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Kanakuk trial set for August 2013

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Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 3:12 pm

DALLAS — A feud over the trial date in an estimated $10 million lawsuit against Kanakuk Kamps, its current CEO and its former director has been settled by the federal district judge assigned to the case.

    Defendants Kanakuk and CEO Joe White had disputed the original trial setting of June 3, 2013, saying it would interfere with the camp’s busy summer season.

    The plaintiffs in the case are the parents of an alleged victim of Peter Daniel Newman, a convicted child molester who was formerly a Kanakuk director. Newman, who is serving more than two life sentences in Missouri state prison, is also named as a defendant.

    Kanakuk requested a trial in mid- to late August 2013. U.S. District Judge Joe Fish ordered the parties to attempt to come to an agreement by March 8.

    A joint filing said the parties  did confer by phone, but failed to reach an agreement. The day after his deadline passed, Fish filed an order resetting the trial for Aug. 5, 2013.

    The date selected by Fish appears to have been an effort to compromise, as it does not precisely fit the requests of either party.

    In the joint filing, plaintiffs said their son, who is referred to as “John Doe I,” will begin his senior year of high school Aug. 26, 2013. They requested the trial start no later than July 22, as it is expected to take at least two weeks.

    “Moreover, when this case is concluded, the parents of John Doe I would ask that (he) have the opportunity to have two to three weeks to recuperate and recover from what is likely to be a very emotional trial,” the filing read.

    For their part, Kanakuk and White said any setting between May 18-Aug. 11 would “create a significant conflict.” They said that those expected to testify during the trial include the heads of Kanakuk’s three largest camps.

    “(It) would be almost impossible for Kanakuk Kamps to operate its summer camps with these employees preparing for and attending a trial that is located over 400 miles away,” defendants said in the joint filing.

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