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Former Staff Member at Embattled Kanakuk Kamp Charged with Sexual Assault of a Child

By Sheila Stogsdill
Matthew Harmon, 46, is charged with second-degree felony sexual assault of a child. (Photo: Dallas Police Department)

A former staff member at embattled Kanakuk Kamp in Lampe, Missouri, has been charged with sexual assaulting a minor, following a yearlong investigation, according to the Dallas Police Department.

Matthew Harmon, 46, is charged with second-degree felony sexual assault of a child, police say.

Harmon reportedly met the alleged victim while working at The Providence School in Dallas in 2007. Harmon also worked at Trinity Christian Academy. And in summers, he worked at Kanakuk in Darango, Colorado, and Kanakuk in Branson Missouri from 1995 through the mid-2000s. 

Kanakuk has been in the spotlight for years, after former staff member, Pete Newman, pleaded guilty in 2010 to seven counts of sexually abusing boys. He is currently serving two life sentences, according to published reports.

Another Kanakuk staff member, Lee Bradbury, pleaded guilty in 2013 to four sex-related charges, involving Kanakuk campers. Five other former Kanakuk staff have also been convicted of sex crimes committed after leaving employment at the camp.

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documentary vice news kanakuk
In a still from the Emmy-winning documentary “A Christian Summer Camp’s History of Abuse,” Kanakuk Camps founder Joe White addresses students at their campgrounds in Lampe, Missouri. (Video screen grab)

On May 28, the Dallas Police Child Exploitation Squad issued a warrant for Harmon, according to a prepared statement released by the police department.

The investigation reveals Harmon had been in contact with thousands of children through his work and volunteering.

“Harmon was employed at Providence from approximately July 2004 to December 2007, when he resigned in the middle of the 2007-2008 academic year, citing unspecified personal reasons,” according to a statement released by the school district.

The school’s investigation “found credible accounts of misconduct committed by Harmon during and after his tenure at Providence,” the statement says.

Findings included grooming behavior, emotional abuse, inappropriate sexual conversations, and sexual abuse of a minor.

The grooming behavior exhibited toward female students included: meeting with female students in private, making inappropriate comments about a girl’s body that made her uncomfortable, buying gifts, tickling a minor student, and purchasing alcohol for a minor.

The emotional abuse reported in the investigation included: excessive running used as discipline and inappropriate comments about a girl’s body.

The reported child sexual abuse involved a former Providence student he had begun grooming while she was a student at Providence.

The school’s investigation reported the child sexual abuse occurred both during the time Harmon was employed at Providence and after his employment ended.

Harmon is free on $40,000 bail, according to the Springfield News Leader.

Sheila Stogsdill is a freelance print journalist and digital reporter, primarily covering crime issues for KSN/KODE.



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5 Responses

  1. I used to see myself as the world’s worst pervert bc I could NOT stop the filthy sexual lust addiction I inherited from my father. I had an uncontrollable preoccupation with a certain small part of my anatomy, which I fought to be rid of for decades. I lusted after female flesh big time. I was also, according to my parents, Sunday School teachers, preachers, ‘Christian authors, & elders at my family’s church, a child of God, with a free ticket to heaven, bc I had said some words about Jesus & sin! Maybe it was due to an inherent understanding of logic, from somewhere, that I knew in my heart that God was NOT pleased with me. I fought this evil with every fibre of my being. I literally shed tears as I cried out to God to set me free, night after night.
    Eventually I admitted to myself that my ‘Christianity’ was NOT real. I met many other ‘brothers & sisters’ over the years who had the same problem as I did. In fact, I rebelled at the age of 18, and sort the world’s delights for 8 years. My boyfriends & I understood that the most successful way to ‘pick up girls who were willing’ was to hang about a church after a service. I kid u not!!
    I married, & promised myself that my family was going to be ‘God pleasing.’ I bought a few versions of the bible & a trusty concordance, & began a passionate, determined search for God’s truth & His message of salvation. As a result, I felt compelled to write a book declaring God’s message of salvation. Repentance is the ONLY way to be forgiven. Get ‘A Nation Broken’ today to see how to work out salvation with fear & trembling.

    1. God can forgive but a sinner has to face consequences for breaking the law.
      As a Christian we are subjection to Government laws.
      Governments don’t allow sexual predators and is condemned by God’s laws.
      As a Christian we are committed to obey Government laws so it does not to conflict God’s law,
      No excuses you deserve punishment for those sexual sins.

  2. There is literally one new sex abuser arrested each day in our churches. We have at least four in the last four days.

    But sure, lets keep griping about drag queens.

    A former Troup County pastor has been indicted on child molestation charges.
    By Karli Barnett
    Published: Jun. 9, 2024 at 9:43 PM EDT

    Volunteer coach arrested for molestation of a juvenile, other charges
    June 07, 2024 4:29 PM in NewsSource: WBRZBy: Adam Burruss
    ADDIS – A former volunteer coach at Christian Academy of Louisiana was arrested for molestation of a juvenile, according to officials.

    Dennis Kennamer, 39, was booked on two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, two counts of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, one count of computer-aided solicitation for sexual purposes and one count molestation of a juvenile.

    Asheville Christian Academy dean charged with sexual act with student: sheriff’s office
    Ryley Ober
    Asheville Citizen Times
    June 7, 2024

  3. I have a feeling that former staff and volunteers from Kanakuk Kamps will be showing in the press for years, if not decades to come. The culture there really seems to nurture these guys in their burgeoning careers as child sex offenders.

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