Sweat Lodge Survivor Files Lawsuit; Claims Ray Barred Escape Before She Passed Out
A survivor of the "Spiritual Warrior" sweat lodge retreat has filed a lawsuit against the organizer of the event, self-help guru James Arthur Ray.
Sidney Spencer claims that Ray, along with unnamed employees, were negligent in not letting participants leave the sweat lodge when they became uncomfortable,and that he and the employees intimidated people into staying in the lodge despite the heat and fumes.
The suit claims that Ray "ignored [Spencer] even after she lost consciousness in the sweat lodge" and failed to provide her with timely medical care. Spencer is also claiming that Ray conducted the ceremony without a licensed health provider and failed to install a temperature-monitoring device.
Reports of the incident from survivors claim that Ray sat in the door of the sweat tent and kept people from leaving, despite knowing that people were falling ill and asking to leave.
After the incident, Ray left Sedona without talking to police and returned to his home in California, where he continued conducting his self-help seminars and events. However, last week, Ray seemed to have a change in heart and announced he would be postponing all events to focus on finding out what caused the tragedy in Sedona.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.