Sedona sweat lodge survivor still suffers

Print
Email
|

by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on March 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 15 at 8:58 PM

CAMP VERDE - As self-help speaker James Arthur Ray's manslaughter trial enters its third week, survivors of his deadly 2009 sweat lodge in Sedona continue taking the stand.

Stephen Ray, no relation to the defendant, told another tale of terror during proceedings Tuesday afternoon in the Camp Verde courtroom.

Stephen Ray told jurors he had a fear of sweat lodges but followed James Ray in because he trusted him. He quickly became overwhelmed by the heat, but felt compelled to stay inside.

Ray says that when he started to overheat, he tried to crawl out but blacked out. He woke up later in the hospital's intensive care unit.

At prosecutor Sheila Polk's urging, Stephen Ray told the jury he hasn't been the same since. He hears ringing in his ears and has headaches.

"I have good days and bad days with my thinking," Ray explained to the jury, "Sometimes I can't think of simple words. Sometimes I have trouble recognizing people I know."

He attributes the complications to the sweat lodge.

James Arthur Ray pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charges. His attorneys call the situation a tragedy, and say the deaths were accidental, not criminal.  They'll cross-examine Stephen Ray as the trial continues.
 

Print
Email
|