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Sweat lodge deaths, family of victim working to make industry safer

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - He's been out of prison for less than a year, now James Arthur Ray is back in the self help business.

Ray was convicted of negligent homicide for the deaths of three people in a Sedona sweat lodge.

One of his first events will be in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The family of Kirby Brown has started an organization that promotes safety in the self-help industry. They are not thrilled to hear that James Ray is getting back into that industry.

"The decision to come here to Sedona was a difficult one," said Virginia Brown.

Virginia Brown is back in the city where her daughter Kirby died. This time she's returned to try and prevent another tragedy.

"What we learned after this horrible incident is that the industry has not credentialing, no oversight, no regulations of any kind, so they can pretty much do whatever they want," said Brown.

Brown and her husband founded the organization Seek Safely. They're asking to speakers and self-help guru's to sign a pledge, in which they promise to maintain certain standards in their programs. The first summit is Friday in Sedona.

"This is not about bashing the self-help industry, it is really about saying looking to grow and expand your life is awesome, it is great, and we celebrate that. Kirby was a great seeker all through her life, we celebrated and encouraged that, but we are champions of safe self-help.

Ray was convicted in the death of 3 people who died during a sweat lodge ceremony at one of his retreats.

He was released from prison last July and now he has an event planned in Scottsdale this August.  The cost, about $500 for a two day seminar.

"He still refers to what happened in Sedona in 2009, an accident," said Brown.

"If he doesn't understand that his actions in the course of that week, and in the tent, and outside of the lodge made death inevitable, then I think he is still dangerous," she said.

James Arthur Ray has been asked to sign the promise, but to date he has not.

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