James Arthur Ray Archive

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Insurance companies settled sweat lodge lawsuits for $3M

Insurance providers for James Arthur Ray, the self-help author convicted of negligent homicide in the 2009 deaths of three people during a sweat-lodge ceremony in Arizona, have agreed to pay the victims’ families more than $3 million.

The Associated Press writes

James Arthur Ray began serving a two-year sentence last month on a trio of negligent homicide convictions. The terms of the settlements reached last year recently were disclosed in court documents filed as exhibits in Ray’s criminal case and released Friday at the request of The Associated Press.

The families of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman, sued Ray after the October 2009 ceremony near Sedona. The lawsuits accused Ray and his company of negligence, fraud and wrongful death. Others who were injured in the ceremony also were party to the lawsuit. […]

Other cases against Ray are pending.

The Daily Mail says

Autopsy reports showed that 38-year-old Kirby Brown and 40-year-old James Shore died of heat stroke and were pronounced dead when they arrived at the hospital.

Liz Neuman’s organs shut down due to hypothermia and prolonged sweat lodge exposure.

The forty-nine year old never regained consciousness and died a week later.

In money provided not by Ray himself but his insurers, Mr Brown’s parents received nearly $860,000 in their settlement.

$1.38 million went to Mr Shore’s family.

Ms Neuman’s family got more than $1 million to settle the claims.

Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times reports

The Beverly Hills-area home of self-help guru James Arthur Ray has sold for $3.015 million. […]

Ray had purchased the more than 7,000-square-foot house [in 2009] for $4 million.

Self-help guru James Arthur Ray gets 2 years in sweat lodge deaths

James Arthur Ray, a self-help expert convicted in the deaths of three people who succumbed to extreme heat of an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony in 2009, was sentenced Friday to two years in prison.

The families of three people who participated in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony tearfully pleaded with a judge to give James Arthur Ray, the self-help author convicted in their deaths the maximum sentence.

CNN says

Ray had been convicted on three counts of negligent homicide for the three deaths that happened as a result of the ceremony in Sedona, Arizona. He faced up to three years in prison on each count.

The Associated Press writes

Ray’s motivational mantra drew dozens of people to Sedona in October 2009 where they participated in a sweat lodge ceremony meant to purify their bodies.

The participants began showing signs of distress about halfway through the two-hour ceremony, and three died.

Ray insisted the deaths were a tragic accident. But a jury found him guilty on three counts of negligent homicide, rejecting the more serious charges of manslaughter.

The Arizona Republic says

During the trial, Ray’s attorneys had tried to characterize the deaths as a tragic, unavoidable accident, and had tried to persuade jurors that some unknown toxin might have caused the deaths. But jurors didn’t buy it, as several said in subsequent media interviews.

Judge Darrow had limited prosecutors’ efforts to introduce testimony about prior sweat lodges and other events led by Ray at which participants were injured; but after releasing the jury, in the pre-sentencing phase, Darrow allowed greater latitude to both sides.

Prosecutors aggressively made the case that Ray had ignored plenty of warning signs that his events were becoming dangerous, and that his stated desire to become the world’s first “self-help” billionaire led him to become increasingly careless at his events, a contention contested by Ray’s defense team.