Not only did Lawrence Ray, the New Jersey conman charged with starting a sex cult in his daughter’s dorm, allegedly alienate his young victims from their parents — he drove a wedge between his own daughters.
The now 30-year-old Talia Ray is still seeking a connection with her baby sister, Ava, to whom she apparently hasn’t spoken since their family was rocked by abuse allegations stoked by their father, according to a report.
“AVA I LOVE YOU & I MISS YOU EVERY DAY! xoxo always, Your Big Sister,” reads the bio on a Twitter account for “@talia_ray.”
Lawrence Ray, 60, was charged last week with federal sex trafficking, nine months after allegations surfaced in a New York Magazine article that he lured Talia’s college friends into a sex cult.
But years before he allegedly coerced Talia’s pals at Sarah Lawrence College, he manipulated a teenage Talia to attack his now ex-wife, Teresa, the magazine reported.
When the couple was divorcing in 2004, Talia accused Teresa of abuse, a source close to the family told New York Magazine. The allegations were deemed unfounded by New Jersey’s child-welfare department — in part, because of Ava’s inability to be swayed.
When an official asked Ava, then 4, if her mother hit her, she laughed.
“That’s what Daddy tells me to say,” the little girl said, according to New York Magazine.
New Jersey child-welfare services eventually awarded Teresa custody, but Talia — reportedly under her father’s spell — chose to live in youth shelters instead.
Years later, Talia was lamenting the loss of her relationship with Ava in a heavily edited video posted to a vlogging website, saying she hadn’t seen her sis since “Dec. 2, 2005.”
“Ava, my sister, was a kindergartener when we were separated, and tomorrow she’ll be 15. God it’s been so long that I don’t even know what Ava thinks, what she has been told, how she has even dealt with the abrupt loss of our relationship,” a teary-eyed Talia said in the clip posted five years ago.
“Our mother won’t let us speak,” Talia said in the video. “She hasn’t let us speak ever since we were separated.”’
Lawrence Ray’s sway over his sex cult victims appeared to be absolute: the families of the young people he recruited told the magazine their children virtually cut ties with them.
Despite their family challenges, the Ray sisters appear successful in their academic and social lives.
Talia is now a paralegal Durham, North Carolina, not far from a relative’s home where the FBI reportedly uncovered some of Lawrence Ray’s abuse.
Talia, who is active in the state Democratic party, appears to be following her father’s strategy of cozying up to influential people.
In February 2019, Talia and her step-grandfather, Gordon Ray, were pictured at an event at the Durham Performing Arts Center rubbing elbows with Watergate journalist Bob Woodward.
She was employed at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina, a little over a year ago, according to an employee who answered the phone there last week and described Talia as “pretty smart.”
Ava, now 19, attends Rutgers University and dates a young Marine, according to a Facebook page, which depicts her as a typical teen, pinning a corsage on her prom date and posing for sassy selfies.
Neither Talia nor Ava could not be reached for comment.
Ray told New York last year that he still spoke to Talia almost daily.
Additional reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge and Ben Cohn
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