The president of Sarah Lawrence College said Wednesday that the elite school had no idea accused cult leader Lawrence Ray was living in his daughter’s on-campus pad and preying on students.
Cristle Collins Judd wrote a letter to the school community that said “college officials at the time didn’t know” Ray was staying in a townhouse with his then-sophomore daughter and her roommates in 2010.
“The question, ‘How could the College not know this?,’ has been asked by many, including myself,” acknowledged Judd, who arrived at the school in 2017.
The lack of reports about the twisted dad’s presence or the fact that the apartment was small and had its own entrance, could be to blame, Judd said.
“Whatever the reason, however, it is clear to me, and to my colleagues here at Sarah Lawrence, that such situations cannot reoccur,” she wrote.
Ray’s alleged crimes were originally uncovered in an April New York Magazine expose that quoted parents of one of the victims saying they’d gone to a Sarah Lawrence dean with their concerns.
Dean of student life Allen Green told them he’d received complaints about Ray but that he couldn’t do anything since a father was allowed to visit his daughter on campus, according to the report.
Green, who retired in May 2018, didn’t respond to requests from the magazine, while the school said it “had no record that Larry Ray lived on campus at any time.”
Federal authorities say Ray, 60, lured his victims by presenting as a caring “father figure” and then convincing them to undergo pseudo-therapy sessions with him and divulge their deepest childhood traumas.
He then launched what amounted to a decade-long reign of terror, subjecting his victims to psychological torture and physical violence to keep them under his thumb and force them to do his bidding, including sex trafficking one of the co-eds, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.
The president of the Bronxville school stressed that all of Ray’s alleged crimes started in 2011 and occurred off-campus, with feds saying he tortured his victims for several years from a one-bedroom Upper East Side apartment.
“That makes the acts as alleged no less horrific, nor our heartache for the victims of those misdeeds any less deep,” Judd wrote.
“But it is important to reiterate that the crimes for which this man has been indicted did not occur at Sarah Lawrence, even though he appears to have met certain of his victims while they were students here.”
The school has procedures and a community awareness program in place “to take care of each other” and conversations about campus safety and student support are ongoing, Judd wrote.
Ray pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges, including sex trafficking, extortion, and forced labor at his arraignment on Wednesday.