Controversial self-help guru tries for comeback after prison

Fox News 5, California/September 7, 2015

By Phil Blauer

San Diego -- Controversial self-help guru James Arthur Ray is on the lecture circuit again.

Ray is speaking at a question-and-answer event in Phoenix on Sept. 11.

In November 2011, Ray was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty in the 2009 deaths of three people during his Arizona sweat lodge ceremony.

The event will cost $197 to hear James Arthur Ray answer questions for four hours with no pitch or script at an undisclosed Phoenix hotel ballroom.

One Scripps Ranch woman who was once part of Ray’s inner circle does not believe his prison sentence has changed him one bit.

“I think he just got a little angrier and is set in his ways,” said Connie Joy.

Joy spent nearly three years participating and volunteering at Ray’s seminars and events. She said there were definite warning signs that she saw leading up to the October 2009 sweat lodge deaths.

Ray, who has his business based in the North County, was convicted of felony negligent homicide and spent two years in prison. His experience behind bars now forms the basis of his new self-help program.

“He’s trying to spin this that he had an accident with a few close friends and that he’s terribly sorry about it," Joy said. "These were clients. Their lives were in his hands, and he really abused that responsibility."

Joy, who wrote a book about her experiences with Ray, said he can be very charismatic, and that's why some seminar attendees didn't mind shelling out $10,000 to hear his messages.

“He’s a very good teacher. Unfortunately, I don’t trust him and what he says and what he claims are his credentials,” said Joy. “It’s unfortunate because he has a gift, but I don’t think he’s using it to his best.”

Joy added if she could have a moment with her former boss, who is trying to make a comeback to the self-help circuit, she would tell him he knows better and really needs to be doing something different.

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