Friday, March 11, 2011
Second lawsuit filed against Pete Newman, Kanakuk; family of abused Texas child also names Joe White as defendant
A lawsuit filed in federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas says Kanakuk President Joe White kept Pete Newman on staff working with children even after 1999 and 2003 incidents in which Newman was cavorting in the nude with the children.
Newman is serving two life sentences, plus 30 years, after pleading guilty last year to several sex crimes involving teenage boys.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Texas child by his parents. The father of the child says White,a nationally known Christan motivational speaker, encouraged him to send his son to Kanakuk Kamp in Branson following a speech at a Promise Keepers meeting in Irving, Texas.
"Defendant Joe T. White appeared and lectured at a Promise Keepers event at Texas Stadium in Irvin Texas. (The father) attended this event and heard (his) presentation advocating Christian values." White spoke of Kanakuk Kamp and distributed literature, and later sent letters and Internet messages to him, his wife, and other parents encouraging them to send their children to the Missouri camp.
When their son was sent to the camp, the lawsuit said, Pete Newman, the camp director, sexually molested him, "appearing nude with an erection in a hot tub for Bible studies with (the boy) as Newman masturbated himself, he masturbated (the boy) and had the boy masturbate him."
The abuse also included games of naked truth or dare, and having the boy spend the night in Newman's living quarters, where he was sexually abused.
"At other times, Defendant Newman's inappropriate behavior and sexual abuse of (the boy) occurred in the presence of other Kanakuk Kamp personnel." The child was in the camp during the summers of 2005-2007. The lawsuit also names Kanakuk Ministries, Kanakuk Kamp, and every other name by which Kanakuk has been called as defendants.
"Newman used his position at Kanakuk Kamps as a means to abuse children such as John Doe I (as the boy is referred to throughout the petition) by developing the children's trust and friendship. This, coupled with Newman's mantle of authority as a dircctor of Kanakuk Kamps, allowed Newman to sexually abuse and molest multiple boys through masturbation, oral sex, and sodomy."
The lawsuit charges that White and Kanakuk Ministries "had every reason to know Newman, a sexual predator, was operating freely in the Kanakuk Kamps and placing young boys at risk for sexual abuse and molestation and the lifelong burdens that childhood sexual abuse creates."
The petition goes into specifics about White's prior knowledge of Newman's perversions:
"At least as early as 1999, Defendant Joe T. White, Kanakuk Ministries and/or Kanakuk Heritage, Inc. knew that Newman, in the nude, was riding four-wheelers at the 'kamp' with nude 'kampers,' who were minor children entrusted to the care of Defendants. In response to this sexually inappropriate behavior, Newman was placed on probation."
That was not the last time Newman's perverted antics were known to White and Kanakuk officials, the lawsuit charges. "In or about 2003, a nude Defendant Newman was streaking through the 'kamp' property with nude minor 'kampers.' Although this conduct came to the attention of Defendants Joe T. White, Kanakuk Ministries, and/or Kanakuk, Heritage, Inc., again Newman remained on staff in easy reach of his future victims, including John Doe I."
The petition charges White and Kanakuk officials with negligence in allowing Newman anywhere near children. John Doe I "suffered injuries that have required and will continue to require medical and psychological care. The childhood sexual abuse of John Doe I in the context of what was purported to be Christian ministry further complicates his injuries and treatment.
White and Kanakuk are also charged with fraud, misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive practices, negligent infliction of emotional distress. The parents are asking for medical expenses, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees and are requesting a jury trial.
The petition indicates they are asking for a figure "in excess of $75,000."
The parents and son are being represented by the Turley Law Firm of Dallas.
The lawsuit is the second to be filed against Newman and Kanakuk, and the first to be filed against Joe White individually.
The first lawsuit, filed Jan. 31 in Taney County Circuit Court, charges officials at the Christian sports camp Kanakuk with fraud for allowing Pete Newman to masquerade as a role model at the same time he was molesting scores of underage boys. The petition was filed on behalf of a Little Rock man who was only 12 years old when Newman allegedly began grooming him.
Among the allegations in that petition:
-Kanakuk officials had received sexual misconduct reports about Pete Newman as early as 1999. (He remained in Kanakuk's employ until 2009.)
-Kanakuk's cost-saving policies encouraged employees recruiting campers in the off-season to stay with families, providing opportunities for Newman to zero in on potential victims.
-Kanakuk promoted Newman as a "camp director, devoted husband, loving, beloved friend and mentor to youth" long after being made aware of sexual misconduct allegations. Camp officials also allowed Newman to "continue to promote himself all over America as an expert on teenage sexual purity."
-Newman had one-on-one Bible studies with boys in his hot tub.
-Newman used his unrestricted access to Kanakuk facilities to lure underage boys to the facilities during the off-season for sexual purposes.
-Newman bombarded the plaintiff, referred to as "John Doe, J. G." in the petition with phone calls and letters and engaged in phone sex with him.
-Newman had sexual relations with boys in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. (Not mentioned was Colorado where Newman, who is currently serving two life sentences plus 30 years in a Missouri penitentiary, still faces charges.)
-At a "Purity Conference" in Memphis, Newman engaged a group of boys in sex talk, telling them what it was like to "have sex with a woman now that he was married."
-Newman invited the plaintiff to a conference in Oklahoma where he tried to get the boy to engage in sodomy, was turned down, and finally convinced him to engage in a mutual masturbation session.
According to the petition, the plaintiff was first seduced by Newman on Feb. 7, 2003, and then again the following day at K-Kountry in Taney County, at an area known as "The Pit," a foam pit next to the gymnastics equipment.
In the summer of 2003, the petition says, Newman lured the children with a yellow jeep into "spending time with him on Kanakuk property."
During the Purity Conference in Tennessee in 2004, Newman again engaged in a mutual masturbation session with the boy and then took advantage of him at the conference in Oklahoma in 2005, according to the lawsuit.
Kanakuk officials and Newman are charged with fraud, negligent supervision of a minor, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent infliction of emotional damage, breach of duty in loco parentis (serving in place of the parents) and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The petition indicates the plaintiff suffers from "severe depression and ongoing anxiety and that he is "psychologically confused and spiritually damaged by a person promoted to him by Kanakuk as a fole model."
The plaintiff in the Missouri case is asking for a jury trial.
(Thanks to Kathee Baird of the Crime Scene Blog for the tip and information.)
Previous Turner Report posts on the Pete Newman/Kanakuk sex scandal can be found at this link.