Many who know Newman say they are shocked. Fayetteville's K-Life Director Richard Cole used to work closely with Newman, and says he never suspected anything. "I've just been around him often, so truth be told, he was a guy I admired a ton. It's hard. It's really hard. Their policies have always been very tight on how we interact with kids, especially on a physical level. I mean, it's no nonsense." Former camper and camp photographer Barkley Beers says, "it was actually a shock when I heard that. I loved the counselors. They were energetic and fun, and just great influences." Abbie Walden is currently a counselor for Kanakuk in the summer. She says, "people have been so hurt by this, because they've put, they've seen him as the Lord, almost, as God, and he's not God." Former counselor and Neuman's friend Lee Morton says, "I did work with Pete ten years ago. It was a positive experience, and so when I heard about this, it was devastating to me. I know that God has used Kanakuk Kamps in the lives of many children, and I think he will continue to do that despite the situation. It's sad that it had to affect so many people before it came into the light." But some like Beers still plan on sending their kids to Kanakuk. "Even with this coming up, I'll still send her. I mean, I had so much fun there. It was just a great experience, and I want her to have that experience." Former camp counselors say they hope that these allegations don't cast a negative light on Kanakuk Kamps, a camp they still feel is trustworthy. Kanakuk officials say they are tightening their already strict hiring policies, background checks, and personal interviews.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Arkansas residents share thoughts on Pete Newman
In this report from KFSM in Northwest Arkansas, residents express their thoughts about former Kanakuk Kamp director Pete Newman, who is free on nearly half a million dollars bond after being charged with seven felony sex crimes involving underage boys: