Self-styled spiritual guru James Arthur Ray has been arrested and charged with three counts of manslaughter for a trio of deaths which happened after a sweat lodge ceremony in 2009. “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.’ The Oct. 8 sweat lodge ceremony was intended to be the highlight of Ray’s five-day ‘Spiritual Warrior’ event at a retreat he rented near Sedona. He told participants, who paid more than $9,000 each to attend, that it would be one of the most intense experiences of their lives.”
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