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Christian Camp Responds After Director Arrested, Fired

WHITE COUNTY, Ark.-- A now-former Christian camp director sits behind bars in White County, Arkansas, accused of inappropriately and illegally recording someone without permission. 

45-year-old Robert Powell faces a felony charge of video voyeurism. 

The White County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Phillip Miller told our reporter Price McKeon the investigation started Friday morning and Friday night investigators put Powell in handcuffs. 

Private property signs, no trespassing signs and a barricade blocking the entrance to camp Wyldewood on Sunday night. 

We met Rudolph Hess at the park down the road from the camp. 

He said, "It's just plum crazy in a sense."

We also met Liz Handke at the nearby park on Sunday. 

"What does it take to just say can I record this?" she asked. 

People asked questions after White County Sheriff deputies arrested the Christian camp and retreat center's now-former director Robert Powell on Friday on one count of felony video voyeurism. 

We talked with Jared Cox Sunday evening. He is the chairman of the board of the directors at Wyldewood. 

"I just thought this incident is completely inconsistent with his (Powell's) history," he told us. 

Cox said the camp fired Powell on Sunday as he sits behind bars. 

"He's had exemplary service with us always and been very trusted and so my only thoughts are how do we go forward from here," he said. 

According to the camp's website, Powell ran Camp Wyldewood for more than a decade. 

Hess said, "Why? Why? If he's been there that long it's just a crazy idea."

WCSO's Chief Deputy Phillip Miller told our reporter Price McKeon by phone on Sunday it is still very early in the investigation but there is "no evidence of children being recorded, targeted, or victims at this time."

Cox said, "There is no, no reason for us to think that there has ever been any risk to any children."

After meeting with him on Sunday, the chairman clarified on the phone with our reporter that the board believes at this point this is an isolated incident after "they (a married couple) found something on property in a building that they were renting that led to the allegation."

Cox said, "Our ministry and our program out there means the world to us."

Hess agreed safety is a priority for people. 

"Everybody needs to be safe (and) feel safe wherever they are at regardless," Hess said. 

The board said it wants to do just that and ensure everyone's safety. 

We learned Camp Wyldewood is closed until further notice. 

Cox said the sheriff's office plans to do a sweep of the property this week then an outside consulting group will come in out of what we're told is an abundance of caution. 

The sheriff's office said the camp's board of directors is fully cooperating with the sheriff's office. 

If you have any information about this case you are asked to call the White County Sheriff's office. 
 


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