Peter "Pete" Daniel Newman (DOC mug shot)
 A federal lawsuit has been filed in Dallas, Texas, against Kanakuk Kamp Ministries, Kanakuk Heritage, Inc., Joe White and former camp director Peter "Pete" Newman.

In February of last year Newman pleaded guilty, without a plea agreement, to two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, three counts of second-degree statutory sodomy and three counts of enticement of a child that took place at the sports camp based in Taney County.  He was sentenced last June to two life sentences, plus thirty years.

The federal lawsuit in Texas was filed by the parents of John Doe I. The father of the boy says he made the decision to send his son to Kanakuk after seeing Joe White speak at a Promise Keepers meeting at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas.

Kanakuk Kamp owner Joe T. White
Jane and John Doe say their son attended the camp during the summers of 2005, 2006 and 2007 when he was aged 10 - 12.

Court documents filed with the Texas lawsuit say that Newman was allowed to work at Kanakuk Kamps for almost a decade after incidents of Newman's nudity with minor campers and inappropriate behavior came to the attention of Kanakuk Kamp owner Joe T. White and others at Kanakuk Kamp in 1999.
In the probable cause statement used to charge Newman in Taney County in September of 2009 an investigator writes:

"Between 2005 and 2008, Pete Newman became a close friend of  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."
Attorney Linda Turley

Court documents say that as early as 1999, White and Kanakuk Kamps (et. al) knew that Newman was riding four wheelers nude with "kampers," who were minor children, entrusted to the care of the defendants.  Instead of firing Newman, the lawsuit says, he "was placed on probation," by the company.

It also reveals that in 2003 Newman's questionable behavior with young male campers was again brought to the attention of White after he and a group of young boys "streaked" through the camp.  Again, Newman remained on Kanakuk's payroll.

The lawsuit maintains that because Kanakuk and White continued to employ Newman after becoming aware of his inappropriate behavior "they approved of his conduct."

Linda Turley, of the Turley Law Firm in Dallas says, "This case is one in our continuing effort to obtain justice for the victims of childhood sexual abuse.  By shining a light on this very serious issue we hope these Defendants and others will take the necessary steps to keep sexual predators away from children."

Last month attorney's Mike Merrell and G. Rick DiGiorgio filed the first civil lawsuit against the camp, White and Newman in Taney County.

Turley says Kanakuk has actively recruited Texas campers for years at informational meetings, by mail, email and phone. 

Newman traveled around the country recruiting campers for Kankuk and often stayed with the families of young boys who say he abused them not only at the camp, but also inside their homes when he represented the business.

Sex charges were filed against Newman in La Plata County, Colorado following a similar incident with a young boy at Kanakuk's K-Colorado facility (which was sold to White's daughter and son-in-law and has been renamed KIVU) in September of 2008.  Those charges were dismissed following Newman's double life sentence in Missouri.

Authorities in Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama and other states have expressed interest in pursuing similar charges against Newman.

The federal lawsuit says that John Doe I has suffered medical and psychological injuries and will continue to need treatment,  "The childhood sexual abuse of John Doe I in the context of what was purported to be Christian ministry further complicated his injuries and treatment."

The Turley Law Firm won a $119 Million dollar judgement against the Catholic Diocese in Texas for covering up the conduct of a pedophile priest.  Defrocked Roman Catholic priest Ruldoph "Rudy" Kos was convicted of multiple counts of child molestation against altar boys and is serving four life sentences.

The plaintiff's want a jury trial and are seeking damages in excess of $75,000.


Anonymous said...

If I was Joe White, I'd be worried.

Joe knew.

A lot of people are going to be hurt again as the truth continues to come out.

Anonymous said...

This is for the Texas lawsuite against kanakuk, joe white and pete newman.

It is about time that the truth will be brought to light. It is hard to understand why Pete was not fired after the first naked incident with kids. Anyone who has anything to do with kids know that certain boundaries are not crossed.

Furthermore, I wonder how Joe White would of felt if Pete was running around naked with his grandsons. Would it of made a difference?

The truth has to come to light otherwise, more kids are going to continue to be hurt.

Good luck kid.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous at 9:01 March 11 that the naked incidents were inappropriate. However, as others have said, I can see how Kanakuk could have seen them as simply misguided, rather than predatory.

Of course, there can be little question now that they were in fact predatory--I do not contest that. All I'm saying is that Kanakuk and Joe White may have misinterpreted the situation. I do not know the details, but that's just the point--let's be careful about making absolute judgements until we know what happened.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:39...we didn't send our kids to Kanakuk for them to "misinterpret" behavior. We are told time and time again that they are "experts." Turns out, that was all a sales pitch. The Bible's own laws are set up to protect children. Joe White didn't do that. I can see someone giving a pass ONCE, but this wasn't a one time thing. There were multiple reports spanning over a decade.

Frank R said...

This is outright EVIL... Joe White shouldn't have been so NAIVE..when you have anyone around little children (boys) you check them out and investigate. Any man who show's a strong interest in little boys is a huge RED FLAG!

Anonymous said...

If you guys only knew the naivete, the dumb way the business and ministry relate to each other and the outright arrogance of these people, you'd understand how this type of thing happens.

From a former insider's view, I can tell you that these people shouldn't have the positions they have. Not because they're all predators or all evil, but because
most of them are just too scatterbrained.

Most of them have never had a real job. Add to that the arrogance and self absorption that promotes camp directors to god-like status, and you've got yourself a fertile field for this type of negligence.

One insider on another website said they think they are rock stars and I have to agree.

Anonymous said...

@ 3/17 11:39 I appreciate your comments above, but some of us do know what happened...we don't have to wait to make a decision. It's pretty clear.

I can think of no other situation (except the Catholic abuse cases) where so many OBVIOUS signs were ignored. I might just have to apply for a job at Kanakuk, because no action is deemed to be a problem...except putting your elbows on the table.

Kanakuk's fumbling excuses now are just pathetic. Joe likes to show us all how "manly" he is. Man up, Joe. It's about time.

Anonymous said...

Do you know why all of the posts about Kanakuk/Pete Newman have disappeared from Randy Turner's blog?

Kathee Baird said...

Google was having a problem with their links. I talked with Randy over the weekend and he hasn't deleted anything.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Although with the benefit of hindsight there was reason to be concerned, it hardly seems as obvious and clear-cut as people seem to think. The lawsuit mentions two incidents, and they're not the type I would necessarily have suspected were predatory. I mean, if Newman was alone with a boy, I'd have been concerned. But the two incidents seem to have involved groups of kids in a public setting, apparently just being raucous.

These camps are sex-segregated, boys on one side, girls on the other. All the boys and male counselors sleep, change clothes, use the bathroom, swim, play sports, get muddy, shower, etc. in close proximity - but in groups. It's something like a big locker room where occasional nudity or near-nudity (in the right context) is normal.

(I suppose you could argue everyone should be given more privacy or the counselors should have been kept separate from campers, but that comes at a cost too - more privacy increases the risk of someone being lured away alone, and removing the counselors increases the risk of a kid being bullied or abused by other kids or hurt in some other way.)

The atmosphere is supposed to be fun and enthusiastic, so there is always a good deal of roughhousing, joking, and craziness. When I was there, I know occasionally it became inappropriate - not sexual, but pranks sometimes got out of hand or people were crude, pushy, or mean - and people had to be sorted out a little. That's probably to be expected, and not usually a reason to expel someone.

Bearing in mind there were two known incidents four years apart, I'm not sure I would have thought Newman was a sexual predator just based on those. I might have thought he was just being too crude and using bad judgment.

I certainly don't think Joe White knew this was going on. Having seen him working with kids, I seriously doubt he would sit by if he knew a kid was being hurt. At most, you could say he should have known, or should have become suspicious and investigated. Although if he had investigated, it's not clear to me what he would have found.