James Ray Gives "Laughable" 50 Percent Refund to Sweat Lodge Victim's Family


NEW YORK (CBS/AP) - James Arthur Ray, the new age guru whose Sedona, Ariz. sweat-lodge ceremony may have caused three deaths, sent one victim's family a check for $5,000, about half the participation fee for the event, the family told CNN's Larry King on Monday night.

Photo: James Arthur Ray.Ray has become a self-help superstar by packaging his charismatic personality and the promise of financial wealth through spiritual awakening. He uses free seminars to recruit people to expensive seminars like the Sedona retreat that led to the sweat-lodge tragedy.Ray has not said exactly how much he made at the ceremony held at the Angel Valley Retreat, but if each of the more than 50 participants paid around $9,000, Ray would have taken in almost half a million dollars.Ray's press agent would not tell Crimesider how much, if any, of that money, was refunded.Ray told participants that the sweat lodge ceremony would be one of the most intense experiences of their lives. Ultimately, that experience left Kirby Brown and two others dead."We had to bring her body east. We had to bury her," Virginia Brown said. "Nothing is going to bring her back."PICTURES: Sweat Lodge DeathsMORE ON CRIMESIDEROctober 26, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Guru James Arthur Ray: From Poor Childhood to Self-Help Millionaire
October 26, 2009 - Sweat-Lodge Deaths Won't Stop James Arthur Ray, No Mention of $9,000 Per Person Pricetag
October 23, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Hero? Victim May Have Saved Woman Before Dying, Says Participant Beverley Bunn
October 21, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Survivor Beverley Bunn Says James Arthur Ray Played God Before Deadly Ending
October 18, 2009 - Third Death from Sweat Lodge Ceremony Led by James Arthur Ray
October 16, 2009 - Self-Help Guru James Arthur Ray in Crosshairs of Angel Valley Sweat Lodge Homicide Investigation
October 15, 2009 - Desperate 911 Call: First Glimpse Into Angel Valley Sweat Lodge Deaths
October 13, 2009 - Angel Valley Sweat Lodge Deaths: Owner Didn't Have Permits
October 12, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Death Investigation Turns to Self-Help Guru James Arthur Ray
October 12, 2009 - Family Says New Yorker Kirby Brown was in Great Shape before Mysterious Sweat Lodge Death
October 9, 2009 - Angel Valley Resort: Two Dead, Many Hospitalized in Sedona Sweat Lodge Illness