James Ray arrested, charged with three counts of manslaughter in Sedona sweat lodge debacle

James Ray mugshot 02.03.10 Prescott.jpgA few weeks ago, we discussed (1, 2) some of the drugs confiscated by authorities who searched the Sedona resort room occupied by self-help guru, James Ray, following the October 2009 deaths of three followers who paid nearly $10,000 each for his Spiritual Warrior retreat program.

Late this afternoon, Ray was arrested - the best news and supporting information continues to come from The Prescott (AZ) News, with a sidebar to the lower right of the story that links to their extensive timeline of coverage:

The Yavapai County Grand Jury returned a "true bill" on 3 counts of Manslaughter against Ray early this afternoon. The Yavapai County Superior Court issued a warrant for James Ray as a result of the indictment.

The warrant was served by YCSO detectives at Ray's attorney's office in Prescott and he was arrested around 3:30 P.M.

Sheriff Waugh would like to thank the victim's families for their patience while the Sheriff's Office completed a thorough and comprehensive investigation. The County Attorney's Office also provided assistance to YCSO detectives as they conducted hundreds of interviews and gathered evidence to support today's indictment. With the arrest of James Ray, Sheriff Waugh hopes the families of the three victims will now have some measure of closure to this tragedy.

Ray was transported to the Sheriff's Prescott Office to begin booking procedures. He will eventually be transferred to the Camp Verde Detention Center for final processing.

Ray's bond has been set at 5 million dollars.

Indeed, it is the families of the victims that deserve justice and some sense of closure.

If nothing else comes out of the tragic deaths of these three people, perhaps self-styled gurus will be on notice that their pocket-lining antics will fall under greater scrutiny and accountability.

Photo source: Prescott News

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Thank you, Yavapai County!

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 04 Feb 2010 #permalink

No more gurus! Health gurus, wealth gurus, spiritual gurus... PBS, hear my plea. This is a bad trend.

By Not the crazy one (not verified) on 04 Feb 2010 #permalink

It's easy to vilify Mr. Ray and applaud his arrest! Now, at least, he will be tried in court and made to face the consequences of his actions... but what of the REST of the self-help "industrial complex?"

I respectfully submit that we (consumers and producers of self-help) establish the âAssociation of Self-Help Professionalsâ or whatever name seems most appropriate to elevate the professional and protect the public.

All that is lacking now is the motivation and leadership. If you consider yourself a self-help expert OR if you are a consumer of self-help products, I urge you to consider working together to turn the Sedona Sweat Lodge deaths into a legacy that salutes the virtuous work of the earliest self-help experts like Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale and Dale Carneige, honors the efforts of legitimate, self-help professionals of today, and turns the deaths of those who died in the Sedona Sweat Lodge... Liz Neuman, Kirby Brown and James Shore into a legacy for the betterment of the self-help profession and society.

Any help you can provide in this regard would be greatly appreciated!

John Curtis, Ph.D.
Americans Against Self-Help Fraud

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it" - George Bernard Shaw

Cassandra Yorgey wrote The Top 9 Reasons James Ray Is Innocent:

1. Nuh-uh. People could too leave! Remember, there was that sacrilegious guy who snuck out the back of the death lodge!

2. Since when are various sliced citrus fruits and hoses not adequate medical care for cooking people to death? Since when, huh? I mean, it's more than I gave those people I covered in accelerant and threw on a bed of hot coals! No really, you don't hear them complaining about it now do you?

It's a good thing he'll have his "say" in court, it should show up his massive ego and arrogance. I'd like to know why these types of businesses are called "Self Help", there seems to me nothing "self" about it with the gurus taking all the money and doing all the talking. The participants seem to be no more than sheep.

@6 jre, dude we're already here.

There is a forum run by Native Americans who are tired of their traditions being used and abused by those they call Nuagers.

They have had a thread running since the incident occurred that has been interesting to read:

Their entire forum is pretty interesting to read. They have highly detailed information on many people in the US and abroad to claim NA heritage/blood/tribal connections who are nothing but frauds.

There is some interesting stuff on the newagefraud site, but they have also posted things which are indeed highly detailed, but *wildly* inaccurate - and extremely hurtful. It's great to read the site to open your mind, but don't believe everything you find there.

Just like you can't believe everything a self-help "guru" says...

By InTheWorld (not verified) on 07 Feb 2010 #permalink

I attended a 2-day $1,100 event with this man. James Ray is the son of an Oklahoma bible belt minister. He runs a whoop it up event hoping to get you dizzy and hand over your credit card. A large portion of each day was spent trying to upgrade you to the $9,000 and $18,000 events. He was ignored by girls and bullied by boys in High School. He need for attention is so great that he has 2 jumbotrons on either side during his talk. They include picures of him with Tony Robbins, at the Pyramids and lots of semi nude photos in body building poses. he does a doggie dance on stage which is little more than copulation. he tells everyone that he is not in a relationship but hopes to make love REAL SOON. he pitches the girls, bullies the boys and shakes money out of everyone. None of his ideas are his own nor does he practice them. His professional background is in sales and marketing. He states that money is a yard stick and your value to the planet can be measured by your tax return. I hope this huzter does serious time and is sued into poverty.

By William Dunlap (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink