Pete Newman, Former Kanukuk Counselor out on bail hours after 8 hours in jail
Former Kanakuk counselor Pete Newman is no longer in custody at the Taney County Jail just hours after Judge Tony Williams raised Newman's required bond.
The original charges allegating Newman used his position as a youth pastor to commit crimes against young men were posted in the Branson,Missouri blog on Sept. 16th. The articles title emphasized the unusually small bond amount set in Tony Williams courtroom last month: Pete Newman Charged With Sexual Assault Against Children Posts 50k Bond.
Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrill stated he didn't remember the amount of bail set for Newman during an interview with a small regional newspaper last month. Considering the nature of the charges, bail was set surprisingly low. Due to the unusually low bail set, the amount was posted in the original article.
Newman was arrested after appearing 14 minutes late for a hearing yesterday resulting in a firm reaction from Judge Tony Williams who verbally scolded client and attorney as they walked into the courtroom. Williams was drafting Newman's arrest warrant after they entered the courtroom.
Williams asked a pointed question to Merrill which served a dual purpose. Before resetting Newman's bail amount, Judge Williams asked Merrill for a recommend amount. Almost uniformly, Judges follow the recommendation of prosecutors when it comes to such decisions. With the watchful eye of the media present William's query allowed Merrill to save face on the high profile case.
Merrill asked and received an increased bond of $100k which is standard in similar cases. A witness present in the courtroom stated she'd warned Kanakuk officials about Newman's behavior in 2006 and Merrill has stated in two separate interviews that other potential victims have stepped forward with claims of sexual misconduct by Newman.
Regardless of Merrill's verbal statements to the press, which include, allusions to the probability of new charges being filed no new charges have been filed to date. Of the 16 "victims" cited in the Taney County Sherrif's Office Probable Cause Statement, only two counts of sexual conduct with a child under 15, one count of second-degree sodomy and one count of child enticement have been pressed by the Taney County Prosecutor's Office.
The $100,000 bond required the Newman family to produce an additional %5,000 to secure Pete Newman's release. The transaction was complete 8 hours later with records showing Newman's release at 6:15 from Taney County's Jail in Forsyth, MO.
Newman has been instructed by the court to return Nov. 17th ans was previously forced to surrender his passport and refrain from contact with minors.