Motivational speaker charged in sweat lodge deaths
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Authorities have charged motivational speaker James Arthur Ray with three counts of manslaughter for deaths that happened after a sweat lodge ceremony he led in northern Arizona last year.
Yavapai County, Ariz., sheriff's officials say Ray was arrested Wednesday afternoon and was to be booked into the county's jail in Camp Verde. His bond is set at $5 million.
The Oct. 8 ceremony was supposed to be the highlight of Ray's five-day "Spiritual Warrior" event at a retreat he rented near Sedona. Between 55 and 65 people took part.
Authorities say Ray encouraged participants to stay inside the sauna-like sweat lodge even as they began feeling ill, vomiting and passing out.
Three died and 18 others were hospitalized.
Ray's attorneys have argued the deaths do not warrant criminal charges.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)