Self-Help Author Convicted in Sweat Lodge Deaths

James Arthur Ray Guilty of Negligent Homicide, Cleared of Manslaughter
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2011 6:11 PM CDT
This undated photo provided by the Neuman family shows Liz Neuman, who died at the sweat lodge.   (AP Photo/Neuman family photo)
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(Newser) – A self-help author has been convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people who attended one of his sweat lodge seminars. Jurors, however, acquitted James Arthur Ray of more serious manslaughter charges in the 2009 deaths in Arizona, reports CNN. The victims died in what Ray characterized as a spiritual cleansing ceremony, and another 15 people fell ill.

Prosecutors used Ray's own words against him, playing a recording of him warning participants that the sweat lodge would be "hellacious," notes AP. It would feel like they were dying, but they had to battle through it to become a true "spiritual warrior," he said in the recording. "You will have to get a point to where you surrender and it's OK to die." It's not clear yet how much jail time the best-selling author might face. Another phase of the trial resumes June 28. (Read more sweat lodge stories.)

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