As New York federal prosecutors seek to put convicted sex trafficker Larry Ray behind bars for life after turning his daughter’s Sarah Lawrence college friend ground into an alleged cult, his co-conspirator’s mother is demanding a harder punishment.
Ray, 63, was convicted in April of 15 criminal charges, including extortion and racketeering conspiracy, after sexually, psychologically, and physically abusing multiple college students at the liberal arts school in upstate New York. Ray was also found guilty of laundering millions from a woman he forced into sex work for years. Prosecutors argued during the trial that shortly after his release from a New Jersey prison in 2010, Ray moved into his daughter’s dorm room and began a “campaign of terror” against her friends—cultivating a “climate of fear” under the guise of self-help to exercise his ultimate control.
To help him in his scheme, prosecutors say Ray enlisted the help of his “trusted lieutenant” Isabella Pollok, a former college student who helped lead the enterprise and exercise control over her friends. In September, the 31-year-old pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge after admitting to a federal judge she took part in financial transactions “generated by illegal activity.” Pollok now faces five years in prison.
On Friday, Ray is set to be sentenced in Manhattan federal court—where prosecutors are asking for a life sentence and a $5.5 million restitution for his “heinous” crimes. His defense, however, insists he deserves a 15-year prison sentence.
Cynthia Pollok, who previously told The Daily Beast she believes her daughter had been “really, truly brainwashed,” believes that Ray received the maximum sentence for his crimes because “not only were his victims affected”—but also their families.
“Even though everyone has ordered me to not speak to reporters, I feel strongly about that s.o.b,” Pollok told The Daily Beast via text message on Thursday. “He does not deserve a life sentence, he deserves DEATH!!”
Pollok, who has not seen or heard from her daughter in years, also touched upon the dramatics that occurred through Ray’s trial. Among them: Ray had two medical emergencies in the span of a week, forcing one of his victims to stop her testimony as she was describing how he forced her into sex work. Despite the theatrics, jurors only took four hours to find Ray guilty of all the charges against him.
“He is way too old to have influenced such young students,” Pollok added. “But he will probably be ‘fake sick’ again. Just sentence it already!”
During Friday’s sentencing, prosecutors are set to argue that Ray “intentionally inflicted brutal and lifelong harm on innocent victims that he groomed and abused into submission.” As Ray’s victims were withering under “his coercive control,” prosecutors say in their sentencing memo “the evidence showed that the defendant took sadistic pleasure in their pain and enjoyed the fruits of their suffering.”
Ray’s defense will argue that he is remorseful for his actions and deserves a lighter prison sentence after suffering his own traumatic childhood.
“Mr. Ray not only knows the consequences of his actions, he has lived them,” his defense added in their sentencing memo. “Never will he violate the law and risk the brutal detention that has stripped him of substantial time with his loved ones over the past nearly three years.”