Feb 3, 2010

James Arthur Ray Indicted for Sweat Lodge Deaths

James Arthur Ray was arrested this afternoon for causing the deaths of three participants in his "Spiritual Warrior" retreat. I have been following this case pretty closely, since the news broke last fall. See here, here, here, and here, for background. Not much to say here, except that it's about time.

Motivational speaker James Arthur Ray was arrested Wednesday afternoon on three counts of manslaughter for deaths that happened after a sweat lodge ceremony he led in northern Arizona last year. Ray was taken into custody on an indictment at his attorney's office in Prescott, and was to be booked into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde, sheriff's officials said. His bond was set at $5 million.

. . .

About halfway through the two-hour ceremony, some began feeling ill, vomiting and collapsing inside the 415-square-foot structure. Despite that, Ray urged participants to push past their physical weaknesses and chided those who wanted to leave, authorities and participants have said.

Two people - Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee - passed out inside the sweat lodge and died that night at a hospital. Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn., slipped into a coma and died a week later. Eighteen others were hospitalized.

Most of the coverage rehashes material from previous stories. As such, the ABC site has the most thorough round-up, because of they've done the most in-depth reporting on this case. Highlights include his thoroughly nonsensical defense of The Secret's blame the victim idiocy, in light of things like 9/11 and the Holocaust. Really. It's a great read.

More to come on this story as it develops.

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