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'Enough is enough': Former camper sues Kanakuk Kamp for 'fraud' related to abuse settlement

Posted at 5:35 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 23:32:20-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Logan Yandell was just nine years old the first time his camp counselor sexually assaulted him at Kanakuk Kamps.

The abuse lasted for more than three years.

It's a secret Logan, now 27, has kept most of his life due to a non-disclosure agreement his family entered into with Kanakuk Kamps in 2010.

"Enough is enough," he said.

Logan recently filed a lawsuit against Kanakuk, claiming victims "without knowing the true facts regarding [Kanakuk’s] active misrepresentations and concealment of Newman’s sexual misconduct.”

Logan and his family, who live in Tennessee, said Joe White, the camp's CEO, lied to them and if they'd known then what they know now, they'd never have signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Reed Martens, Logan's attorney, said Missouri law grants him the ability to sue.

"We believe Missouri law provides Logan within his rights to come forward and sue independently for fraud and recover the full value of his damages," Martens said. "This is likely to be a long road and fought every step of the way by Kanakuk."

Back to the beginning
When asked about his experience at Kanakuk, Logan said he doesn't have much of a memory, outside of the abuse he endured for three years by his camp counselor, Pete Newman.

In 2009, Newman confessed to sexually abusing more than a dozen kids.

Logan Yandell's parents, Greg and Christa, never knew what their son went through, until Greg asked Logan after learning of Newman's confession.

"I was finally able to get that off of my chest," Logan said. "That was such a relief. I had been carrying that on my own back for many years and for me to have the ability to shed that weight a little bit and share it with someone else was a major relief to me."

While Logan, still a young boy, found relief in confiding in his father, his parents were hit with grief at the same time.

"I remember falling to my knees on the concrete in the garage and just weeping," Christa Yandell said.

Logan's dad suffered from guilt.

"My thought process then was more around almost failure as a parent to protect your kid," Greg Yandell said.

Once Logan told his dad what happened, Greg said he immediately called his friend and CEO of Kanakuk, Joe White. Greg said he asked White if he had ever suspected Newman of being a threat to children.

"His direct and immediate response to me was, 'We never saw anything. This comes as just as big of a shock to us as it does for you,'" Greg Yandell said.

The family said they believed White. That White was a friend to them and they had no reason to think White ever knew about Newman's abuse.

Back into silence
Logan sharing his story after three years of keeping his silence was short lived.

The family settled with Kanakuk and signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the deal.

But, the Yandells said if they knew then what they know now, they never would've signed the agreement.

What did Kanakuk know?
In 2021, the Yandell family said they learned information that Kanukuk and White did have reason to believe Newman was harmful to children.

Attached to the lawsuit filed by Logan is a sworn affidavit signed by a former supervisor at Kanakuk.

In 1999, four years after Newman was hired, the supervisor writes Kanakuk received a complaint that Newman was engaging in nude activities with the kids, including riding ATV's.

The supervisor also writes in the affidavit that he was told by other management the complaint was passed along to a local prosecutor.

Then, in 2003, the supervisor said Kanakuk received a similar complaint from a parent, who said Newman was playing basketball and swimming naked again with kids.

The supervisor said he believes he didn't have the authority to fire Newman.

The supervisor writes that he suggested to his employer that Newman be terminated. Newman remained on staff and was later promoted.

"I don’t understand how someone that runs a camp where your sole purpose first and foremost is the protection of children, because as a parent you send your kid to camp as a parent with the trust that camp is gonna protect my child," Greg Yandell said.

The number of kids abused from the time of the alleged first complaint to 1999 when Newman confessed and was fired is unknown, Logan said.

No word from Kanakuk
On Tuesday, the I-Team called Kanakuk and asked to speak to White. The person who answered the phone asked the I-Team to submit a request through the communications team at Kanakuk.

A response has not been received when this story was published. This story will be updated if a response is received.

Kanakuk addresses the accusations on its website and claims Newman "was a master of deception, fooling not only Kanakuk but also his friends, neighbors, and even his own family. As soon as Kanakuk became aware of abuse, we took action, including immediate termination and reporting him to authorities."

Logan and his family hopes their lawsuit will help release victims beyond their son.

"I want more victims to have an opportunity to walk forward and feel free to speak their truth and have healing," Christa Yandell said. "I want Joe white to step down. I want Joe White to admit that he knew."