Once described as a vulnerable target of the scheme, a former Sarah Lawrence College student has been charged in a sex trafficking conspiracy and money laundering case, according to a grand jury indictment.
Isabella Pollok has been charged with one count each of racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy and money laundering, according to the indictment from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that was unsealed on January 29.
A lawyer for Pollok declined to comment to CNN.
Pollok has been charged as a codefendant of Lawrence Ray, the parent of a former student who was charged last year for allegedly psychologically, physically and sexually abusing his daughter’s classmates as well as others beginning in 2010.
The indictment alleges that over the course of about a decade, Ray and Pollok “attempted to gain the trust of the Victims before psychologically manipulating and controlling them for the success and furtherance” of the group’s “ideology and the financial gain of its members.”
The initial indictment against Ray in February 2020 did not list Pollok as a defendant or victim.
Ray moved into on-campus housing with his daughter and her roommates during their sophomore year in late 2010 and began “therapy” sessions with some roommates in which he presented himself as a father figure who could solve their psychological problems, his original indictment states.
According to January documents, he recruited Pollok in the scheme to gain the trust of students, alienate them from their parents and then manipulate them for their financial gain.
That manipulation included coercing the students into false confessions of crimes such as poisoning Ray and or finding humiliating information about the students and blackmailing them with that information, the indictment said.
In some cases, it even included forced labor and sex trafficking, according to the indictment.
“College is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and new-found independence,” Geoffrey Berman, the Manhattan US attorney said at the time. “But as alleged, Lawrence Ray exploited that vulnerable time in his victims’ lives through a course of conduct that shocks the conscience.”
Ray faces additional charges, including extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking and tax evasion, according to the indictment. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him after the initial 2020 indictment.
Lawyers for Ray did not return CNN’s request for comment Monday.
When a New York Magazine article broke the story in April 2019, Pollok was depicted as a young student who was a vulnerable target of Ray’s unofficial “counseling” sessions that he used to manipulate his victims, but who later defended him in court.
While Pollok is listed only by her first name in the New York Magazine article, her identity was confirmed in a New York Times article this month.
The college some of the victims attended was not named in the January indictment, but a spokeswoman for Sarah Lawrence College confirmed in 2020 that Ray was the father of a former student.
“The charges contained in the indictment are serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting. As always the safety and well-being of our students and alumni is a priority for the College,” spokeswoman Patricia Pasquale said at the time.
Sarah Lawrence College did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Monday on Pollok and the January indictment.
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