Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pete Newman sexual assault victim asks for restraining order against Joe White, Kanakuk

The family of a Texas boy who was sexually abused by former Kanakuk camp director Pete Newman has asked a federal court judge to issue an injunction and/or a restraining order against Kanakuk and its CEO Joe White.

In documents filed Wednesday in U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the plaintiffs in a $10 million lawsuit against White, Newman, and Kanakuk, listed as John and Jane Doe, acting behalf of their son, indicated that White and Kanakuk have not left them alone since the lawsuit was filed March 11.

The unwanted attention from White and Kanakuk officials began April 7, according to the motion. "Since appearing in this case, defendants have maintained regular communications with the plaintiffs, directly, by way of mail, telephone, and e-mail, despite repeated requests (from both plaintiffs and plaintiffs' counsel) that they not do so."

The latest such communication occurred July 8, the motion says,when "a package from Defendant White and his wife, arrived at the Doe home."

The e-mails, phone calls, letters, and packages have added to the boy's "emotional and psychological problems that stem from his sexual abuse."

The motion asks for a hearing as soon as possible.

The $10 million lawsuit against White, Newman, and Kanakuk alleges that Newman's sexual assault of the boy and others came after White ignored obvious danger signals and allowed Newman to continue working with young boys.

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 parents and son are being represented by the Turley Law Firm of Dallas.

The lawsuit was 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.


Anonymous said...

This camp should be shut down and the leaders of this camp should never be allowed to do anything with kids. That includes White and anyone connected with the camp.

Anonymous said...

I cannot fathom HOW anyone at Kanakuk, including Joe White, thinks it's "okay" to continue to hound this (or any) victim's families. It's WRONG. And it's a clear demonstration of what many of us have been saying for a long time, that Joe White is arrogant and ignorant of how his actions have impacted the victims and other camp families.

This is kind of stalkerish.

Anonymous said...

This makes me sick. This has put a distance between me and my grandson. I have seen the emotional and even physical pain that he is going through. Can't sleep well, nightmares, anxiety, depression, aggression towards peers at times, anger built up that this has happened to him by intrusted "roll models". All those that should have know or knew and did nothing-shame on you. A investigation into all the camp personnel should take place.

Anonymous said...

This continues to get creepier. Don't these people have any common sense. Any sense of respect for personal boundaries. They're actions show poor judgement and lack of understanding. No wisdom. Perhaps that's what put them in this situation.

Anonymous said...

OK, so here is the deal. Kanakuk Kamp is AWESOME! Pete Newman is a total fraud and will spend the rest of his life in jail for the horrible things that he did. I was a camper and worked at the camp and NEvER saw anyting remotely evil by any staff memeber. In fact the counselors, and directors, excluding Pete Newman, are people that I model my life after. We don't shut down little league when coaches do evil things to kids, we don't shut down the Boy Scouts when troop leaders do evil stuff to kids, we don't close schools when teachers do evil things to kids, we deal with the person who does the crime! Kanakuk is and will always be a wonderful place for kids. It is the best camp in America! Now, it is even better that Newman is gone!

Anonymous said...

The last poster hit the nail on the head.
Well said.

And the "hounding" that Joe and Kamp are accused of is absurd. Several families that are being "hounded" by Joe really appreciate his personal phone calls to the parents and kids to check on them, plus fruit baskets each month as a reminder that they're being thought of.
Yeah, pretty brutal.
And all kamp families that are signed up for kamp (like the one involved in the restraining order, up until a few weeks before kamp) get emails from kamp to let you know whats going on. All it takes is unsubscribing from the emails.

Joe is one of the most godly men I've ever known. Lets not take shots at his integrity and character until these allegations are proven to be true.

Pete is gone. The cancer has been cut out. Praise the Lord.
Kamp does not need to be done away with. God uses that place to impact thousands of kids every summer for the good.
Praise the Lord.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the 3rd comment....I have seen first hand the devastation this has brought on my son. He has walked away from the Lord and has such anger towards God for the betrayal of Pete. This has been a very hard few years. I do feel the kamp has a responsiblity to make sure it is a safe place for our children and they failed. Pete should have been fired years ago when he was put on probation. This would have spared many boys being abused and betrayed.

Anonymous said...

Your child gets sexually molested. You get a fruit basket every month. so you feel better and everything is okay now?

Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to all the posters that say that kanakuk should be shut down. But just because Peter Newman did very ungodly things doesn't mean that joe white and the rest of adults and kids shouldn't go. I'm very close to joe white and I know that he does all things for Christ. Kanakuk is my favorite place on earth and I attend there yearly.

Anonymous said...

How much money does kanakuk make? Bunches! Remember that fact! Pete should have been dismissed at first sign. I have grown up as a Christian and I realize that this is just about emotional highs. Kanakuk is rather weird and cult-like. My son was there at 8 yrs of age and although he was never touched, so Very inappropriate things were said and displayed to him by his counselors. When I wrote to the camp I got a phone call in return which tried to console but I don't know that anything was ever even addressed there. Hey, this was way back I'm 1994. I think stuff has been going on there for quite awhile. Can't let anything get in the way of making that money! And now, another counselor just this week in the paper with charges.

Debbie said...

I am so, so sorry for the pain that Pete Newman has caused, not only to his victims, but also to his family. However, I agree with the 5th poster, and would add, in light of recent news, that we don't shut down movie theaters because of one bad apple. Kanakuk employs many, many people. Like society as a whole, most are good, a few are not so good. You can't condemn the whole for the behavior of a few. We have been sending (and continue to send) our four children to kamp for 12 years now. They love it and we will continue to send them as long as they still want to go. My hope is that one or more of them will become counselors themselves. Not everyone employed by Kanakuk is a child molester.

Anonymous said...

Pete Newman was my role model growing up. Although it was disappointing and heartbreaking to hear this news I know that as a follower of Christ the right thing to do is to pray for Pete to be healed and for God to change his heart. Pete knows he has done a very sinful thing so we should lift him up instead of tearing him down. All he needs now is encouragment. God still loves Pete because our god is a loving and forgiving god.

Acts 13:38 t
Therefore, my friends, I want your to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of your sins is proclaimed to you.

I will continue going to kanakuk. It truly is my favorite place on this earth. And please don't judge Pete or joe because in gods eyes all sin is equal. ALL of it. Their sin is not any worse than yours.

Anonymous said...

I worked at K-Kountry with Pete and I was devastated to hear about this whole thing. It makes me sick to this day to think about the fact that such things were happening under all of our noses. I obviously have no idea what was going on behind the scenes in terms of the upper levels of leadership and their knowledge of the incidents, but regardless I am absolutely certain that not one person emerged from this situation unscathed. We are all heartbroken, but most of all the poor boys and their families who feel such tremendous pain with every minute that goes by. I pray for them often and just hope that the horrendous actions of someone I once called a friend will not tarnish the all-encompassing love and compassion that Jesus has for them. Because God grieves with them every day over what has happened. I also pray for Pete's wife and children and how utterly broken, betrayed and humiliated they must feel.

These were the actions of one man. He made the choice to abuse his rank within the kamp and betray every oath and promise he had made. I personally know one of Pete's best friends and I can tell you that many of us were blindsided. Completely and totally blindsided.

Joe White is a good man whose father started Kanakuk many years ago. I'm sure he wants to see redemption come about for the victims, first and foremost, but also for the legacy of Kanakuk and for the incredible blessing it has been to tens of thousands of families over the years. I grieve. I pray. But I stand by Kanakuk and its virtues. It breaks my heart to think that Pete Newman has cast such a dark shadow over Kanakuk. I find it hard to believe that Joe wouldn't honor someones wishes to be left alone, but instead to continue to send letters, gifts etc. If it's true, I can only assume its his own heartfelt desperation to do whatever he can to express his sympathy for the victims.

Anonymous said...

What do you think? Of course satan is trying to destroy the camp just as he destroyed Pete Newman. satan stalks the planet trying to destroy and ruin every good thing. The camp IS remote. It is entirely criminal and absolutely evil, wrong and tragic what happened to those innocent boys. But do not forget, we are in a spiritual battle with evil forces. I might be more comfortable if my child did not insist upon attending camp there, but I asked my child if my child felt safe there. Absolutely was my child's answer. As long as Joe White deals in a completely responsible, open and truthful fashion with the problems he is doing what he needs to do. The kids do have a blast there and there is a lot of Christ's love there which satan despises. Pray for the camp to be protected by a wall of fire and for legions of God's angels to surround it and defend it, that is what is needed.

Unknown said...

Pete is my cousin...He IS loved and missed. Everyone has sin, Pete made mistakes like all of us do. I forgive him. He lead me to know the Lord, like he did to many others, hundreds. His good outweighs the bad in many ways. He is paying for what he did, but he should still be in our prayers, and in our hearts. For those who don't truly know him, don't understand, and probably wont ever. He is my brother in Christ. And God loves him just like I do.

Anonymous said...

The kids that were effected will never be the same. In time one can forgive, but each trauma that hits the news will retraumatize them. If only society understood this. If Pete could have lived a homosexual life this likely would not have happened. My guess is this was peer to peer when he was younger and it did not stop when he came of age. He likely was abused and is not telling to protect someone. I am a Christian, but prayers make me sick. Understand folks!

Anonymous said...

The trauma from Pete Newmann's actions are still coming out and causing pain and devastating lives of young people. Because of the young age of his victims, many of these boys may have repressed memories. My son is one of them whose life has been severely impacted by the actions of this trusted director. His trauma has been coming out after years of repression and disassociation. We are dealing with the devastation now, years later. The pain and healthcare costs are destroying our family.

Anonymous said...

Its a sick system that needs to be cleansed. All of you who defend it are nuts. Leaders and campers running around NAKED through the camp and no one is fired? Hob tub sessions with a leader alone? An adult showering naked with a child aone? These violate EVERY boundary for healthy relationships and Joe White as CEO is as guilty as Pete Newman for nurturing this culture just as the bishops did in the Catholic church. This sounds like Sandusky at Penn State and the fact that none of the kids told their parents means they were all (kids and parents) brainwashed/inculcated by textbook child molesters. I oversee the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training for clergy in my denominational region and after the first incident there would have been an investigation and Pete Newman fired and criminally charged. He sodomized a boy (maybe more) and all your Jesus talk just betrays the trust that families put in this camp and its staff. You all need to have your heads examined.

Anonymous said...

They should sell that private jet to pay the victims!

That and there probably some money squirreled away in all those LLCs that get paid by Kanakuk.

Some people are wondering if the feds need to give this all a close look for crimes.