Sidney Spencer, Sweat Lodge Survivor Suing James Arthur Ray
Sidney Spencer, one of the Sweat Lodge survivors from the Arizona Angel Valley Resort incident earlier this month, is now suing the movtivational speaker James Arthur Ray as she nearly died from kidney and liver failure. Three people did die from being in a makeshift sweat lodge for about two hours, and 19 people fell ill.
Sidney Spencer paid $9,000 to attend the retreat led by James Arthur Ray, in which he promised that his participants would be cleansed from sitting in a sweat hut.
"Mr. Ray created a death trap," Spencer's attorney, Ted Schmidt, told "Good Morning America" today. "And created a heat environment in that sweat lodge that was intolerable for human beings."
James Arthur Ray has not commented on the incident, but other participants in the sweat lodge said they were screaming how they needed water and many were vomiting. They say that Ray told them 'vomiting cleanses the body' and told them they had to remain inside the tent.
Kirby Brown and James Shore were two of the people that died at the sweat lodge. Liz Neuman was in a coma after the incident but died over a week later.
Another survivor, Beverly Bunn, told the AP that Ray said everyone needed to stay in the tent, even though they were vomiting after the first hour. Ray couldn't contain them inside but he would chide anyone who wanted to leave.
Bunn told the AP she remembered hearing another person inside the tent trying to alert the group that one woman was having physical problems, saying, "I can't get her to move. I can't get her to wake up."
According to Bunn, Ray responded, "Leave her alone. She'll be dealt with in the next round."
The session inside the lodge was divided in to 15 minute sections, after which more heated rocks were brought inside. When the corner of the tent was lifted to let in light and fresh air, Ray asked who was committing a 'sacrilegious act'.
The people that died were apparently in excellent health.
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Columbia, South Carolina, United States