WASHINGTON (BP) – Children’s sports ministry Kanakuk Kamps is alongside tech giants Meta, Twitter, Google Search and Netflix on a sex abuse watchdog’s 2022 list of the most egregious enablers and promoters of sexual exploitation.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) named Missouri-based Kanakuk Kamps to the 2022 Dirty Dozen List of the top offenders in a web conference March 8, accusing the nondenominational camp of hiding years of sexual abuse.
“Thousands of families have entrusted their children to Kanakuk Kamps – one of the largest Christian sports camps. Tragically, that trust was broken as years of child sexual abuse at Kanakuk Kamps have been swept under the rug,” NCOSE said in a press statement. “Responsibility, accountability, and transparency must be required of institutions like Kanakuk Kamps if we wish to stamp out child sexual abuse.”
NCOSE cites Meta-owned Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as “primary places for grooming, sextortion, child sexual abuse materials, sex trafficking, and a host of other crimes;” accuses Twitter of attracting pedophiles and other predators who “trade in criminal content such as child sexual abuse and nonconsensual pornography;” and says Google Search “buttresses the pornography industry by facilitating access to graphic images and videos of sexual abuse – depicted and real – including sex trafficking, child sexual abuse, and rape.” Netflix, NCOSE said, has mixed in with its entertainment “rampant sexual objectification and glamorization of abuse.”
Others accused of such acts are communications platform Discord, global marketplace Etsy, the free messaging app Kik, the subscription-based platform OnlyFans, Reddit, Verisign and Visa.
Kanakuk Kamps, in a statement on its website, acknowledges that former staff member Pete Newman was accused and convicted of abusing children, apologizes for any harm the ministry perpetuated in communications, and includes an open letter to victims written by Kanakuk Chief Executive Officer Joe White.
“I am sorry; so deeply, profoundly sorry for the pain you have endured as a victim of abuse during Pete Newman’s association with Kanakuk Kamps,” White’s statement reads. “In hindsight, I wish I would have understood what I was truly dealing with, and I am devastated by your pain and suffering under my watch.”
Several lawsuits have been filed by alleged victims of sexual abuse at Kanakuk, most recently leading to a $29.6 million judgment for plaintiffs. In addition to Newman, former Kanakuk employees NCOSE identified are Lee Bradberry, sentenced in 2012 to 10 years in prison for sodomy and other crimes he committed while on Kanakuk summer staff; former Kanakuk counselor Paul Kerr, who pleaded guilty to child abuse in Missouri in 2012; and Ed Ringheim, a former counselor, bus chaperone and volunteer for K-Life who was sentenced to 15 years in a Florida state prison in 2011 for the sexual abuse of children.
NCOSE encourages the public to speak against those accused, especially tech giants, offering links to each company site here.
“Big Tech holds incredible influence over society, so it’s especially egregious when tech companies normalize, enable, and even profit from sexually exploitative practices, policies, and products. There is no other industry that has the capacity to help billions of people by prioritizing user protection and safety like Big Tech,” Lina Nealon, NCOSE director of corporate and strategic initiatives, said in releasing the list. “Tech companies on our Dirty Dozen List have enabled child sexual abuse to thrive on their platforms, and for predators to gain easy access to children. Those same companies frequently ignore survivors of sex trafficking and abuse who are seeking justice.”
NCOSE promotes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian group working to end sexual exploitation while focusing on, among many problems, child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, porn, child-on-child harmful sexual behavior, compulsive sexual behaviors and men’s violence against women, as well as the intersection of these issues with technology.
The full list of accusations and victories NCOSE cites from previous campaigns is available at endsexualexploitation.org.