Accused 'Sex Cult' Leader Larry Ray Had a Seizure: Lawyer
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Accused Sarah Lawrence Sex Cult Leader Suffered from a Seizure, His Lawyer Said. He Was Whisked from Court in a Stretcher Hours Later.

 
Larry Ray and Slonim 9

Released by the government, these photographs show Larry Ray and the Sarah Lawrence dorm where he found his alleged victims: Slonim Woods 9.

Hours after his lead defense attorney told a judge that his client suffered from a seizure, accused Sarah Lawrence College sex cult leader Larry Ray was whisked out of federal court in a stretcher on Tuesday afternoon.

The fourth day of Ray’s racketeering trial got off to a late and rocky start on Tuesday morning, when defense attorney Marne Lenox announced in open court that her client had a seizure and had been grappling with the aftereffects of it. Lenox added that she may need to call for a sidebar if her client’s symptoms started acting up during the proceedings.

Just before the afternoon lunch break, the defense did call for one, and trial precipitously adjourned.

A New York Post photojournalist and reporter spotted the alleged cult leader strapped down to a stretcher outside the Worth Street entrance of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse at around 1:40 p.m., reportedly breathing through an oxygen mask and wheeled out by two medics accompanied by U.S. Marshals.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman excused the jury for the day after lunch, disclosing only that the defendant had a “medical issue” requiring immediate attention. Liman then retreated with prosecutors and defense attorneys to the robing room for a conference.

That sudden sequence of event threw a wrench into trial, where Ray stands accused of 17 federal crimes, including racketeering, sex trafficking, money laundering, forced labor and extortion. The subject of a New York Magazine exposé, Ray entered the lives of the Sarah Lawrence students after getting out of jail following an unrelated securities fraud prosecution and a contempt of court violation over a child custody dispute.

His daughter Talia Ray, a former Sarah Lawrence student, reportedly introduced her father to her friends at the school’s Slonim Woods 9 dorm. One of them, the daughter’s ex-boyfriend Santos Rosario, regaled the jury for three days straight with harrowing tales of Larry Ray’s alleged physical, mental and sexual torment. Rosario testified that Ray held a knife to his genitals and ordered other Sarah Lawrence students to have sex with him. Ray allegedly ordered one of them, Claudia Drury, to give Rosario a “blow job,” while Ray was standing “right next to” them.

Prosecutors claim that Ray forced Drury into prostitution and made “millions” from her sex work.

Rosario also testified that Ray forced him and his sister Felicia Rosario, whom Ray was “dating,” to wear diapers. The witness also said he introduced his other sister Yalitza Rosario to Ray.

Santos and Yalitza Rosario

Santos and Yalitza Rosario (Government exhibit)

The jury has seen and heard several video and audiotapes of Ray allegedly extracting false confessions from Santos Rosario, who said that he was coerced into claiming that he poisoned Ray and damaged his property. Ray would then use these purported confessions to force Rosario to pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation, Rosario said.

As proceedings began on Tuesday, clinical and forensic psychologist Dawn Hughes resumed her testimony as a government expert in violence, abuse, coercive control, and victimization. She defined and described such terms as “coercive control,” “economic abuse,” and “grooming,” a psychological concept explored at length in another sex trafficking trial in the same courthouse: the case of Jeffrey Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

“So grooming is a term used in the psychological literature that explains the—getting—coercing a child into sexual activity and maintaining the secrecy of the abuse,” Hughes said. “So those are the two main goals: Acquire the person, the child, or the victim to perpetrate sexual abuse; and then make sure it doesn’t come out.”

Before trial abruptly ended, a paralegal for the U.S. Attorney’s office authenticated various exhibits, including multiple videos. One appeared to show Ray pinning down an alleged victim, seen screaming and writhing on the ground. Another tape showed Drury crying as Ray appeared to interrogate her.

Judge Liman told jurors to be prepared for trial to resume on Wednesday.

(Photos via DOJ)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.