James Ray was crying when he was sentenced to two years in an Arizona jail- not because he was sorrowful for the deaths of three of his cult followers, but because he was losing his freedom. His brother told the press that James Ray is looking forward to “helping people in prison.”
From the HuffPo here:
A self-help author’s acknowledgement that he was responsible for the deaths of three people in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony was something the victims’ family members had hoped for long ago. But the court action wasn’t about apologies for them; it was about accountability.
As James Arthur Ray stood before them and tearfully begged for forgiveness Friday, Ray received two years for the deaths of Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y.; James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee; and Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn.
Ray said he would have stopped the ceremony had he known people were dying or in distress. But he offered no excuses for his lack of action as chaos unfolded outside the structure at a retreat near Sedona.
“At the end of the day, I lost three friends, and I lost them on my watch,” Ray said, standing before the victims’ families. “Whatever errors in judgment or mistakes I have made, I’m going to have to live with those for the rest of my life. I truly understand your disappointment in my actions after, I do. I’m disappointed in myself.”
Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow gave Ray three, two-year sentences to be served concurrently and ordered him to pay more than $57,000 in restitution.
Ray will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence. That comes out to almost 600 days.
Authorities immediately took custody of Ray, who will serve his time with the state Department of Corrections.
“We were fortunate enough to meet with James after the sentencing,” said his brother, Jon Ray. “He was in good spirits and said this would give him the opportunity to help people in prison that need it.”
Neuman’s daughter, Andrea Puckett, said she doesn’t believe Ray grasps his role in the deaths, despite his apology and called the sentence a joke. “It’s very frightening the control he has over people and his mentality,” she said. “That’s not going to change.“
James Ray wasn’t standing a watch. He was running a cult using a mix of stolen mysticism from eastern religions, American Indian traditions and new age claptrap. He charged his cult members hundreds of thousands of dollars for sessions that put them in grave physical danger and it was sheer luck he managed not to kill more people prior to the sweat lodge manslaughter.
Andrea Puckett is right. James Ray still thinks that he was doing some type of religious benefit instead of fleecing his victims. And the fact that he is looking forward to prison because he thinks prisoners need his spiritual guidance shows that Ray is delusional- he is buying his own brand of bullshit.