BREAKING: Self-help guru James Arthur Ray arrested, charged with three counts of manslaughter

Let’s hope that it took so long because of a thorough, professional investigation:

Motivational speaker charged in sweat lodge deaths
Wednesday, February 3, 2010; 10:28 PM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — 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 later led into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes and a dark jacket. His bond was set at $5 million, and his first court hearing was scheduled Thursday.

Ray’s attorneys said Wednesday he surrendered to authorities but that the charges were unjust and they were confident he would be exonerated in court. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 12 1/2 years on each count.

“This was a terrible accident, but it was an accident, not a criminal act,” Ray attorney Luis Li said. “James Ray cooperated at every step of the way, providing information and witnesses to the authorities showing that no one could have foreseen this accident.”

You only need to read some of the coverage I’ve given to this murderous narcissist’s behavior both before and after the sweat lodge deaths to see through his lawyers’ bullcrap. He deserves to get the book thrown at him.

ADD: Nothing on his website yet. But there is a posting there from a few days ago asking people to read his interview in ‘New York’ magazine where he defends himself against the accusations of criminal negligence and discusses, up to the point that his lawyers step in, what occurred:

Did you tell sweat-lodge participants that vomiting was good for them, that the body was purging what it doesn’t want?

I may have mentioned that I had been told by many shamans that the body purges and there’s only certain ways that it can purge. Obviously, you know the bodily functions, so there’s only certain ways that things exit the body.

james ray websiteWhat did you do after making sure 911 was called?

I did everything I could to help. There was a medical doctor there, and I was having her make sure that everything was being run appropriately. I held people’s hands, I stroked their hair, I talked to them, I held IV for the paramedics. I was there the entire time doing whatever I could do to help until I was detained by the detectives.

One of your former employees, Melinda Martin, has said that you did nothing to help. Where was she when you were helping?

She was performing CPR, which she was trained to do. And I was there behind her at one time until I was asked to go look for a defibrillator.

You’ve been quoted as saying, in the tent, “You’re not going to die. You might think you are, but you’re not going to die.” Did you say that?

I think those statements have been—in fact, I don’t think, I know those statements have been taken completely out of context. There’s no one who would say that I was talking literally. If you look at the Judeo-Christian tradition, it’s full of references to death and rebirth. In fact, the apostle Paul, who was pretty much the founder of Christianity post-Jesus’s death, said, “I die daily.” Now, did he really mean that literally? No, of course not. What is meant there is that, you know, you let go of the things that no longer serve you and you move forward. You know, from a physical perspective, a lot of times people running a foot race will be completely winded and say, “God, I feel like I’m going to die,” but do they mean that literally? No, absolutely not.

As linked above, you can read in multiple posts how he presented the ‘Spiritual Warrior’ retreat as some opportunity to ‘die’ your current self and bring out a new one. So if he was telling people who were passing out and puking they weren’t going to die, it had to be in the literal sense. He’s lying.

Nonetheless, he was linking to the interview at the top of his website, so he must have thought he’d done a pretty good job of handling the issues and deflecting blame. He was wrong.