Sunday, April 01, 2012

Kanakuk staff member arrested on sex charges

(For the latest update on the Kanakuk scandal, "A Godlike Man Named Joe, Sex With Underage Boys, And It's Not Penn State," go to this link.)


A $100,000 bond has been set for Lee Bradberry, 22, Auburn, Ala., the second Kanakuk Kamps staff member to be charged with felony sex crimes.

Online Taney County Circuit Court records indicate Bradberry faces two counts of statutory sodomy, two counts of child molestation, and single counts of sexual misconduct and attempted statutory sodomy, all allegedly taking place on June 21, 2011.

Conditions of Bradberry's bond include his having no contact with the underaged victims.

The charges, which were filed Friday, are the latest bad news to hit the Branson-based Kanakuk. Kanakuk was rocked in 2009 when one of its camp directors, Pete Newman, was arrested for committing several sex crimes against underage boys.

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.

Charges have also been filed against Newman in Durango, Colo. From the Durango Herald:

He is suspected of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust in La Plata County. He faces numerous charges in Missouri for allegedly sexually assaulting boys, and other states are considering similar charges.

Newman was employed as a director with Kanakuk Kamps for about 10 years. The incident in La Plata County occurred in September 2008 at Kanakuk's K-Colorado campus near Vallecito. The local children's camp is now under new name and ownership.

Kanakuk Kamps hosts a variety of Christian summer camps for boys and girls between ages 7 and 18.

The Sheriff's Office declined to say whether the alleged victim in Colorado is a local resident. The agency is trying to determine whether there are more victims, said Investigator Sam Eggleston.
The Colorado charges were dropped after Newman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two life terms in prison. The accompanying video shows Newman speaking at his sentencing.


Newman's guilty plea did not end the problems for Kanakuk officials. The first lawsuit, filed Jan. 31, 2011, 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 role model."



No trial date has been set.


Two months later, a second lawsuit was filed, this time in U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Texas child by his parents. The father of the child says Kanakuk CEO Joe 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 director 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."

That case is scheduled to go to trial in the summer of 2013.


***


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44 comments:

Ross said...

I shudder to give the Pete Newman tragedy any credit at all, but the preliminary reports suggest that 1) this sicko abused these kids and 2) the kids felt like they could report it right away. Apparently in the wake of Pete's deal, they've started explaining to campers what to do if something like this happens and empowering them to speak up. I hope that these are the only victims, and the fact that they had the courage to bring these issues to light (and were BELIEVED) helps them recover from this awful event. And that this guy rots in a cell across from his hero.

Anonymous said...

Ross,

These aren't the only victims. We tried to tell you that. Are the scales gone yet?

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with this place?

Anonymous said...

Ross, You do realize that the victims of Newman are old enough to have found this blog by now, and read it? Some of your previous commentary has been really glib and is hurtful to the victims & families. And, you do realize this Bradbury guy is in the right age range to be one of Pete's victims, right? One of the only things you see is that "they've" started explaining to campers what to do if something like this happens and empowering them to speak up? How about this, the PARENTS are wising up to Joe White's fanciful lies. PARENTS are warning their kids, even though they were willing to return to Kanakuk. Some were still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure that's about to change.

Anonymous said...

It's sad for me to see this happening at Kanakuk. When I heard about Pete Newman my heart dropped because he was well known and a very convincing speaker/person. I worked 4 full summers at Kanakuk during the time he was there and never would've thought anything like this could happen. Understand, I think those responsible should be held accountable for their actions whether it's Joe or not. I can't speak for him but I know Joe to be a good man. How much he knew, I don't know. I do want to point out that Kanakuk employs thousands of great people and that the actions of few seem to be speaking for the whole. From those of us who worked at Kanakuk who held true Christian values, driven to change kids hearts for the better, I apologize to the victims. There is no excuse for what happened to you. My hope is that a place where so much good has taken place doesn't fall due to the actions of these men.

Anonymous said...

A heartbreaking story for sure! Kids losing their innocence. I can't attest to what Joe White did or did not know. I can however say that as a member of the Church he attends and has spoken at, I have never seen someone so sincere and having such a love of Christ and all things good. Kanakuk is a massive company with which I am friends with quite a few of the counselors and camp leaders. Not all are bad and the camp as a whole I feel did have good intentions. Unfortunately some bad judgment calls were made and could have been prevented much earlier than what they were.

Anonymous said...

Why, after Pete Newman were the employees not being background checked and monitored closely. No excuse.

Ross said...

8:26 - Please provide an example of how my "previous commentary" was "hurtful." Simply attacking me because I am willing to post with my name is neither fruitful nor honorable.

I simply think that it's hopeful that these boys were brave enough and felt safe enough to tell someone about this terrible abuse.

Anonymous said...

@ Ross-

Your last several legal analysis posts have been read by victims and families. Those aren't objective, and although the legal decisions sway to the victims...your take seems to tilt to the camp. That's hurtful.

Do you get, yet, what we've been trying to tell you for the last few years? There is much more to this story, that will come out...on the record, in a court of law, objectively. Joe White has used good, honest, professional people like you to represent him in the court of public opinion. You've been used, Ross. So have many others. Some of those others sent their children to camp in the summer of 2011, and 3 more boys were harmed.

Wes Neal said...

I have been affiliated with Kankauk in one way or another for over thirty years (as a parent, speaker and now as a grandparent).

During the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the city of Atlanta was publicized as the safest place on earth. So many law enforcement agents were roaming the city, you could walk downtown any hour of the day or night and feel safe.

However, in spite of all that security, someome still managed to explode a bomb that grabbed the attention away from all the good that was going on.

In a way, I feel that's what has happened and is now happening at Kanakuk. For over 87 years, Kanakuk Kamp has been regarded by almost all Kamp parents as one of the safest places on earth to send their kids.

However, in spite of the great intentions of Kanakuk, a couple of self-absorbed guys have managed to "explode a bomb" and bring calamity to so many famlies.

It's disturbing to realize that's the world in which we all now live. Great Christian places around our country, with outstanding leadership, are having to change the way they operate. Kanakuk is definitely not alone.

I personally know some of the families of Pete Newman's victims, as well as Pete's parents, and I can tell you Pete totally exploded a "bomb" in them. Never will any of the victim's families or Pete's parents and brothers be the same.

Lee Bradberry has done the same as Pete in exploding another "bomb."

Knowing Joe, Debbie Jo, and the leadership at Kanakuk as I do, I feel totally confident they are doing everything humanly possible to prevent another such happening.

Fortunately, from good parental counsel and the orientation they received at Kamp, Lee's victims reported him. Hopefully, that will send a signal to other would-be predators. But, I won't hold my breath. Only time will tell.

Our society has gotten to the same point with sex-predators as we are with terrorists. In fact, both groups are terrorists. At the risk of being a "police state," all of us have to keep our eyes and ears open, and alert authorities when we are ourselves are alerted to something. For the safety of everyone else.

With three of my grandkids going to Kamp, I still believe it's one of the safest summer places to be for kids. And, in my opinion, the for-sure-good they get at Kamp far outweighs the extremely low possibility of such a thing happening to them. Especially with great preparation by their parents and the orientation they now receive at Kamp.

Unfortunately, the victims of both Pete and Lee are pioneers in causing increased safety measures for our troubled world.

In spite of the most recent "explosion," I would still recommend Kanakuk to anyone as being one of the safest places any place can be in our world today. In fact, far safer than walking the streets of Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics.

Can it happen again? Sure, even Atlanta with all of its millions of dollars couldn't prevent one sick person from ruining an otherwise great Olympics.

Along with many others, my wife and I continue to pray for the victims and their families, for the Kamp family who was betrayed twice, and that Kanakuk will survive to do the good it has been doing for close to ninety years.

Anonymous said...

Kanakuk should be held accountable for their negligence. If it is true that they had accusations against Pete dating back to 2003, they are absolutely responsible. Year after year, victim after victim, they allowed this to happen. Do you people really think Joe White had NO IDEA what was going on? You are naive if you say yes.

If there are ANY accusations at a Christian of sexual abuse by a counselor, the staff member should be terminated. That is a no-brainer.

I would never send my kid to Kanakuk, and I hope now, parents everywhere will see that this is a dangerous place.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. I understand Wes Neal wanting to defend Kamp as he has been involved with Kamp for years. Bottom line is....Pete was put on probation for inappropiate actions. If it had been another counselor they would have been fired but Pete had such a way about him....that he deceived Joe and so many others. Comparing this to the Penn State ordeal--Joe Paterno was fired. If Joe had a board at the time of Pete's ordeal, Joe would have been fired. Like many parents, I thought Kamp was a safe place. The pain my son has experienced from betrayal of Pete has rocked his world. Kamp needs to be held accountable. How was Lee Bradberry able to be alone with these 3 victims.....Isn't one of the new rules is... a staff member will NOT be alone with kids???? Guess this was not followed. So Wes, you say Joe is doing everything possible to prevent this sort of thing from happening yet Lee broke the rule of being alone with kampers. This is sad on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

I too worked at Kanakuk, and more specifically at the kamp that Pete worked at. Hearing about Pete's sin was a big wake up call to me along with everyone else. What happened is very disturbing and very sad. But what people have GOT to see is that if Satan is gunning this hard for this Kamp and creating all these problems, there has got to be a reason. Kanakuk has been a light in this world for many years now and has not only impacted and grown my faith tremendously, but also the lives and faith of thousands of kids. Kanakuk has long been on the radar for Satan, and he has long been trying to find a way to shut it down. What Pete did was not excusable in anyway, shape, or form, but we all sin. "For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23. I agree with what Wes Neal said and that these two men's actions are overshadowing all of what kanakuk has done in the past. I PRAY that this would not effect your views on Christianity and that because there are SO many other people doing great things for Christ. I know this sounds weird to say, and it may not make sense to some people, but Jer. 29:11 " 'For I know the plans i have for you' declares the Lord. 'Plans for wlefare, not for calamity, plans for a hope and a future.' " In some way God will be glorified through this. Just as when Christ was crucified, and the world mocked Christ and said he was a phony, but was glorified 3 days later when he rose, so will it be with this situation. Somehow God will use this to glorify Himself. I pray that God will reveal Himself to all of you, and my prayers go out to the families of the victims and those impacted. 'Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith' 2 Tim. 4:7. God Bless

Anonymous said...

10:08, I understand where you are coming from. I know many people who have been counselors at Kanakuk, and they are all good people. They love the Lord, and act on it.

However, in my opinion, it is crazy they kept Pete employed. They knew he was a creeper in 2003. There were accusations about him then. Yet, they kept him employed, and let him keep abusing young boys for 9 more years.

I'm not sure how many counts of abuse the law has officially confirmed. I DO know that however many they have, the actual number is probably double or triple that.

If they knew about this in 2003, why did they keep him employed? Not only that, but they let him be a DIRECTOR at K-Country.

You are right, we all sin. But we don't all abuse young men at a Christian camp. If this is the struggle, the person should stay as far away from young men as possible. Yet, Joe White kept him employed even after these accusations. You see what happened from there.

I've never worked at Kanakuk, but as I said, I know many who have. They are all incredible, Godly people. 95%, or probably even more then that, are. They certainly didn't know Kanakuk were hiring child abusers to work there. But Joe White did have this knowledge. He did nothing about it. He should be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

Wes:

How's the kool-aid?

Joe White is NOT doing everything he can. He's protecting himself and his financial empire.

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up to this last comment. Joe White is trying very hard to save his on skin/soul/money. Wes, having worked at Kanakuk and know you, you are a kind soul. But this does NOT compare w/ Atlanta. Joe White and his associaates allowed these boys to be abused over the yearS. Joe White is more responsible than anyone! Think of the boys he has damaged. Shame on you Joe White.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Joe White fully grasps that the entire body of Christ is being judged on how Kanakuk is dealing with this ONGOING crisis?

I'm sad to see Ross say in other threads that he has no sympathy for Lee. He had lots of sympathy for Kanakuk during the Newman circumstance. I wonder if Ross is mad that Lee Bradberry is the very example of what a lot of us feared.

Kanakuk really dropped the ball, and Joe was the one who did it.

Anonymous said...

Would it be totally surprising to find that this 22 year old counselor was an ex-camper? Perhaps a camper who 9 or 10 years ago, when he was 12 or 13, met a counselor named Peter Newman?

Ross (a real live person) said...

8:58 -

I remain ever available at rosschaffin@gmail.com if you'd like to have a discussion that doesn't involve hiding behind anonymity. If you're going to be critical of me, I'd at least like to defend myself against something besides a timestamp. It's only courteous.

If Lee was abused, which isn't confirmed (except through the "I know" network of the anonymous commenters on this blog), then that's sad.

That said. It is no excuse for abusing anyone. Ever. Plenty of victims of childhood sexual abuse go on to productive, healthy lives and can handle working with children without ever abusing them.

I had no sympathy for Pete (who had a confirmed claim of childhood abuse), and I have none for Lee.

Anonymous said...

For the Atlanta Olympics to be a working analogy that feels right. The bombs that exploded would have been placed by an executive of the staff running the Olympics. He is a top executive, who has been put on a probation plan because of warnings and complaints of misconduct. The chief executive of the Olympics would have had a friend, who is a counselor, create a program to cure his problem. The chief executive would have made a series of decisions that overrode complaints about this individual. These decisions allowed this individual to continue to explode bombs for years. The description of sexual predators as a couple self absorbed guys is a dangerous misrepresentation that puts people in harm’s way. Psychologists and law enforcement officers that study sociopaths, sexual predators and other natural predators have learned these people comprise a certain small percentage of the population. The moral concepts of right and wrong do not register with them, mentally or emotionally. They prey on people, they manifest evil. A sexual predator only feels remorse, for being caught. Because there is no remorse, they feel no desire for forgiveness. They have no empathy for others. They pursue self gratification, usually hidden behind a socially correct veneer. The more successful sometimes posses vast charm and a following of admirers. These people do not fight against their selfish desires they consciously embrace them. They like what they do and intend to continue exploding bombs.
There has been an obscuring of who the victims are in this situation. Shut your eyes and imagine an adult male sodomizing a 12 year old boy or engaging in another form of sex with him. You feel a deep sense of disgust and revulsion at the thought of imaging such an act. This is the bomb that was exploded. The child is in this situation, because of the predator and because of a series of decisions made by adults responsible for their safety. Not one decision, but many decisions made over a period of years. These young men are not pioneers, they are victims. Victims of an experience that may create a deep psychological trauma. A trauma, the results of which, may not surface until years later in their life.
As you know, wisdom is the deep understanding of knowledge, knowledge of and realization of people, subjects, environments, situations. This can lead to a comprehension of what is true or right with optimum judgment (discernment) for action. We know who the victims are, have a deeper understanding of the individuals that prey on these boys and have a better feel for the situation. We can go to the scriptures for guidance.
Paul says
2 Timothy 3
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
1 Corinthians 5
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Anonymous said...

It’s difficult to get a feel for what actually happened and what is happening. We see Kanakuk change its business structure to nonprofit, sell one camp to Joes’ daughter and scrub the internet. We have the statements from Kanakuk about their new procedures and policies. We get second hand accounts of what Joe White says and what his actions were and are with the victims and their immediate families. A restraining order placed when the no contact was agreed to and not abided by. Even this is confusing, Kanakuk claimed it was a simple over sight about an email, a neighbor responded saying it was much more, involving gifts and phone calls. A few people have written about their part in trying to warn camp and the response they received. There are many people involved; we don’t know who answered phones, who made decisions. We don’t how much of this is being driven by lawyers and legal considerations. Fortunately there will be a trial and what happened will be brought to the light.
As Christians, we often speak of the truth and the light. The people within our Christian family that had the bravery to stand and speak the truth were not treated well. To the outside world, when it mattered and the chips were played, we came up short.

Ross said...

Wow. that's a very good post.

Anonymous said...

The Pete and Lee Bradberry cases are not directly linked, but are more closely connected than some might realize. Pete was a discipleship group leader for high school boys at AUMC in Auburn. One of the boys in his discipleship group went on to be a group leader when he was in college. Lee Bradberry was in this discipleship leader's group. There was an incident several years ago where Lee accused that leader of attempting something inappropriate with him. AUMC managed to eventually sweep this incident under the rug. This was before the Pete story broke.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know if the accusations Lee brought against his discipline group leader, are the same being brought against him.

Anonymous said...

"........... These young men are not pioneers, they are victims. Victims of an experience that may create a deep psychological trauma. A trauma, the results of which, may not surface until years later in their life.
As you know, wisdom is the deep understanding of knowledge, knowledge of and realization of people, subjects, environments, situations. This can lead to a comprehension of what is true or right with optimum judgment (discernment) for action. We know who the victims are, have a deeper understanding of the individuals that prey on these boys and have a better feel for the situation. We can go to the scriptures for guidance.
Paul says
2 Timothy 3
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
1 Corinthians 5
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

11:13, you may be the wisest commenter to date on this entire Pete story. Being VERY CLOSE to a couple of these victims, I can tell you that Joe White knows he is responsible. He knows. He, however, is not publicly owning that responsibility, and therefore heaping additional salt into these wounds. If he would just humble himself, pay back all the money these families have ever spent on years of camp, transportation, travel, etc...along with their counseling, and whatever else they might need, at least they would feel that he is acknowledging his part in their unspeakable horror. But, his legal advisors are not victims...and apparently they are not Christians.

Anonymous said...

Joe White is a good man.....a good man, being advised by a bunch of legal people. These people are concerned with protected the one who pays them. Therefore, their advice is not to protect victims/campers; but to protect Joe. How hard is this to understand, people?

If his advisors were solely people of the Word, then they would advise him that he should be out righting every wrong he could, admitting that their pain was directly connected to his lack of responsibility. Affected families would be at the very least, repaid for every single dime they've invested in Kanakuk over all the years. But more importantly, affected families would find Joe White on their doorstep, offering a personal apology and a personal acknowledgement of his personal fault.

But, attorneys are paid to cover the A of the one paying them...."COVER"

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Joe White or any of the other people involved with Kanakuk knew that these events were taking place are IGNORANT and are more than likely low life house wives on here who have nothing else to do. Back ground checks are given to employees. They are back ground checks though, NOT future action reporters. I feel stupid for reading many of the comments. I am not affiliated with the camps in any way but I do have a life and common sense.

Anonymous said...

So an adult male getting in a hot tub with adolescent boys is normal and common sense for you. Your not affiliated with kanakuk, but somehow you know their hiring procedures and security measures. You have a life and what an interesting life that must be. How proud your mother must be.

Anonymous said...

P.S. They were naked in the hot tub.

Ethan Smith said...

As a former staff member, I can tell you that our hiring process was very strict, including a background check. We also had a thick handbook and were told repeatedly how dangerous it was to even have hints of inappropriate horseplay with campers. As a former youth minister who is currently working on my MDiv, I can tell you that I was paranoid to misstep in any way, for fear that my career and life would come crashing to an end. I'm not sure about K-Kountry, but Keith Chancey has always stressed safety and child protection at K7.

It is very sad what happened with Pete (I met him while I worked at K7) and now Lee. This is a huge black eye on a camp that has been very influential in the lives of children for decades. That said, I would still send my children there. As parents, we take measures to prevent these things from happening, but, at the end of the day, if you can't trust a camp like Kanakuk, who can you trust? As someone said, the Devil is smart to attack Christian ministries that are so influential for the Kingdom.

On a side note, I applaud Ross and Wes for actually letting us interact with them more personally.

Anonymous said...

My son is going for the first time in 2 weeks. Human reasoning is - keep him home.
But the enemy would win.
Sadly, my husband and I are going to have to talk to him about how to prevent these things, and to kick the crap out of anyone who tries anything.
I'm sick that we have to talk about things with kids so young.
We can't really afford this camp, actually, we can't. But we are going to sacrifice much because we want to put our son before Godly mentors and who can help set his heart on fire for Christ.
Please pray him to come home changed, and for me to have peace about letting him go.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 2:55 am...

That's what we're worried about, honey...THAT YOUR SON WILL COME HOME "CHANGED."

Good grief, what greater evidence do you need that this program is tainted? You need one more counselor arrested for raping children? Two? Three?

GOD GAVE YOU A BRAIN. USE IT.

Anonymous said...

I have gone to Kamp for over 7 years, starting at 6. Kanakuk is an amazing place, and we (kampers) all adore Joe White, and our counselers.

One of my best guy friends was friends with Pete, and was never hurt by him, or even "groomed".

I am NOT excusing Pete or Lee's behavior in any way, believe me. I am enraged that they would defile the one place I adore most.

I am merely stating it is wrong to assume all children are sexually abused there, or that Kanakuk is a death-trap or ruse for sexual predators to prey upon children.

*Anonymous for safety of myself and my friend

Anonymous said...

Friendship is part of the grooming process and it works because a child doesn't realize what is being done.

Anonymous said...

I'm the mom you said to use my brain about sending my son to camp.
I did something better - I followed God's Holy Spirit and I felt led to let him go. I followed peace.
The enemy is everywhere hurting our kids - in our schools, on our computers even in our churches as the "weeds with the wheat".(Matt. 13:30-40)
The only way to navigate anything concerning our kids is discenment through God's Holy Spirit.
I am so glad my son went. We went to pick him up in Missouri Saturday and he is more full of hope and joy than ever.
The camp has set in place strong guidelines for protecting campers this summer, and there is much accountability.
There were 10 boys in his cabin and 3 counselors. These counselors so clearly loved the Lord and their whole intent was to share Christ with these boys, to pour out their lives.
Their example was worth every penny and effort that went into getting my son to camp and going there to pick him up.
There are many reasons to be fearful in this world today, even just walking out the door. But we are told repeatedly in the bible not to fear.
We talked to our son about the dangers, and he is a blackbelt too if anyone tries to harm him.
But again - the greatest weapon is God's Spirit within him, which he has, and which he saw at work this weekend. Thank you Lord.
God bless Kanakuk, Joe White, the entire staff and campers. Bind and rebuke the enemy from entering this place ever again.
Heal those who have been harmed and even those who caused harm.
Let forgiveness heal the families. Bring us closer to you Lord and show us your way. Give Kanakuk staff strong discernment and courage in staffing camp. Bless those there now standing strong for you.
Thank you Lord for what you are doing in my son's life. My he be a light for you always.. and let us return to Kanakuk for many years to help the light burn strong for you.
In Jesus' name.
-A Kanakuk Mom

Anonymous said...

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Christ died once for ALL. We are saved from the penalty of sin (enternal separation from God), but we must still face the consequences of our sin.

If you think Joe, Kanakuk, a church, a college, etc. should be condemned and that it is okay to gossip about what you THINK is true (things other than the facts in evidence and personal testimony of victims), then perhaps you don't really know Christ or His grace or His power to heal, change, grow and overcome in all our lives if we let Him.

Far too many of you seem justified in sitting at your computer and sitting in judgement of much you have no first-hand knowledge of. And to belittle a mother for sending her child to Kanakuk because of your lack of faith, etc. is unChristlike. But perhaps that isn't important to you.

When all is said and done, our court system will do it's work and each of us will answer to and be judged by God.

My heart and prayers are with all the victims AND Kanakuk. Satan would not be trying so hard to attack and destroy Kamp if it were not doing much good and teaching kids (and staff) about Christ.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely disgusting, especially considering so many friends of ours are blindly sending their kids here to camp this summer.

Why is this not a bigger story? And why was it covered up for so long?

There certainly is a long line of victims going back to 1999 when Kanakuk was first notified of this kind of behavior and clearly tried to cover it up to save face.

The leadership that covered it up should be held accountable, as well.

Anonymous said...

I knew Pete he was a nice guy but when I heard about this is almost brought me to tears he was the one who got me started on my kanakuk journey but he is a horrible man and deserves his punishment

Kate said...

listen up. its so sad what happened but, i go to kanakuk, thenhappiest place on earth. joe white is the holiest man i know, he did not know there was a pedifile there. they werent being melested on Kanakuk property. so shut up. i was baptized by Joe White!

molly said...

@everyone
Listen up, Joe White did not know there was a pedifile at Kanakuk. He is the holiest man on earth, who has a passion for kids, my entire family has gone to Kanakuk. Joe White would never let kids be sexually melested under his watch, the kids were NOT being melested on kanakuk property.

Anonymous said...

This is a really difficult matter. As a parent and a Christian I am riveted by the thought of my children experiencing such a trauma but am also challenged. The truth remains that we, as parents, must be reminded that we need to teach our children of the dangers in our world and these dangers lie possibly even greater within our Church body. We all need to be aware that just because we enter into a "Christian" space that does not equal safe. There are weeds that have been planted among the greatest of Christian leadership and in everyone one of our "Christian" churches, camps, schools, etc. We and our children must not be shocked that this could happen but aware that this is happening and taught how to recognize it and report it.

God had told us that this will happen...
Matthew 13 " The kingdom of heaven is like this: Once there was a farmer who sowed good seeds in his field. While the farmer's workers were sleeping, his enemy crept into the field and sowed weeds among all the wheat seeds. Then he snuck away again. Eventually the crops grew - wheat, but also weeds. So the farmer's workers said to him, "Sir, why didn't you sow good seeds in your field? Where did these weeds come from? "My enemy must have done this, replied the farmer. "Should we go pull up all the weeds?" asked his workers. "No, said the farmer. "It's too risky. As you pull up the weeds, you would probably pull up some wheat as well. We'll let them both grow until harvest time. I will tell the harvesters to collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, and only then to harvest the wheat and bring it to my barn."

God is in control of what is happening...
Proverbs 16... "People go about making plans, but the Eternal has the final word. vs 1, "People do their best making plans for their lives, but the Eternal guides each step." vs 9, "We try to control the roll of the dice, but actually, the Eternal decides what they will determine." vs 33.

God is the only one who can get us through what has happened...

It will continue to get harder within our world and our church. There are terrible things that we have and will face. Terrible things, unspeakable things - but somehow "He" can make all things good for those who love Him." Learn and teach our children how to love Him and trust Him, even with the horrible. He tells us to be thankful and praise Him in all things. It is at times like this that I look to Him through my tears and anger crying, "I don't want to praise you, How can I thank you for this, teach me. Help me to come to You when all I want to do is run - but where can I go that you will not find me." He knows us and even though He allows things in our lives that are complete devastation - He will make good out of all situations and He will use these events for His purposes and it will become clear one day. I pray through tears for the pain these boys have been through and I pray too that they will trust God with this pain and use it for His Glory. God is the only one that can take something so ugly and make beautiful.

My kids went to camp for the first time this year. I have dreamed of them going to Kanakuk since before I had them and that dream was realized in the joy and excitement they have for Christ since a week at Kanakuk. They will return and I believe serve there one day. I will continue to teach them of the dangers that lie within our world and our hearts.

a Kanakuk Mom.

Cherokee JWW said...

Blindly stating or believing that Joe White is or is not negligent in these cases achieves nothing. Simply stating that you know somebody and believe they'd never do something like this is not proof either way. If it is a surprise for so many that Pete Newman could fool so many people why do you hold faith that other people are similarly incorruptible? It is my understanding of the Christian faith and belief system that faith is an act reserved for God and to hold faith in a person is blasphemy.

Cases like these must and should be investigated to help to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. Investigations are not acts of faith, they're acts of finding facts and proof.

This is not to say that Joe White and others have committed criminal acts, merely to accept the possibility and the just cause for investigating further.

Anonymous said...

Pete Newman got what he deserved and is in Prison for life x 2 but with each camp running on its own over the summer Joe white had probably had no idea what happened during the summer since he works at a camp in Lampe not Branson.

The Texas kids trial is not physically plausible since campers cannot leave camp unless they are with their cabin even under a directors orders the child isnt allowed to leave the premises. (I worked at Kanakuk so believe me I would know.) Even then how would said camper even stay overnight at Pete's house. That is really the only trial that makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Having been a camper amongst the era of "crazy pete", as he was commonly called then, it is very easy to recall early warning signs that something was off with this guy. As an adult who works in social services, I can identify these behaviors. Mind you, I was 8-12 when I knew Pete, and I always thought there was something off about this guy. So if an 8 year old can identify this guys preference to young men, how he would encourage them to do shirtless chin ups next to the gym, why couldn't one of the 100 workers there see that. If Joe White suspended him then he had to have had an inkling that something was off. I don't personally blame Joe. He is an entrepreneur, and a very successful one at that, but he has to be held accountable because he was in charge. Kanakuk does great things for kids no doubt, but the fact of the matter is that this camp makes a lot of money, and gives people like Joe White a lot of power, especially in the Christian Community. He has a business interest in avoiding a scandal like this. Hopefully in August the Dallas Trial will get some more attention. I encourage all of you who complain that this story isn't out there to write to your local news stations and papers and inform them about this issue. By the way, I loved camp too, but if we don't hold people like Joe White accountable, these kinds of atrocities will continue to happen in schools and other youth programs.