Mandatory mediation in a lawsuit filed by the family of one of the underage boys molested by former Kanakuk director Pete Newman will not be held this month as originally ordered.
A motion filed earlier this week in U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, by both the family and Kanakuk officials asked for a delay to allow depositions to be completed. That process will take until Sept. 14, according to the motion.
The judge's order extends the mediation deadline to Oct. 31 and also grants the request by both sides to change the mediator. They asked for Jay J. Madrid of the firm Winstead PC in Dallas. "Mr. Madrid has mediated many child abuse cases in the past and the plaintiffs and Kanakuk defendants believe his experience makes him well qualified to mediate this case."
If the two sides are unable to reach a settlement, the case will go to trial as scheduled in August 2013.
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 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 parents and son are being represented by the Turley Law Firm of Dallas.