Three arrested for role in Quebec spa treatment death
Published Friday, July 27, 2012 10:32AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 27, 2012 10:46AM EDT
Three people have been arrested for their role in a controversial spa treatment that led to the death of a Quebec mother of two.
Chantal Lavigne, 35, died last year after undergoing what’s called sweat therapy at a spa near Drummondville.
It was supposed to be a form of spiritual cleansing, involving heavy sweating. Participants are wrapped in mud and plastic sheets and sweat for up to nine hours.
It was too much for Lavigne, 35, who died in the process. A coroner ruled she essentially baked to death.
On Thursday, the Surete du Quebec arrested Gabrielle Frechette, 53, and two associates, Ginette Duclos, 63, and Gerald Fontaine in connection with Lavigne’s death, CTV Montreal’s Stephane Giroux reported.
They face charges including criminal negligence causing death. The three made a brief court appearance in Drummondville and were released on bail on the condition they suspend their practice of sweating therapy.
Frechette’s lawyer Denis Lavigne said she travelled the world to study with shamans and she knew what she was doing, Girouxreported
Lavigne’s widow, Patrick Neault, warned others from trying such a treatment.
“Just be careful, whatever you get into. Don’t sign these stupid papers that give the rights to the other people to do whatever they want with your life.”
The case might be unique in Quebec, but it is not a first.
In October 2009, three people died in a similar so-called purification through sweating therapy in Arizona. Therapy provider James Arthur Ray was later found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide.
Gabrille Frechette was said to have continued offering the sweating therapies right up until her arrest Thursday, Giroux reported.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Stephane Giroux