Former Sarah Lawrence student charged in case of man abusing his daughter's classmates

Minyvonne Burke
·2 min read

A Sarah Lawrence College graduate is accused of helping her classmate's father, who prosecutors say moved into his daughter's dorm room and abused students at the elite New York school.

Isabella Pollok, who graduated from the college in 2013, was arrested Jan. 29 on charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, extortion conspiracy and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, court documents show.

In a new indictment, unsealed the day of her arrest, prosecutors allege that Pollok helped Lawrence Ray in his nearly 10-year scheme. Ray's daughter was a student at Sarah Lawrence when the alleged crimes began. The daughter is not named in court documents.

According to the original indictment, Ray allegedly targeted students after moving into his daughter's on-campus dormitory with her roommates around 2010 when they were sophomores. Prosecutors said that Ray, presenting himself as a father figure, began "therapy" sessions with some of the students, purportedly to help them deal with their psychological problems.

During the sessions, he "learned intimate details about their private lives, vulnerabilities and mental health struggles," according to the indictment. He then alienated several of the victims from their parents and subjected them to "sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” it states.

The story was reported in a 2019 New York magazine article, which spurred the federal investigation into Ray.

He was charged in February 2020 with nine counts that include extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor and money laundering.

Prosecutors initially considered Pollok a victim in the case, according to the magazine, citing a prosecutor who last March said that she and another woman had been "exploited and abused for years."

But now, authorities say she was recruited by Ray and was a willing accomplice. According to the Jan. 29 indictment, Ray with the assistance of Pollok "subjected the victims to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse."

They are also accused of extorting money from the victims and forcing them to perform unpaid manual labor. One female victim was forced into prostitution and Ray and Pollok collected "nearly all the proceeds of that prostitution, amounting to millions of dollars in profits," the indictment states.

During the nearly decade-long ruse, Ray and Pollok laundered proceeds from the criminal activity through various bank accounts and Ray's online domain business, the indictment alleges.

Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Ray's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday and Pollok's attorney declined to comment. Attempts to reach family members of Pollok were not successful.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York did not respond to a request for comment.

Sarah Lawrence, in Westchester County north of New York City, said Tuesday that it could not comment due to ongoing legal proceedings.