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Self-Help Guru Convicted of Negligent Homicide in Sweat Lodge Deaths

Posted Jun 23, 2011 6:22 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Self-help guru James Arthur Ray has been convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people during a sweat-lodge ceremony.

Arizona jurors rejected more serious manslaughter charges, according to several news outlets, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters.

Participants in the “spiritual warrior” seminar had paid as much as $10,000 to attend and had signed waivers acknowledging the risk of death. Prosecutors had claimed Ray urged attendees to ignore physical distress experienced in the sweltering lodge as he urged them to overcome their limitations. Ray’s lawyers had argued rat poison or toxic substances outside the lodge may have contributed to the deaths.

A civil case against the owners of the property where the ceremony was held settled in May.

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