‘At Sarah Lawrence I unwittingly joined a dangerous sex cult’

When Daniel Levin was just 19 and a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College, Larry Ray asked him to meet at Starbucks. 

Ray was 30 years older and the father of a fellow student — but he was more than just that. He was a constant presence on campus and in the lives of Levin and his friends. 

In the summer of 2011, when Levin sat down for a chat with him, he had no idea why Ray was so interested in him, a confused and lost college kid, he recounts in his new memoir, “Slonim Woods 9” (Crown/Random House), out now. 

During the six-hour-long conversation, Ray told Levin he was a master manipulator who once worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and had apparently helped negotiate the end of the Kosovo War in 1999. 

“It’s why I was so valuable to the US government,” Ray told him. 

Then he probed Levin about his childhood and about his sexuality. 

“I can tell you you’re not gay,” Ray said. “You’re not a sociopath.” 

He also asked about the size of his penis. 

“Tell me what you’re working with, Danny,” he asked, “and I’ll tell you whether it’s small.” 

Levin, a New Jersey native, was shocked but also flattered that someone like Ray — a man who described himself as “professionally trained to evaluate people, to walk around the inside of their minds” — seemed so interested in helping him make sense of his life. 

He never realized that the man who seemed so trusting and fatherly was actually luring him and his friends into a cycle of psychological and sexual abuse. 

Idyllic Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville (right) was the setting for shocking underground depravity.
Alex Justice; Getty Images

At the time, Levin was simply convinced that “there was something extraordinary” about his new mentor. 

Even before Levin went to college, he felt like an outsider. Part of the reason he enrolled at Bronxville’s Sarah Lawrence — whose unofficial slogan is “We’re different. So are you” — was because it valued poetry over football. Levin never felt like he belonged at his high school, “but here,” he wrote of Sarah Lawrence, “maybe I would matter.” 

By the end of his freshman year, he found a group of friends who shared his interests — playing Super Smash Bros., writing poetry, throwing dance parties and “dancing on the coffee table” — and they moved into Slonim Woods 9, one of the campus’ eleven “cooperative living units.” Friends like Gabe, Max, Santos, Talia and Isabella became like a second family to Levin. 

And then, in September of 2010, their housemate Talia announced that her father, Larry Ray, was being released from prison after, she claimed, he’d been framed for corruption and custody violations. Although her mother wanted to ensure that Talia and her younger sister never saw their dad after the divorce, Talia fought back. She said she refused to stay with her mother in Bridgewater, NJ, and instead lived briefly in a homeless shelter before enrolling at Sarah Lawrence. Now, her father — whom Talia called the “honeyboy” to her “honeygirl” — “needed a place to stay.” 

Levin befriended Talia Ray at Sarah Lawrence and soon fell under the spell of her father, who spun wild tales of international intrigue — and got them to explore group sex.
Levin befriended Talia Ray at Sarah Lawrence and soon fell under the spell of her father, who spun wild tales of international intrigue — and got them to explore group sex.

Ray moved into Slonim Woods 9, sleeping on an air mattress in Talia’s bedroom and becoming a constant presence in the common room, cooking steak dinners for the housemates and telling stories about his history as an international CIA operative. He told wild tales about being a liaison for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, rubbing elbows with President George H. W. Bush, and tracking Stinger missiles on the black market for the FBI. 

He also offered his attention. One by one, Ray met with the students in private, usually in his daughter’s bedroom, listening to the stories of their emotional turmoil. 

During the summer of 2011, Ray moved into a one-bedroom condo on the Upper East Side, in the Waterford building on 93rd Street, and invited six of Talia’s friends to join him, rent-free. 

There were four women and three men including Levin but not Ray, who occupied the only bedroom. (Levin slept on a couch in the living room, using it only when it was free.) They could commute to college, experience the excitement of Manhattan, and have access to his seemingly endless wisdom and counsel. 

The Waterford Building in the Upper East Side, where Ray invited six of Talia's friends to join him, rent-free, in 2001.
The Waterford Building in the Upper East Side, where Ray invited six of Talia’s friends to join him, rent-free, in 2011.
J.C.Rice for NY Post

“All I wanted was to be like him,” Levin writes. “To never be unhappy or unsure about anything, ever again.” 

Levin’s father was the first to point out the troubling nature of his relationship with this older adult. During a phone call with his parents, Levin said Ray was “helping me figure out things. How to manage my mind so that I can have clarity. It’s kind of Marine-like, the stuff he’s teaching us, like we’re going through a mini boot camp for the mind.” 

“It sounds kind of like a cult, Dan,” Levin’s dad told his son. “It sounds like you’re brainwashed or something.” 

Later, back at the East Side apartment, Levin shared the details of his conversation with Ray, who was incredulous. 

“People are so negative about the word ‘brainwashing,’ ” he sniffed. “I don’t see what’s wrong with it. That is what I’m doing. I’m washing your brains. You should tell your dad that.” 

In the apartment, Ray forced his charges to listen to his favorite music, like Neil Young and The Who, telling them the songs had “magic powers.” He advised Isabella that her birth control pills were making her depressed and complained that the underage girls living with him weren’t washing their genitals properly. 

“You wouldn’t believe how many women hate, hate their vaginas,” Ray told Levin, before launching into a lecture about the best lubricants for masturbation and the importance of having sex in public. 

People are so negative about the word ‘brainwashing.’ I don’t see what’s wrong with it. That is what I’m doing. I’m washing your brains.

Larry Ray, alleged Sarah Lawrence cult leader

“It’ll be good for you,” he told Levin. “It can be with anyone.” 

But Ray would explode at the smallest perceived betrayal, like the time one of his kitchen pans had a mysterious scratch. 

“You scraped it on purpose, as hard as you could?” Ray screamed at Levin. “What were you thinking about? Mommy and Daddy?” 

The threats became more ominous. 

“I see you, Danny,” Ray told him one time. “I know when you say something against me, when you doubt me, when you fear me. I see it. I see your fear.” 

Within just a year of moving in, Levin already wanted to leave, but he worried that Ray wasn’t bluffing and really did have powerful friends. 

Once, when he was chauffeuring Ray around Manhattan and their path was blocked by a parade route, the older man called over a police officer and whispered something — and suddenly they were waved through. 

Talia invited her father, Ray (right), to come stay with her after he was released from prison.
Talia invited her father, Ray (right), to come stay with her after he was released from prison.

“Even if Larry wasn’t a special government operative, at the very least he had some kind of connections,” Levin writes. “Which meant that if I just left, or acted against him, I would never be safe.” 

If Levin wasn’t the only one having doubts, he never saw evidence of it. His fellow students either totally revered Ray or were too terrified to say otherwise. 

Ray’s demands became more sinister. He called Levin into his bedroom to instruct him on how to seduce Isabella, one of the women in the apartment who was also under Ray’s spell. 

As she lay naked on her bed and Gregorian chants played on the stereo, Ray showed Levin how to tease her with his fingertips. 

“Sex, like everything in life, should be deliberate,” he instructed. 

This evolved into more frightening encounters — group sex involving not just Ray but a friend from prison who owned the Upper East Side apartment where they were living — and increasingly weird confrontations in which Ray reprimanded Levin for damaging his property, from bent oven doors to not folding his daughter’s cashmere sweaters correctly. Santos, another male in the condo, also endured abuse, forced to write confessions about the ways he’d wronged Ray, but Levin seemed to get the worst of it. 

Larry Ray is now facing a possible 100-year sentence behind bars.
Ray is now facing a possible 100-year sentence behind bars.
Robert Kalfus

During an especially horrific Thanksgiving in 2012, Ray punished Levin for forgetting to pick up duck fat and seasoning during his grocery run by forcing him to dress in women’s clothing and penetrating himself with one of Isabella’s dildos. 

“Let’s settle this once and for all,” Ray screamed at the terrified 20 year old. “If you like it, we’ll know you’re gay.” 

The final straw came months later, when Ray accused Levin of sabotaging his daughter’s application to Stanford Law School. 

Creating a makeshift garrote out of cellophane and aluminum foil, Ray claimed the torture device was something he’d improvised during “the course of my intelligence career . . . so you know how serious this is.” 

He instructed Levin to remove his pants and attached the garrote around his scrotum like a noose. He slowly tightened it, the garrote digging into Levin’s skin, as Ray demanded, “Why did you sabotage Talia’s law school apps?” 

Levin eventually confessed, not because he’d done anything wrong but to get Ray to stop. 

After almost two years, Levin returned to the Sarah Lawrence campus for the final semester of his senior year in 2013. But he still lived in fear. He wasn’t sure who was still loyal to Ray, or who among his old friends might be inspired to track him down on Ray’s behalf and bring him back. 

“I was constantly terrified I would see them from a distance,” Levin writes. “Or that I would open a door and there they would be, on the other side.” 

Just months after graduating, he was in his Bronx apartment and happened upon a Web site with a checklist of all the characteristics of a cult. “It felt like the screen was vibrating,” he writes. “On it, I saw the past two years of my life reflected back at me.” 

Slonim Woods 9

Although Levin never reported Ray to police, he (along with several others who lived with Ray) did speak to reporters at New York Magazine, and the 2019 article sparked a federal investigation. In February 2020, almost a decade after Levin escaped the Slonim Woods cult, Ray was arrested in New Jersey, charged with sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced labor and money laundering. If convicted — the now 61-year old man is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, his bail denied — he faces a possible 100-year sentence behind bars. 

The full story behind Ray has yet to come out — was he everything he claimed to be? Photos with Gorbachev and Bush appeared to be genuine, but how much of Ray’s backstory was just self-created mythology remains to be discovered. 

Now 30 years old, Levin went on to get an MFA in poetry from the University of California, Irvine. After many years of working for New York’s Department of Education, he now lives in Los Angeles and is focused on his poetry. 

“I wish none of this had ever happened,” he writes. But “it’s up to you to decide how to live with it. More than anything, that’s what I hope you do: live.”

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Marble Halls & Silver Screens With Sarah Lee Ep. 106: The ‘Virus Funding, Courier, And Voluntary Vax Mandate’ Edition

Marble Halls & Silver Screens With Sarah Lee Ep. 106: The ‘Virus Funding, Courier, And Voluntary Vax Mandate’ Edition

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The Right to Inspire with Sarah Strackhouse – Episode 46: Tina Ramirez – Fighting for Religious Freedom & Eliminating CRT in Schools 9/22/21

On @TheRighttoInspire this week, we interview Tina Ramirez who’s fighting for religious freedom around the world. As a Hispanic Virginia congressional candidate, her goal is to eliminate CRT in our schools. Visit to tinaramirez.com to find out more. Follow us on @therighttoinspire on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Visit therighttoinspire.com for previous episodes. #therighttoinspire #thestrackhouse #freedom #podcast #digitaltv #rsb #rsbn #rightsidebroadcastingnetwork

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Secession! Sarah Silverman Proposes Breaking America Into Two Countries

You can tell the left really can’t stand that their socialist plans are being slowed down by Republicans and more centrist Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin. Actress and comedian Sarah Silverman is trying to draw attention to herself by pitching on her podcast the idea of splitting America into two pieces, letting the conservatives secede. 

“Maybe we should break up,” she says. The never-married actress, 50, wasn’t talking about her personal life. 

In the clip, Silverman says, “I mean this may be a negative thought, or maybe a positive one, I don’t know. But if people aren’t getting along like in relationship, they break up, you know? So like, why don’t we just finally just realize that this, these states aren’t working and like, divide up into like two or three countries? It’ll be like USA 1 and USA 2,” she asserted.

For the conservatives, she said, “And they can be USA 1. Like the conservatives can be USA 1 because they love being number one and it means something to them and I’d love to have that be theirs. They can be USA 1. We’ll be USA 2 and we’ll be allies.”

Then she got a little cheeky, and suggested the conservatives would have to be vaccinated to visit her liberal country. “And you’ll come over here and we’ll go over there, and you know, when you come to certain… Many times, when you go to a different country, you have to get a vaccine. That’s that.”

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Sarah Palin says she’s unvaccinated because of COVID-19 ‘immunity’

Sarah Palin has not received the COVID-19 vaccine because she’s already had the virus and recovered from it, “creating an immunity,” she said.

“I am one of those white, common-sense conservatives, I believe in science, and I have not taken the shot,” the former Alaska governor said Thursday on Greg Gutfeld’s talk show on Fox News.

“The Fauci-ism of the day back then was, if you’ve had covid — I’ve had covid — then Mother Nature was creating an immunity,” she went on.

Palin and Gutfeld discussed the not-yet-peer-reviewed study out of Israel which found that “natural immunity” confers stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization from the Delta variant that the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.

Sarah Palin pointed to research that claimed getting COVID-19 was more effective for protection against the Delta variant than the Pfizer vaccine.
Getty Images

“I want to ask the questions,” Palin said.

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Sarah Palin Is Making a Comeback, Whether You Like It or Not – RedState

After being mostly background after her 2016 endorsement and support of then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential run, former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin appears to be coming back to the foreground.

On Thursday, Palin made an appearance on Fox News’ Gutfeld! and let it be known that she is not vaccinated, and doesn’t plan to be. Palin contracted COVID-19 in March, and evidently recovered. She expressed on the show that she has followed the studies about natural immunity from COVID recovery being stronger than the COVID vaccines.

The Hill picked up on it, knowing it would be click-worthy:

“I believe in the science and I have not taken the shot,” Palin said.

Palin, once a contender for becoming the first female vice president on John McCain’s 2008 presidential ticket, used a snippet from Anthony Fauci’s argument about being previously infected with COVID-19 and building immunity.

“The Fauci-ism of the day, back then, was if you’ve had COVID — I’ve had COVID — well then mother nature was creating an immunity,” Palin said. “And even today they say you’re 27 percent more immune—”

“Twenty-seven times,” fellow guest Drew Pinsky, best known for treating celebrities on reality tv, chimed in, referencing a recent study from Israel which backed up Palin’s claims that previously infected people were significantly less likely than vaccinated people to contract the delta variant.

“So I want to ask the questions,” Palin said.

As per usual, the long knives came out. Some excoriated the Hill for bothering to give her any oxygen.

Others expressed their disdain for Palin, because all they know is the Tina Fey caricature of her, hate Republicans, and of course, Trump.

Palin has always been a lightning rod, for better or worse. Now that she and husband Todd Palin are divorced, and the majority of her children are grown with lives of their own, she appears liberated to embrace that mantle and run with it, as well as pursue the media image that she wants to craft.

Palin made a surprise appearance in 2020 on the show The Masked Singer as a rapping bear, to declare in her own inimitable way, “I’m baaack!”

Sarah Palin shocked audiences when she revealed herself to be Bear on The Masked Singer — and that’s exactly what she wanted. The politician said she did the show as a “walking middle finger to the haters.”

“It was all about the mask,” she told host Nick Cannon on the Masked Singer aftershow on Wednesday. “I knew it would be so refreshing and so freeing and well, in a real respectful way, kind of a walking middle finger to the haters out there in the world where I could do whatever I wanted to do and not care what anybody said because they wouldn’t know until after the fact. So it all worked out.”


Since then, Palin has been making regular commentary and appearances on Conservative, Inc. stations like Fox News and Newsmax.

In June, the Anchorage Daily News’ feature, “Curious Alaska,” asked where she had been lately.

While they could not get an audience with her, the paper did a deep-dive into public records, and Palin’s social media, to piece together a picture of sorts:

Lacking a direct line to Palin herself, we turned to the other space where she reveals details about herself regularly: social media. Public records filled in a few more facts.

Here’s what we could gather about Sarah Palin’s life these days: She lives, at least most of the time, in the same house on Lake Lucille in Wasilla that the family has occupied for more than a decade. She applies for a Permanent Fund dividend every year, which would indicate she spends the majority of the year in Alaska. She voted, absentee, in the 2020 presidential election from Alaska, according to Division of Elections records.

Todd and Sarah’s divorce was finalized last year. He has recently purchased land in the Big Lake area, according to property records.

The Palin kids have grown up and into adult lives of their own: Bristol is a real estate agent in the Austin, Texas, area with an Instagram following bigger than her mother’s. Willow has twins and a salon in the Mat-Su. Piper has pursued nursing school. Trig, born when Palin was governor, is now in high school. It’s not clear what Track is up to but court records show all of the criminal cases against him as resolved.

Palin has even been hinting at a run for Lisa Murkowski’s Senate seat, as our Editor at Large, Kira Davis reported.

Palin told the Harvest International Ministries audience that she needed their prayers concerning running again, but she was also well aware another Republican was already in the race for Murkowski’s seat. She didn’t seem that impressed.

“There’s a female Republican who’s already jumped in the race. The scary thing is, I’ve been in politics all my life and I’ve never heard of her. So that kind of made me hesitant. And I do need prayer about whether I should or not.”

Palin went on to say that her current daily view in Alaska is a blessed one, and she can’t imagine taking her family and moving to the bubble of Washington D.C. without some difficulty. However, she did repeat that it would be up to God.

“If God wants me to do it, I will.”

Lately, Palin has been challenging NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Hypocrite) on some of AOC’s hot takes, first on Republicans making fun of her because she used to be a waitress:

Republicans like to make fun of the fact that I used to be a waitress, but we all know if they ever had to do a double they’d be the ones found crying in the walk-in fridge halfway through their first shift bc someone yelled at them for bringing seltzer when they wanted sparkling.

nar·cis·sist /ˈnärsəsəst/

Listen sweetie, you know how many of us waitressed through high school to save up for college? Then waitressed and blue-collared throughout to get our degrees? You know how many hard working, selfless American workers cont to do so?

Pulling one’s self up from the bootstraps is inspiring, rewarding – and expected. We call it The American Dream.

You’re not special, Representative. To magnanimously think you’re set aside deserving a seat of judgment SOLELY bc you temporarily slung shots proves that condescending woe-is-me entitlement thinking is what happens when every kid gets a trophy.

Then on AOC speaking out “as a feminist” against the Texas Heartbeat bill:


The fact that Palin is choosing to go toe-to-toe with a Democrat progressive “star” is a clear indication she is ready to be in the forefront again, and wearing this new Sarah 2.0 Reboot like a familiar, warm coat. With all she has gone through, Palin appears to be ready to face any media onslaught, as she has caught the flak, and has lived to tell about it—battle scars and all.

This is not just a comeback — she may be giving the media a comeuppance.

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The Right to Inspire with Sarah Strackhouse – Episode 45: Jonathan Koeppel – Standing Up for Our Students 9/15/21

On The Right to Inspire this week, we interview Jonathan Koeppel, a fired Louisiana teacher advocating for his students. After speaking in school board meetings fighting the political agenda of pushing CRT and gender identities in schools, Koeppel has gone viral for standing up for what he believes in. Visit givesendgo.com/louisianateacher to find out more.

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Sarah Palin Scores Direct Hit on AOC With ‘Fake Feminist’ Jab, AOC’s Response Proved the Point – RedState

As we previously reported, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) found herself in a bit of a woke quandary on Tuesday during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper where she appeared to have some trouble settling on the correct terminology to use to describe women while discussing the supposedly dangerous Texas Fetal Heartbeat law.

The terms “menstruating person,” “people who do give birth,” “female,” and “woman” were all used at various points during the segment, and the self-admitted socialist and so-called “Squad” leader further embarrassed herself when she took to the Twitter machine the next day to expand on her thoughts regarding “people” who “can also menstruate.”

Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was asked about AOC’s wacky comments during a Fox News interview and responded accordingly by calling her a “fake feminist”:

“Wow, AOC, she’s really milking this, isn’t she?” Palin said. “She’s such a fake feminist that she would bring up an issue like this and try to use it to make some kind of political point.”


“She’s so off-base politically, but even off-base in the analogy or whatever it is that she’s throwing out there. She’s milking the whole female thing, and as a real feminist, I’m embarrassed for her,” Palin said.

The Recount, obviously not fans of Sarah Palin, shared the video clip:

Granted, Palin’s argument wasn’t the most articulate but the full clip shows she was clearly exasperated as many of us often are when discussing or writing about the latest inanities coming from AOC.

Ironically, AOC’s response proved Palin’s point perfectly. She first cut a 15-second video mocking Palin, and then in her next tweet she pointed out she was fundraising off of Palin’s comments to help raise money for abortion providers:

She later bragged that so far the hotline had raised $250,000 towards helping provide funding for the termination of unborn life.

Does being an unapologetic proponent of abortion make you an authentic feminist? No. In fact, I suspect First Wave feminists would be horrified to see what “feminism” became redefined as shortly before, during, and after the Roe v. Wade era.

Also, and as I noted yesterday, radical transgender rights advocates on the left have convinced enough useful idiots like AOC that there is nothing unique about being a woman, and that as a result, a man can “identify” as such and therefore be one, hence maddeningly idiotic terms like “birthing people” and “people who menstruate.”

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but enthusiastically cheerleading for “transgender rights” as women’s safe spaces like dressing rooms, bathrooms, etc. and as women’s sports and women’s rights as we know them are being erased before our very eyes in the name of political correctness run wildly amok also does not make one a genuine feminist.

That and supporting abortion on demand for any reason and at any stage of pregnancy makes any supposed “feminist” a sell-out in my book, because no self-respecting true feminist worth her salt would encourage a woman to terminate an innocent unborn child’s life for selfish reasons, nor would she open the door wide open to an all-out war on redefining what it means to be a woman.

No matter how much it hurt her feelings, AOC being called a “fake feminist” was right on the money, and quite literally so considering she’s fundraising off of it. Besides, as Ben Shapiro has often said before, facts don’t care about your feelings, and they sure as hell don’t care about AOC’s.

And on a side note, another point – made by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) a while back – about AOC was proven during her little Twitter rant. Flashback:

‘Nuff said.

Related: ‘Feminists’ Soon to Be Hardest Hit by an Accidental Pro-Life Admission From the New York Times

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The Right to Inspire w/ Sarah Strackhouse – Episode 44: Lt. Jason Redman Fmr. Navy Seal Trying to Save Americans in Afghanistan 9/8/21

As part of Task Force Pineapple, former Navy Seal and speaker Lt. Jason Redman is helping to evacuate stranded Americans and allies in Afghanistan. After getting wounded while serving overseas, he weighs in on current events and shares what needs to be done next. Visit jasonredman.com to find out more. #therighttoinspire #thestrackhouse #freedom #podcast #digitaltv #rsb #rsbn #rightsidebroadcastingnetwork

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The Right to Inspire with Sarah Strackhouse – Episode 43: Sam Horwitz – PTSD & Surviving Trauma 9/1/21

Welcome to The Right to Inspire, a show about inspiring people dedicated to making change. Sam Horwitz is a former Secret Service Agent and 9/11 first responder who struggled with PTSD and even thoughts of suicide after that day in 2001. She explains what life is like after trauma and weighs in on the evacuation and attacks on US military and citizens in Kabul. To find out more about Sam visit: www.samanthahorwitz.com or abadgeofhonor.com. Follow us on @therighttoinspire on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Visit therighttoinspire.com for previous episodes. #therighttoinspire #thestrackhouse #freedom #podcast #digitaltv #rsb #rsbn #rightsidebroadcastingnetwork

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