STATEMENT – Kanakuk Kamp Leaders Must Be Held Accountable for Child Sexual Abuse
Washington, DC (March 29, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) said that all those responsible for instances of sexual abuse at Kanakuk Kamp, including leadership, must be held accountable given that numerous people have come forward in lawsuits over the years alleging they were sexually abused as minors at the prominent Christian summer camp.
“It is heartbreaking to hear that numerous people were sexually abused as children at Kanakuk Kamp. Children are immeasurably precious, yet they are also vulnerable. There must be accountability when an institution trusted to foster safety, service, and community chooses profit, preservation, and reputation (or any other priority) over the safety of children,” said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“Faith-based organizations hold a unique position of trust in the lives of children and their families. When that trust is betrayed by failing to protect children the results are often devastating. Sexual abuse in the institutional setting—especially when the institution is faith-based—must be addressed decisively. An organization’s faith-based character should spur both careful comprehensive practices to prevent abuse, and when abuse is reported, direct rigorous investigation and action. The larger and more influential the organization is, the more incumbent it is to ensure that its position of trust is never miscarried. Over the years thousands of families have entrusted their children’s hearts, minds, and safety to Kanakuk Kamps. Tragically, it appears that in some instances, the safety of children took a back seat to other considerations. This is a violation of trust and ultimately a failure of leadership.
“We support the survivors who have come forward. It takes extreme courage to speak out and seek justice for sexual abuse. We hope that these survivors find healing,” Hawkins said.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, please contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or online at https://hotline.rainn.org/online.
About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.