A new documentary series grapples with the Sarah Lawrence cult

Larry Ray, 62, was convicted of sex trafficking, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges in April of this year, offenses linked to his decade-long stint in controlling and manipulating a small group of young men. The story – that blew up in the beginning New York Magazine The article that launched an investigation into Ray’s activities in April 2019 – is the subject of an upcoming three-part Hulu docu-series Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult in Sarah Lawrence From Oscar-nominated director Zachary Heinzerling and produced by Story Syndicate, premiering Feb. 9, Santos Rosario, a suck-in survivor, says in the trailer below. With unprecedented access to the Sarah Lawrence College students Ray recruited, and family members whose lives were irrevocably changed, the documentary traces how a roommate’s father can go from sleeping on the bedroom couch, lecturing on discipleship to victimization and abuse. Many clever young men, making their lives derail.

“Daniel Levine, who was a survivor of Larry Ray, and one of the main sources for the article, approached me about making a documentary,” Heinzerling said in an interview with Vulture. He said, “I want to do something that survivors will be able to watch and see themselves in.” survivors.

One of Ray’s tactics was to manipulate the truth and alter the students’ memories, isolating them from their families and making them believe they owed him astronomical amounts of money or were being poisoned in an elaborate conspiracy too complex to dive into. Throughout filming, Heinzerling watched as a survivor decoded “which memories were Larry’s and which were hers, and really reconstructed her identity”. “It’s not often that you get to see someone recover from this kind of abuse [on screen]Heinzerling said. “It showed a level of strength and courage for someone to extricate themselves from that shame and embarrassment they may have felt in the aftermath and begin the healing process.”

One of Heinzerling’s goals was to show how anyone could fall in love with an authoritarian leader who claimed to have a monopoly on truth. “I went to a small liberal arts college,” the director began. “I had a similar group of artistically minded friends. And so I felt like this could be me.”

“You have a group of liberal, forward-thinking, unquote-quote students who live in an environment in which they are asked to find themselves,” he said. And the kind of heteronormative, masculine, conservative kind of people who make very clear black and white decisions about these students’ lives comes along and it alleviates all of those concerns. I think it’s interesting to see that also in the context of a small liberal arts college where you don’t really connect with a personality. charismatic Trump, but he was nonetheless for these really bright young students.”

Heinzerling wants the document to “show the real process that Larry embarked on over many years” and “allow people to see themselves in this experience.” “In this case, it’s a psychological prison,” he explained. “When you watch videos of these students confessing to these bizarre crimes, it’s hard to know what to do with them. I think the point is to understand how it happened and to empathize with the survivors and understand their story in a deeper way, and hopefully learn something about yourself and the community.”

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