Accused Sarah Lawrence sex-cult leader Larry Ray allegedly tortured one in every of his victims for hours, suffocating her with a plastic bag after binding her to a hotel chair — and at one level stopped to have burgers and fries together with his prime lieutenant through the abuse, a witness testified Thursday.
The alleged victim, Claudia Drury, 31, detailed the horrific, seven-hour torture session beneath questioning by a federal prosecutor at Ray’s racketeering and sex-trafficking trial in Manhattan federal court docket.
Drury stated Ray grew to become enraged at her in October 2018 after she instructed one in every of her “main clients,” whom she recognized as a person named Stuart Piltch, that Ray revealed his title on a web site related together with her work as a prostitute.
When he came upon Drury instructed Piltch in regards to the web site, Ray and his alleged confederate, Isabella Pollok, got here to the Gregory Hotel in Midtown, the place she was residing and assembly purchasers, and started to torture her, she instructed jurors.
In the room, Ray instructed Drury to strip bare, then cuffed her fingers and legs to a chair with handcuffs that she had to make use of as props together with her johns, she stated in court docket.
Over the subsequent seven hours, Ray repeatedly suffocated her with plastic baggage, dumped water on her bare physique and pushed her close to the room’s air conditioner, and smothered her with a pillow.
“I was suffocating. I was terrified. I was trembling. You can’t breathe. You want to breathe a lot. That just makes it much worse. It was terrifying,” she instructed jurors of the alleged sadistic abuse.
At one level through the torture session, Ray put a collar on Drury’s neck and tightened it with a leash till she practically handed out, she stated.
Pollok allegedly taunted Drury through the abuse, telling her that she was a “faker” and that the water Ray poured over her to decrease her physique temperature was “room temperature.”
At some level through the alleged torture session, Ray and Pollok stopped and ate dinner, Drury stated.
“They ordered burgers and fries from a diner nearby, the Starlight Diner,” she stated.
During her testimony, Drury described the record of her “main clients” that was presupposed to be filed beneath seal at trial, however was inadvertently revealed by the US Attorney’s Office.
Drury stated she compiled the record after asking her purchasers to electronic mail her from skilled emails, so she may confirm their identities.
Larry needed the record so he may have leverage over the lads and threaten to tell their wives, Drury testified.
The risk of that made Drury really feel “very, very scared and anxious, almost more than anything else,” she testified.
“I didn’t want to get other people involved in this. I felt responsible,” she stated, including that she developed emotions for plenty of her purchasers.
“It was the only time I had positive social interaction in my life,” she stated of her time with a few of her common purchasers.
During cross-examination, one in every of Ray’s protection attorneys, Marne Lenox, tried to color Drury as an uncredible witness.
Lenox performed for jurors a recording of Drury claiming she was confronted by plenty of males in Manhattan who jumped out of a van and instructed her they’d a message for Ray from somebody he believed was making an attempt to harm him.
Drury admitted in her testimony that the confrontation by no means really occurred.
Ray is charged with racketeering, intercourse trafficking and a bunch of different crimes in a 17-count indictment. If convicted, he faces a most of life in jail.
Prosecutors alleged Ray began a intercourse cult with a gaggle of faculty college students after transferring into his daughter’s on-campus dorm at Sarah Lawrence in 2010. He’s pleaded not responsible.
In an electronic mail to The Post, an lawyer for Pollok stated she has pleaded not responsible to the fees she faces for her alleged position in the legal enterprise.
“That is my only comment at this time,” lawyer David Bertan stated.
The Post reached out to a telephone quantity listed for Stuart Piltch, which was not returned.