Thursday, October 29, 2009

Former Kanakuk Kamp director Pete Newman court appearance scheduled for today

Former Kanakuk Kamp director Pete Newman, facing four felony sex charges involving underage boys, will be back in court today, according to Taney County Circuit Court online records.

Newman is scheduled for a 10 a.m. bond appearance hearing and "criminal setting," according to Newman is being represented by Springfield attorney Tom Carver. Newman has been free on $50,000 bond after waiving his arraignment and pleading not guilty Sept. 15.

The allegations against Newman were outlined in Taney Count court documents. From the Sheriff's Department's investigative report:

"Between 2005 and 2008, Pete Newman became a close friend of his by attending family dinners, sleepovers, bible studies, taking vacations together and writing letters. Pete would hold one-on-one sessions with (the boy) in Pete's hot tub (at Pete's residence) and would request they be naked. Pete would discuss life's struggles with (him) and talk about masturbation. Pete would explain that if (the boy) would masturbate with him in his hot tub then there would be no lust and therefore (the boy) would not be sinning."

The boy told Roberts he and Newman masturbated together 10 times over a four-year period.

The sex went further than masturbation with another teenager, according to the report. After beginning with the masturbation sessions with the 13-year-old, the report said, "Pete started masturbating (the boy) and (the boy) would then masturbate Pete." That led to oral sex when the boy turned 15.

Newman allegedly used the hot tub trick on a 14-year-old, again resulting in mutual masturbation sessions.

When the Sheriff's Department began contacting former campers from other states, they heard more disturbing stories. Parents from Tennessee told the deputy their son, who was 14 at the time, reported engaging in the same type of activity with Newman.

Roberts described Newman's tactics, saying Newman became close to boys aged 11 to 15, hung out with them, gained their parents' trust, then beginning slowly with the hot tub and leading to sexual experiences. Roberts referred to it as "the grooming process" used by sexual offenders.

More charges may be in the offing against Newman, according to the Crime Scene blog, which recently quoted Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell as saying that tips have been received concerning more crimes that may have been committed by Newman.

It also appears likely that Newman and Kanakuk will soon be involved in civil lawsuits. As noted in the Oct. 26 Turner Report, a national law firm, Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris is looking for alleged victims:

From the law firm's website:

According to court documents, on June 8, 2009, Joe White received a signed letter from Newman, confessing to multiple acts of sexual misconduct with former campers and offering an apology. Shortly before the September warrant was issued, Joe White made a statement that it had been known since March 2009 that Newman allegedly “engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with adolescent boys, including some who had been Kanakuk Kampers.” There are allegations that the camp organization has known about Newman’s improper conduct for many years and failed to acknowledge it. Sexual abuse lawyers at Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris are accepting cases involving accusations of inappropriate conduct or possible sexual abuse at Kanakuk camps. All inquiries will be handled in a discreet and confidential manner.

If you or your child were victimized by Pete Newman, we want to help. When you contact us, you will immediately be able to speak with one of our experienced lawyers, and your conversation will be confidential. We have experience in these cases dealing with very emotional and private situations. We can help you. For a discreet and confidential consultation please contact Ernest Cory or Tara Henderson at or call toll-free (800) 852-6299.


(Randy Turner's book, Newspaper Days, is available at


Anonymous said...

Well Mr. Pete-O-Phile, we are waiting to see if you will be TRUTHFUL today...

Be careful not to tell God how repentant you are, then go LIE to the court....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Randy,
There are a lot of us following this case from all over the country and I am grateful to you and your blog for providing such great coverage. Please continue to keep us posted on today's events as you are able.

Anonymous said...

what is the website for the taney county courthouse? you posted it when this story was released. It showed the charges and future court dates. I am unable to find it.

Randy said...

I don't believe I ever posted a link to the Taney County Courthouse, but where court cases, including this one, can be found can be located at

Anonymous said...

does anyone know what happened in court yesterday?