Pete Newman Prays And Plays With Your Sons

September 16, 2009 at 11:49 am by  

Branson, Missouri –   And preys on them, it appears.  Peter “Pete” Newman, 33, was a camp counselor and assistant director for ten years at Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, where they love Jesus, sports, the letter K, and your children.  Kounselor Pete really, really loves your children, especially if they’re boys between 11 and 15.  According to an email I received from Joe White, Kanakuk’s owner, Newman was terminated as soon as his proclivities were discovered, and the camp notified authorities and the “impacted families”, offering their assistance to the boys they were able to identify as victims of Newman’s little peter problem.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThere is some question, however, of when Newman was actually fired.  Court documents say that Newman wrote an eight-page confession detailing his Kamp activities in June of this year, and was terminated upon receipt.  Joe White says that actually, Newman had not worked for Kanakuk since “sometime in the spring”.   Several of Newman’s victims are now in their late teens or early twenties, but doubtless some boys were, um, exposed to Newman as late as the 2008 camp season or even into 2009.

This case is a little personal for me, because I come from a “Kanakuk family”.  Most of the kids in my family have gone to Kanakuk several years running, and I’ve met Joe White and many of the camp staff (yeah, I’m the black imp of the family).   I have to say that Kanakuk has an excellent reputation for safety, and I know that criminal background checks are done on every potential employee.  Beyond that, White says, interviewers are trained specifically to spot behaviors and answers that could indicate a safety risk.   I never met Pete Newman, but he must have been pretty good at getting the answers right.

Newman apparently worked by grooming his campers.  He’d have them to his home for Bible studies and  sleepovers, where he would invite the boys to go skinny-dippin’ in his hot tub.  That’s when the molestation took place.  I’m trying to figure out how someone can pray with a kid and then get naked, but hey.  That’s why I’d make a bad camp counselor – I don’t really like naked kids.  Hell, I don’t really like dressed kids enough to have them over for a little hot-dogs-and-weiner action.

The probable cause statement says that Newman “engaged in being naked with [victims] while participating in various activities such as Bible studies in the hot tub, swimming nude in the lake, playing nude basketball at night, streaking in the nude at various locations in the Kamp, etc…” and that “fondling and other crimes” occurred repeatedly over a long period of time.

It’s not clear how many boys Newman molested over his decade of employment with Kanakuk.  Court documents show up to sixteen different victims, but specifically list nine.   The K-Kountry web page says that “every action-packed K-Kountry day hums with words of love and encouragement sung by a staff hand-picked for their Christ-like patience and sensitivity.”  Um, I don’t think running naked through Kamp and Bible study in the hot tub followed by a game of hide-the-salami is what Kanakuk had in mind, Pete.  Even more disturbing to me is that K-Kountry is a camp for children ages 7-11, so I think it’s quite probable that Pete groomed or molested boys even younger than those listed in court documents.

On Monday, the Taney County prosecuting attorney charged Newman with second-degree statutory sodomy, two counts of sexual misconduct with a child under 15, and enticement of a child under 15 years old.  He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday, and is free on bond awaiting his next hearing in October.

Source | Court Documents

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