’t want any bad press.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             They don’t want to have to report any bad things like prostitution is taking place on our campus.

Mollye Barrows:                Sorry about that.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Sorry, it’s happening in our dormitories. They don’t want to tell that story. They don’t want to talk about prostitution. They don’t want to talk about extortion. They don’t want to talk about this freak who happens to live at, right in the middle of campus. The reason they don’t is they have a dis, they have a, they have a duty to disclose and the duty to disclose on anything sexual on a campus is you can’t, you can’t shake that duty. That’s why they don’t report rape cases.

Mollye Barrows:                I believe it.

Mike Papantonio:             This is the same story.

Mollye Barrows:                Yeah. They don’t want mud on them. It’s passing the trash.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, yeah.

Mollye Barrows:                Is what a lot of organizations do when they know or are aware of or, you know, someone who is basically committing crimes or alleged to be committing crimes. We saw it with Penn State, with Jerry Sandusky. We saw it with Dr. Strauss over in Ohio State accused of abusing, you know, 177 students on that campus as well and, and the number is still rising. But in this particular case, it started in 2010 he moved onto campus, made these relationships, moved off campus. Basically extorted, prosecutors according to, in the indictment, he was just a reign of terror is how they described him.

Mike Papantonio:             Well.

Mollye Barrows:                He manipulated these kids. He had them confess their deepest, darkest secrets. He then put it on camera, had them confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Got sexually explicit videos of them and then used it to extort money from them as well as singlehandedly pimped out one young woman and for $500,000. So it’s like a total of $1 million between money from her activities, if you will, and then running and extorting.

Mike Papantonio:             Well prostitution. He’s running her, she’s a sex slave.

Mollye Barrows:                He did. He ran her as, she was a sex trafficking victim.

Mike Papantonio:             She has, he has a sex slave ring.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             Taking place in the middle of the, middle of the campus at Sarah Lawrence College.

Mollye Barrows:                Yeah. Well, the sex didn’t start until after he moved off campus. The relationships were there, but, still.

Mike Papantonio:             Well this is where it all started.

Mollye Barrows:                100%.

Mike Papantonio:             It all started there.

Mollye Barrows:                And the school knew he was there.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, and they say, and their response is, oh, we couldn’t do anything about it?

Mollye Barrows:                Well, and it gets even more interesting because the only reason he’s even been indicted on these federal sex trafficking, forced labor and extortion charges is because of an article that New York Magazine did exposing his alleged crimes in April of last year and they went to Sarah Lawrence College at the time and said, hey, we’re investigating this story. This is what we’ve come up with. And at the time the school looked into it and basically released a statement to them saying, you know, we did our own investigation internally and we didn’t find any evidence to substantiate those claims, which again is going not our problem.

Mike Papantonio:             So he’s a prison thug?

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. He’s obviously a cult leader.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             And Sarah Lawrence College in New York knows all of that. The parents who have kids there, they don’t know what’s going on.

Mollye Barrows:                And it’s heartbreaking because he cut their ties, their children’s ties. He drove a wedge deliberate.

Mike Papantonio:             And, and rather than leadership at Sarah Lawrence College doing anything, they ignore it.

Mollye Barrows:                It’s infuriating.

Mike Papantonio:             Because it bad for the college. Thanks for joining me. Okay.

Mollye Barrows:                Thank you.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.