NEW YORK (AP) — An ex-convict who obtained millions of dollars by subjecting his daughter’s ex-college roommates to forced labor and prostitution was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison.
Lawrence Ray, 63, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by Judge Lewis J. Liman, who described his crimes as “particularly heinous.”
Liman announced the sentence after Assistant U.S. Attorney Mollie Bracewell said that age will not deter Ray from inflicting the kinds of “unspeakable cruelty” on others that he did for the last decade on the friends of his daughter after he met them at Sarah Lawrence College, a small New York liberal arts school.
Given a chance to speak, Ray expressed no remorse but decried his prison conditions and physical ailments.
His defense lawyer argued against the life prison term that prosecutors called for, saying the 15-year mandatory minimum was sufficient, particularly because Ray has experienced harsh conditions in prison for the past few years.
Ray was convicted at trial last April of charges including racketeering, conspiracy, forced labor and sex trafficking.
At trial, one women testified that she became a sex worker to try to pay reparations to Ray after becoming convinced that she had poisoned him. She said that, over four years, she gave Ray $2.5 million in installments that averaged between $10,000 and $50,000 per week.
A lawyer for the woman read her statement aloud Friday before the judge announced the sentence.
She said she had been subjected to “unremitting sadistic torture.”
“Experiences I had while being sex trafficked haunt me today,” she said in the statement.
During Ray’s trial, several students testified that they were drawn into Ray’s world as he told them stories of his past influence in New York City politics, including his role in ruining the career of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik after serving as the best man at his wedding years earlier.
Ray had, in fact, been a figure in a corruption investigation that derailed Kerik’s 2004 nomination by President George Bush to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
As he imposed the sentence, Liman credited victims willing to testify for bringing justice for the kind of crimes “difficult to detect and difficult to prosecute.”
“This case shows the strength of the human spirit and the dedication of law enforcement,” Liman said.
The judge said Ray’s attempt to “extinguish lives” had failed and the sentence he announced will ensure Ray will never again harm someone else.
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