Who is Larry Ray?
That is the question at the center of Peacock's new true-crime series, "Sex, Lies and the College Cult," which investigates how Lawrence Ray moved into his daughter's college dorm room and started an abusive sex cult at New York's elite Sarah Lawrence college. Peacock is part of TODAY's parent company, NBC Universal.
In an exclusive first look at the series on TODAY, the trailer sets up how Ray, a father with many "political connections," per the Cut's reporting, turned into a man accused of running a sex cult at his daughter's college for over a decade.
"Sex, Lies and the College Cult" chronicles how Ray manipulated and abused a group of students at Sarah Lawrence College, and forced at least five students to send him a total of about $1 million for more than 10 years, per his indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York.
Authorities began investigating Ray in 2019 after The Cut ran an article titled "The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence," which detailed his tactics at Sarah Lawrence College.
Ray was hit with nine federal charges in 2020, and prosecutors alleged in the indictment he began manipulating his daughter's friends shortly after he moved into her dorm room in September 2010 days after being released from prison.
He conducted "therapy sessions to purportedly help them with psychological problems," while presenting himself "as a father figure" to her roommates, according to the indictment. He later forced one victim into sex trafficking, and forced three victims to work on his property in North Carolina without pay, according to the indictment.
Ray was found guilty in April of extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, money laundering and other charges.
“Twelve years ago, Larry Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm room at Sarah Lawrence College. And when he got there, he met a group of friends who had their whole lives ahead of them," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement following the verdict. "For the next decade, he used violence, threats, and psychological abuse to try to control and destroy their lives."
"He exploited them. He terrorized them. He tortured them. Let me be very clear," Williams continued. "Larry Ray is a predator. An evil man who did evil things. Today’s verdict finally brings him to justice."
Ray, who faces life in prison, is set to be sentenced later this month.
"Sex, Lies and the College Cult" premieres Sept. 28 on Peacock.