The judge handling the Peter "Pete" Newman alleged sex scandal has closed the courtroom for his preliminary hearing.

Taney County prosecutor Jeff Merrell says that Judge Tony Williams sustained the states request to invoke the newly enacted Child Protection Act today.

Merrell charged Newman with one count of statutory sodomy, two counts of sexual misconduct involving a child under 15 by indecent exposure, and one count of felony enticement of a child after kampers from Kanakuk Kamps came forward with allegations that Newman molested them.

Every media outlet in this area does NOT ever identify victims of child molestation, so I am not sure why the judge closed the courtroom.

Every criminal case has two sides and what this means is that both sides of this case will not be allowed to be heard at this point.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kathee,
You don't know what you're talking about! Both sides will be heard. The boys will be asked questions by both the prosecution and the defense attorney! What this DOES do is to allow the boys to tell their painfully private stories away from public display and humiliation! Get your facts straight!

Anonymous said...

WISE judge.

Anonymous said...

Of course, you being in the business of "news" would like the courtroom open so you can have more dish. You just want a juicy story, like Randy.

Try thinking about these victims and this camp who have all suffered so much by this!

Kathee Baird said...

Yes, both sides will be heard but not in a public setting. I have NEVER revealed a child victims name.

I have had several emails and blog comments wanting me to continue covering this case.

The kids ARE victims, and hearing the alleged allegations in court is an important part of the story.

Anonymous said...

As an interested citizen and 8-year camp parent I absolutely have a right to know what is said in the courtroom. My kids and thousands of others were at camp with Pete over the years. These brave boys/young men who have come forward deserve to have their names kept private, but not their stories. There are safeguards in place to ensure that they will not be exploited or harassed in court.

Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciate this blog. KHOZ in Harrison references Crime Scene concerning this story.

Victim's names are not mentioned in local news...often the crime itself isn't reported beyond the police blotter.

Open courtrooms provide pressure on everyone involved to reflect societal norms. This helps reduce impropriety. It also reinforces faith in the system and justice. Proper conduct of all involved has to stand up to scrutiny; no one gets a free ride.

The story so far is the camp colluded with the accused by quietly letting him go. Then they tried to redeem themselves by contacting authorities after receiving a signed confession. The camp is NOT a victim.

Anonymous said...

I think that people are missing the fact that it was the prosecuting attourney who filled the motion to invoke the child protection act. Then the judge granted it. The prosecuting attourney did this on behalf of the victims. It may set the pace for more victims to come forward... if there are any.

Additionally this is not a formal trial. So far as I know the accused will not be declared innocent or guilty at this point. When a formal trial takes place then things may change and the court maybe more open.

Anonymous said...

I want everyone out there (you included Kathee) talking about the public having the right to know, to ask yourselves the real reason you want an open courtroom. I want you all to put yourselves in the position of these young boys who have so bravely come forward. Imagine what they have all had to go through at school hearing horrible comments, kids laughing about it, other kids trying to figure out who it is, etc. Imagine these same boys having to be told that Pete did not accept the plea he originally had agreed verbally to accept, and that now they would be having to take the stand. Now imagine these boys in court on the stand with their peers, reporters, etc. sitting in the room. Pete not accepting the plea after verbally agreeing is to once again try to manipulate these boys, trying to call their bluff. I wouldn't have blamed one of them for not being able to do it. These boys as hard as it is for them WILL testify because they see how dangerous of an individual Pete is and he WILL do it again if he is not brought to justice. It's easy to sit back and criticize the judge for his actions when you have no ties to this case other than your notoriety for blogging. We are thankful to Judge Williams for taking into consideration everyone involved. It's time to stop victimizing the victims Kathee. You not posting the names of the victims means nothing! What about all the others who would have been there? You show your true colors as a blood thirsty reporter out for the news with ignorant comments like this, regardless who you stomp in the process. So what if it happens to be innocent boys who have been victimized by someone whom they loved and trusted from the time of 7+ yrs. If it means you get the story, YOU WANT IT! PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Kathee,

You are doing a great job of keeping those of us who live far away informed on this case! Please keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

the local media is OBVIOUSLY not interested in this story, hence the lack of information on this case, so why bother keeping the doors closed? the bloggers are the only ones trying to keep us informed. this is a very important case that has HUGE implications for thousands of people. i applaud kathee and randy turner for doing their part in keeping us informed.

Anonymous said...

Ask the camp WHY the local media isn't interested.

THAT is an interesting story!

Kathee Baird said...

To anon @ 12:51---I am not just a blood thirsty blogger, I am also a reporter for The Ozark Sentinel.

Stories like this need to be reported on so hopefully an alleged perp will think twice before abusing a kid.

Yes, I know that there are spelling and grammatical errors in some posts, but I try to be a voice for victims.....not just for a story.

Why did it take three months for Kanukuk to officialy terminate Newman? I think it is because one of the boys stepped forward and told authorities what happened to him...but we won't know that today because the courtroom was closed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:54pm
can you shed any light on WHY the local media isn't interested? Dying to know!

Anonymous said...

Kathee,

Was his bond revoked? Is he in jail? What happened today?

Kathee Baird said...

He was rearrested on additional sex charges today and is posting bail as I write this. It was set at $250,000 but reduced to $50,000. That is in addition to the bond he has already posted.

Sources tell me that Newman's attorney, Tom Carver, waived his preliminary hearing today.

Anonymous said...

So, will he be out and roaming the streets, with access to phone and children AGAIN???!!!

Anonymous said...

Why did they reduce the bond from $250,000? Did he post the $50,000 bond?

Anonymous said...

Bond was set at $500,000, not $250,000, as you eroneously reported.

editor said...

There have been a lot of comments posted here, both pro and con on the closing of the courtroom and the lack of media coverage.
Kathee is one of my reporters and does an excellent job of protecting the one document everyone should be concerned with - the U.S. Constitution.
I do understand the concern over having young men testify (and for the record, they are, for the most part, well into their teens at this time). However, allowing a judge to circumvent a basic premise of the Constitution is a very dangerous precedent.
While we all agree that protecting the names of the victims is paramount, the closing of court doors - even for a preliminary hearing - can never be tolerated.
Those of you who believe it's a good thing need to ask yourself where it stops? Should we close the court to all cases because it may upset someone or embarrass someone who is telling the truth? If so, you may want to consider how well that worked in other countries.
As for local media not covering it, that's not quite as true as you may be led to believe.
Our newspaper is located just down the road from some of the Kanakuk camps and we have been reporting this case since day one.
Local radio stations are also covering the case - now some overly conservative, biased judge has decided the public's right to know is not as important as his own political and personal agendas. That should alarm everyone.

Anonymous said...

editor -

thank you SO much for your insight into this. are you implying that the judge is taking pete's side in closing the doors? and where is kanakuk/joe white in all of this? have they made any kind of statements? has your news outlet pressed them for statements?

Anonymous said...

I was able to zoom in on the picture. You can see something on his finger...but, not sure if it his wedding ring.

Anonymous said...

If it were my kid and they didn't make his privacy the number one priority, we'd pull out of the whole thing. No teenager, especially teenager, would not want this shared with the entire world.

Anonymous said...

Through this whole thing we have heard the system does a great job going after the predator, but a lousy job protecting the victim. Judge Williams took these victims into account. I couldn't agree more with Anon. 10:45. I think Newman and his atty. were banking on the boys backing out with the thought of testifying, but these boys are determined to put this monster behind bars. He no longer has that control he once had with his over the top personality. As I've read in several comments, these boys really are heroes!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Kathee,

Thanks so much for following this story and helping to provide details as to what has been going on.

However I do want to address something again, you asked: "Why did it take three months for Kanukuk to officialy terminate Newman?"

Several people have commented that Newman was fired in March not June.

To which you responded with, "Kathee Baird said...

I was going by the statements filed with the charges.

Thank you all for letting me know the charging document was not correct.

k
October 30, 2009 12:52 PM"

Why do you continue to bring this up? It seems that you are implying that Kanakuk was attempting to protect something? What do you suppose that is?

Caleb Harris said...

As a conservative first and a former journalist, this concerns me, as it should concern all of us. While it is honorable to take measures to protect the identity of minors involved in sex abuse cases, where do you draw the line? As we see in cases of government intervention, government never draws the line...it just keeps extending it. The freedom of the press is absolute, just as the freedom of religion and the right to bear arms is. While keeping perverted morons out of the courtroom who are seeking a thrill in hearing the awful stories is justified, keeping the press out is not...perhaps the law needs some revising.

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