January 30, 2016 11:51 am

Jail terms for 3 convicted in spa sweating death

Gabrielle Frechette was sentenced Friday to three years behind bars, while Ginette Duclos and Gerald Fontaine were given two-year terms for their role in the death of Chantal Lavigne in 2011. Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

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DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Three Quebecers are going to prison for their role in the extreme-sweating death of a woman who was wrapped in mud and cellophane at a spa.

Chantal Lavigne was rushed to hospital in serious condition in July 2011 along with another woman who was suffering from serious vomiting at the farmhouse spa.

Gabrielle Frechette was sentenced Friday to three years behind bars, while Ginette Duclos and Gerald Fontaine were given two-year terms.

They were found guilty in December 2014 of criminal negligence causing death.

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Frechette was considered a spiritual guide and organized the personal-growth seminar in Durham-Sud, while Duclos and Fontaine were her assistants.

During the fatal session, participants were plastered with mud, wrapped in a plastic sheet and a blanket and had their heads covered with cardboard boxes for nine hours. A coroner described the process as the equivalent of being cooked alive.

In her 2014 decision, Quebec court Judge Helene Fabi wrote that the accused acted in a dangerous way that violated “reasonable rules of conduct.”

“The evidence shows without a reasonable doubt that the actions showed a wanton and reckless disregard for the lives or safety of the victims,” Fabi wrote.

She said the danger of the activity was amplified because it was done on a hot and humid summer day “while the participants were swaddled in several extra layers and, moreover, had their heads
enclosed in a very restricted air space.”

None of the participants in the sweating sessions were asked about their state of health beforehand.

Lavigne was suffering from severe dehydration when she arrived in hospital, where she later died after her organs shut down one by one.

Several other participants also became ill.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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