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Ariz. sweat lodge self-help guru sent to jail

November 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The self-help author convicted of negligent homicide in three sweat lodge deaths in Arizona is on his way to prison.

A judge sentenced James Arthur Ray to two years behind bars and ordered him to pay more than $57,000 in restitution.

Ray was behind a 2009 sweat lodge purification ceremony in Arizona that led to the deaths.

Neither prosecutors nor the families believed the sentence was sufficient for a man who they say ratcheted up the heat in the October 2009 sweat lodge to dangerous levels, ignored pleas for help and watched as participants were dragged out of the sweat lodge.

He apologized to the victims' families, saying he would have stopped the ceremony if he had known anyone was showing signs of distress.

Ray will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence. That comes out to almost 600 days, taking into account the credit he received for 24 days served. That's roughly the amount of time he's been out of jail on bond since his arrest early last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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