Feb. 11 (UPI) -- A man whose daughter attended Sara Lawrence College in New York is accused of subjecting students to psychological and physical abuse over the course of a decade on Tuesday.
Lawrence Ray, 60, was charged with nine counts, including extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor and money laundering, according to an indictment from federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
Ray is accused of targeting students after he moved into his daughter's on-campus dormitory with her male and female roommates in 2010 after he was released from a prison sentence for securities fraud. The group later moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.
He positioned himself as a father figure to the students and began so-called therapy sessions with students "during which he learned intimate details about their private lives, vulnerabilities and mental health struggles," the indictment states.
The indictment alleges he then alienated the students from their parents and convinced several that they were "broken" and "in need of fixing" by him.
Ray also allegedly made up lies about the students and when they would deny them would subject them to interrogations including "sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, physical violence and threats of criminal legal action" to draw out false confessions that he captured on video. In some cases, he also took explicit photos of the students.
He then used these false confessions to extort them for money, unpaid labor and forced prostitution and would order them to drain thousands of dollars out of their parents' savings accounts, open lines of credit or engage in real estate fraud if they were unable to pay.
According to the indictment, he is believed to have laundered about $1 million from his victims.
Sarah Lawrence College said it had just learned of the indictment but had previously conducted an investigation into claims made against Ray in a New York Magazine article last year.
"The charges contained in the indictment are serious, wide-ranging, disturbing and upsetting," it said. "As always the safety and well-being of our students and alumni is a priority for the College."