This collection of deposition videos is from a civil lawsuit between Kanakuk and a child sexual abuse victim. These were recorded a couple years after Pete Newman was arrested for abusing dozens+ of children, including me.
In this video you will see Kanakuk leaders explaining under oath what they knew years before Newman was arrested in 2009. You will see Joe White CEO, Doug Goodwin President, and Kris Cooper former director state that they knew that Newman was getting naked with under age boys on multiple occasions as early as 1999, and also sleeping one on one with them. These leaders dismissed his behavior as immature and didn’t fire him until there were charges for his arrest in 2009.
If you can watch this video and truly believe they weren’t concerned with Newman’s behavior, “didn’t see red flags”, “wasn’t on their radar”, or “didn’t know what they were dealing with”, then I think you either don’t understand child abuse or are blindly devoted to an organization that enabled this abuse to occur. The facts are here in this video.
This video shows they were aware of these acts in ’99, ’01, and ’03 but failed to fire him and properly report him to authorities as is mandated by law, and more importantly, failed to protect and care for these innocent children, which led to years of continued sexual abuse for these children and many others. They cared more about how this impacted Newman and Kanakuk, rather than how this affected that child. They chose Newman over that child, and the future children he went on to abuse.
To this day, the camp denies they saw any red flags or knew of any illegal activity occurred before his arrest in the public sphere. But you see here under oath they admit to knowing he was nude with minors multiple times. It’s a felony to expose yourself to minors. Its sexual assault to touch minors while naked, not immature.
It’s also important to know that Newman’s nudity with children was grounds for immediate dismissal according to their rulebook approved by White. Again they dismissed the red flags and ignored their own policy.
Former Kanakuk camp Director, Will Cunningham, confirmed with Nancy French of The Dispatch, that he recommended to Kris Cooper that Newman should be fired in 2003. His demand was denied by leadership. They actually did have big concerns back then when a senior director recommended his termination based on these issues. But White chose again to ignore these concerns and not disclose these details to camp families, and families who would go on to allow Newman to spend time with their child. White removed the ability for parents to keep their child away from Newman.
White placed the life of his pedophilic director ahead of the lives of the thousands of children under his care. He didn’t have to know Newman was raping children to know Newman was involved in sexual misconduct with children. By the way, he also ignored his duty as a mandatory reporter in the state of MO.
White and other senior staff failed our community, failed our parents, failed the calling to protect the most vulnerable, and failed the lives of hundreds of kids who were directly abused by Newman for the next 10+ years.
White is not willing to admit his failures publicly, apologize to victims and their families for hiding the truth, legally release victims from their NDAs, or invite an outside independent investigation into his organization. White is seriously stifling the ongoing healing of the young men that he allowed Newman to molest because of his negligence.
It’s clear White doesn’t deserve his role in leadership. He deserves to confess his sins before the Lord and His people, and ask for forgiveness from a God who will grant it, and step down from his role which has caused so much damage to so many children and their families. Joe, it’s never too late to do the right thing. It’s never too late to allow the moms and dads, the victims, and our community to begin our healing and hear the truth.
As victims of abuse, our biggest desire is to be heard, understood, validated, credited, and cared for. In White’s statements to the press and to victims, he continually deflects responsibility which continues to damage victims further. It implies to us he does not care about us, about justice, or about the truth. It proves that he still cares more about the camp’s success than the countless victims who were abused under his care.
I’ve heard from a few local Kanakuk truthers that they hate to see the damage that this new media coverage may do for the names of Christians everywhere or that the media is on a witch hunt, or that there are many people out in the world who want to try and stop what God is doing through Kanakuk as a ministry.
My answer to that is this, stop idolizing an organization, a group of men, tradition, charisma, hype, religion, or an establishment built by human hands, and start believing in how truly powerful the work of the Lord is. You may have a small view of God or an unhealthily heightened view of man if you think we can thwart God’s perpetual ministry to the nations.
God doesn’t need Kanakuk to continue his mission in the world. He needs a people willing to humble themselves and care about justice and mercy towards humanity in such a way that points them to the one who took all of our guilt and shame away on the cross. That responsibility is on all Christians.