A woman who referred to herself as Sarah Lawrence 'cult leader' Larry Ray's 'wife' and lived with him and his co-accused, 'lieutenant' Isabella Pollok, has told jurors how her 'romantic' relationship descended into abuse and sexual humiliation that destroyed her medical career and left her feeling 'subhuman.'
Felicia Rosario, 39, took the stand at the start of week three of the high-profile trial Monday, telling jurors how she was introduced to Ray through her brother, Santos, who was a student at the elite liberal college with 62-year-old Ray's daughter, Talia.
Rosario described how she found Ray 'charming' when the young woman, then a 29-year-old medical graduate of Harvard and Columbia and on track to gain her medical license, first met him in the fall of 2011.
Rosario was living with Ray and Pollok in a home in Piscataway, New Jersey, when Ray was arrested in February 2020. She said she called him, 'honeybun,' and both she and Pollok considered themselves his 'wife.'
Rosario told a now familiar tale of Ray's pattern of charm that swiftly gave way to coercion, sexual humiliation, and physical and psychological abuse.
A second-year resident in Los Angeles, Rosario saw Ray only a handful of times on the east coast before he declared himself 'in love' with her and began setting sexual challenges.
In testimony that echoed that of alleged cult member Claudia Drury, 31, Rosario told how Ray set her challenges and asked her to have sex with strangers and record it for him.
She also told how he would ask her to go to the mall, not wearing underwear with a short skirt and shop for shoes, and to flash the shoe salesman when he assisted her.
'He made these demands basically every weekend. Eventually he was so insistent, threatening to break up with me and leave me that I started to comply,' Rosario said.
Rosario said she first had sex with a stranger for Ray in the summer of 2012, by which time she had left the west coast and moved in with Ray at his Upper East Side apartment.
She told the court Ray and Pollok shared a bed and that all three slept naked together.
Rosario said she 'wasn't happy' but that Ray convinced her he was doing this to 'help' Pollok, just as he was 'helping' the other students overcome their mental and emotional issues.
In time, she said, Ray demanded that she perform sex acts on both him and Pollok.
'He called it the BPD Camp', Rosario said, explaining it stood for borderline personality disorder or, 'Bad Parenting Disorder', as Ray called it.
The court saw disturbing video in which Ray filmed Rosario apparently asleep and with a black eye.
She can be seen wearing her graduation cap, a repeated humiliation tactic of Ray when, she testified, he would make her wear it and mock her as stupid and a failure.
In audio played in court, Ray can be heard instructing another student to 'buy a pacifier' for Rosario because she is acting 'like a child' and 'subhuman.'
On another occasion, Rosario told jurors he had Pollok buy diapers and put them on her, forcing her to sit on the floor and watch cartoons while wearing only them and a T-shirt.
As with Drury, Ray allegedly turned his tactics on Rosario to extort money from her for alleged wrongdoings – at one point she 'confessed' to stealing $160,000 from him.
She asked friends and family for money, ran up credit card debt, and emptied her 'very small' 401K to 'repay' him, she said.
Rosario also told how Ray punched her in the face, head, and stomach, kicked her legs, tied her with zip ties, and covered her mouth with duct tape in a campaign to erode her sense of self and reality.
Ultimately, she became convinced that her own siblings had poisoned her – a feeling she described as 'heartbreaking' and a conviction that destroyed their once close relationship.
She said that she herself was 'terrified', 'paranoid', and 'overwhelmed', certain that Ray would make good on threats to send her to jail if she did not comply with his demands.
Her stress was such that she once attempted suicide, Rosario said.
Ultimately, she told the court, Ray stopped demanding she sleep with strangers and record it in 2017.
By then, living with Ray and Pollok, she explained that she had let herself become unkempt, with knotted hair, and dull clothes and was 'unattractive' and 'uninteresting.'
'He wasn't going to get anything if he sent me out the way I was,' she testified.
Rosario is one of at least five alleged victims who became involved in Ray's 'sex cult' after the father ingratiated himself with his daughter Talia's friends - Claudia Drury, Daniel Levin, Santos Rosario, and Pollok - at the elite liberal arts college in Bronxville, just north of Manhattan.
Continuing her testimony through the afternoon, the government turned Rosario's focus on events at Ray's stepfather's property in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
There, the group of students spent weeks across the summer of 2013 doing manual labor, laying sod and digging irrigation ditches in all weathers while deprived, they allege, of sleep and food.
A world away from the calm young woman who testified today, speaking in strong level tones, sometimes pausing for prolonged periods to formulate her answers, jurors were shown video of Rosario as she was back then.
The extent of her mental and physical decline was undeniable.
Speaking in a childlike voice, her eyes vacant and affect confused, she was shown wandering in an agitated fashion in the property yard in one clip and begging with Ray to be allowed to remain inside the house in another.
She told the court that Ray once kept her out of the house and forced her to sleep on the porch, drinking water from a hose and going to the toilet outside.
This treatment lasted for five days straight because, he told her, she was 'unstable and a danger to herself and others.'
In one video Ray can be seen punching Rosario who is grabbing at him. Shortly after she is shown at a table with a badly swollen eye and brow.
In another profoundly disturbing clip, already introduced in evidence, Ray can be seen body-slamming Rosario to the floor as she wails and struggles under the weight of his knee which he places on her back to subdue her.
Testifying today Rosario explained why she was heard begging: 'Don't leave me, Larry.'
'I was very unwell. It's hard to describe because a lot of it is really hard to remember,' she told the court.
'By then I was completely and utterly dependent on Larry in every way; mentally, emotionally, financially. I had no-one else to turn to.
'He was the only person who existed for me. The thought of him leaving me? I would die. I would cease to exist, that's how scary it was for me.'
Ray was, she alleged, relentless in his threats and vows to hand her over to police for the 'criminal' activity he had convinced her she had committed. He said he would 'destroy' her life and her future ability to practice medicine.
Under his influence she had already written a letter to the Dean of Columbia Medical School asking to have her degree revoked and claiming that she was unfit to practice as she was, 'malevolently, intentionally and fanatically' out to hurt others.
As with Drury, Rosario alleged that Ray accumulated compromising video, written and audio evidence against her – extracting 'confessions' and requesting video of her having sex with strangers.
When she failed to provide high enough quality footage, she said, he sent his 'lieutenant' Pollok to film – always with the instructions to capture Rosario's face and the man's genitalia as she was being penetrated or performing sex acts.
Yet despite this bad treatment Rosario moved with Ray and Pollok to a home in Piscataway where she initially shared Ray's bed before he changed their sleeping arrangements putting her on the couch and sharing a bed with Pollok instead.
Rosario painted a picture of her pathetic existence from May 2016 when she moved to New Jersey until Ray's arrest on February 11, 2020.
She was not allowed to access the refrigerator, which was locked nor, she said, could she move freely around the house.
She said that she witnessed Ray and Pollok visit Drury in Manhattan multiple times a week and that they always returned with cash.
Earlier Rosario had testified that Ray suggested she become a prostitute but said that she had refused.
On Monday jurors were shown a ledger written in Pollok's hand listing 'pick ups' from Claudia and noting sums of money.
In one handwritten page entered into evidence Pollok noted 'Total Pick Ups for 2018' as totaling $10,005,978.
Rosario is set to continue her testimony Tuesday morning.
Ray is charged with sex-trafficking, extortion, money laundering, violent crime in aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and forced labor.
Prosecutors say he coerced the students to join his 'family' as he accumulated power, sex and money, forcing one woman into a sex work enterprise so lucrative that she turned over more than $1million to him in a single year.
Rosario's dramatic testimony comes after the jury on Friday was shown horrific video of Ray applying pliers to a student's teeth and tongue while threatening him and beating him in the stomach with a hammer and a steel mallet.
The footage showed Ray threatening to 'bust' student Daniel Levin's face as he hooked what appears, in the grainy images, to be a mallet or hammer around his neck and forced pliers into his mouth.
As Levin wails Ray can be heard saying: 'I'll bust your face right now…Don't f**k about. The next thing that's going to be out is your d**k and balls.'
Appearing to refer to another incident in which Ray allegedly fashioned a garrote out of tin foil and tightened then around Levin's genitals, Ray can be heard asking: 'Did you like that the other night when your balls were getting strangulated?'
Earlier in the trial, the jury was shown another disturbing video of a young woman believed to be Felicia who seems to attack Ray in a kitchen, but is restrained by another woman.
Prosecutors say Ray held sway over the college student, forcing some of them into prostitution and making others wear diapers as punishment.
It's unclear from the video why the young woman is upset, or when it was shot, but at one point Ray kicks her in the leg while she is being held back by another woman.
During his testimony earlier this month, Rosario's brother Santos told the court he was allegedly subjected to Ray's withering interrogations and abuse for five years.
Santos said Ray forced him and sister Felicia to sit in his apartment on the Upper East Side in Manhattan wearing nothing but the diapers.
The former Sarah Lawrence College student was introduced to Ray in 2010 by his daughter, Talia, whom he was dating at the time. Before long, he found himself under Ray's control, along with his two sisters.
Santos testified that Ray struck him with a hammer, held a knife to his genitals, urged him to commit suicide, and called him 'scum' and 'trash.'
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