Self-help guru in Ariz. sweat lodge deaths is paroled

2013-07-13T00:00:00Z Self-help guru in Ariz. sweat lodge deaths is paroledThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

An author who saw his self-help business crash after he led a sweat lodge ceremony that left three people dead was paroled from prison on Friday after serving nearly two years for negligent homicide convictions.

James Arthur Ray, 55, was freed from the state prison in Buckeye. Nothing in his conditions of release prohibits him from holding self-help seminars or conducting another sweat lodge ceremony, but his brother said Ray has no immediate plans to resurrect his business. However, Jon Ray didn't rule out the possibility, maintaining the deaths weren't his brother's fault.

The tragedy occurred after dozens of people traveled to a scenic retreat just outside Sedona in October 2009 for James Arthur Ray's "Spiritual Warrior" event.

The sweat lodge was touted as a chance for participants to have powerful breakthroughs.

When the ceremony was over, Kirby Brown, 38, of New York state and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee were dead, and 18 others injured. Liz Neuman, 49, of Minnesota, slipped into a coma and died later.

Prosecutors said Ray pushed the heat to dangerous levels and ignored pleas for help. He served 85 percent of the concurrent two-year terms for each death.

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