A former camper is suing a summer camp in Branson for allegedly hiding sexual abuse

Justice is what another victim of sexual assault at the Christian kids’ camp Kanakuk, located in Branson, seeks.

In addition to other defendants, Denver resident Andrew Summersett is suing the ministry’s CEO Joe White, claiming civil conspiracy and fraud in order to recover damages of $25,000.

The 37-year-old believes that former Kanakuk director Peter Newman, who is already serving two life terms for similar charges, sexually abused him as a child and he managed to escape.

According to the lawsuit filed today, Summersett was sexually molested in 2001 and 2002 and was later persuaded not to come forward or make a formal report after telling camp administrators about the abuse.

Summersett’s attorney, Bobby Thrasher, said, “He grew up and unfortunately spent his summers in the name of being abused.”

Prior to Summersett’s molestation, the defendants were aware that Newman was abusing children sexually, according to the petition submitted to the Taney County Circuit Court. According to the lawsuit, in 1999, a parent of a camper informed Kanakuk staff that Newman had engaged in naked activities with multiple young boys, including as swimming in the lake and four-wheeling.

It continues by saying that the Kanakuk defendants were notified in 2003 of fresh allegations of Newman having sex with kids, including skinny dipping and unclothed basketball games with kids at the camp.

The lawsuit states that in the same year, after seeing her son discard his jeans and declare he never wanted to see Pete again, a worried parent suspected and reported Newman of acting inappropriately sexually toward her son at a father-son retreat.

On its website, Kanakuk states that it still runs nine distinct camp programs in Lampe and Branson.

Thrasher told KOLR 10 Investigates that even though Newman is in jail, the goal of this lawsuit is to get the remaining leaders of the camp to acknowledge their involvement.

According to Thrasher, “Kanakuk has never acknowledged their level of accountability or responsibility to this day.”  (source)

Kanakuk was contacted by KOLR 10 Investigates for a statement. A representative issued the following statement:

“Our policy is not to comment on pending litigation. We will respond further if or when appropriate. In the meantime, we continue to pray for all who have been affected by Pete Newman’s behavior.”


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