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In October of 2009 as part of a self-help boot camp, world renowned motivator James Ray led his followers into his version of a Native American sweat lodge ceremony. In the outing near Sedona, Arizona, temperatures reached 120 degrees, and three people perished. Additionally, 19 others went to the hospital. Ray was found guilty of negligent homicide for the deaths, and spent 20 months in prison. In a story filed exclusive for "Piers Morgan Live," on Monday evening CNN’s Ted Rowlands provided the background information.
On Monday night, ex-con James Ray joined "Piers Morgan Live" for an exclusive interview, during which he opened up about the tragedy of a sweat lodge ritual accident that left three people dead.
On that horrific October day in 2009, Ray's successful career as a self-help guru quickly disintegrated, as the author would soon find himself in prison, serving 20 months for negligent homicide.
Now a free man, Ray spoke with Piers Morgan exclusively about the accident, the events that followed, and his time in prison, which he described as “humbling,” while offering details of his transformation into a member of an incarcerated society:
"When I first got there, Piers, I saw everyone else and then me. And then the longer I was there, I just saw us.”
Watch the clip above to hear Ray further discuss his time in prison, a sentence which followed the tragic events of a sweat lodge ceremony near Sedona, Arizona.
On Monday evening, "Piers Morgan Live" welcomed best-selling author and former self-help guru James Ray to join the program for his first interview since being released from prison following a 20 month sentence.
Convicted of negligent homicide for the deaths of three people following an incident at a sweat lodge in Arizona, Ray joined Piers Morgan in person, and sat dutifully across from the host while he read details of the allegations and testimonies.
Ray "sat by the tent door which remained sealed as chaos ensured, people were collapsing, vomiting, having trouble breathing, hallucinating, foaming at the mouth,” Morgan shared.
In response, Monday's guest claimed ignorance:
“Well, I didn’t know nor did anyone know that anyone was in a death – in a life or death situation,” he claimed.
The former motivational speaker continued by suggesting that what he witnessed in the sweat lodge was no different than the extreme physical conditions people experience during other trying physical events, offering marathons as an example.
Perplexed by Ray's lack of knowledge, Morgan asked his guest who was heading up the ceremony.
Ray admitted he was leading the event, saying “I was in charge to that degree.”
To hear more of James Ray’s insight as to what precisely took place at that sweat lodge near Sedona, Arizona, watch the clip above.