New Tribes Missionary Warren Scott Kennell Sentenced Today

Warren Scott Kennell, the New Tribes missionary who was arrested back in June for producing child pornography, was sentenced today in Orlando, Florida. Kennell was arrested by Homeland Security when he was coming into the country. He eventually admitted to producing child pornography with young Brazilian girls that he worked with as a missionary.

A large group of family turned out to the courtroom and asked the judge for leniency, citing that the culture where he was raised may have contributed to his crime. I am not sure if they meant the Brazilian culture, or the New Tribes Mission culture.

Apparently the judge didn’t buy the argument, as he sentenced Kennell to 58 years in prison, just three years shy of the maximum allowable sentence. You can read more about the day’s events here.


6 thoughts on “New Tribes Missionary Warren Scott Kennell Sentenced Today

  1. Pingback: SIM Missionary Terminated for Child Pornography in February 2015 | SIM Missionary Kid Survivors

  2. Thanks for being so open & frank here. I am not an MK, but I worked as a single missionary & suffered great emotional abuse, strict rules I couldn’t abide by, since I would have starved and lots of lies spread about me. I used to even blame myself and have had a lot of trust issues in my life trying to get over this. In christian cirlces no one ever believes you if you say something negative about missionaries. It is good for me to see I am not alone and I at least was never abused sexually.

  3. In the situation of Warren Scott Kennell, it might be of interest to think of the author of The Shack who has been open about the abuse he received within the native communities and how that influenced his struggles in later life. Fortunately he was able to take the route of therapy, and writing a book, to work through his issues. I have to confess I’m shocked at the sentence, of course in Canada often sentences can be too light, but I don’t think his action demands life in prison. A couple of decades, maybe. This is a whole issue that also has to be explored – how many MKs were abused by indigenous peoples – frankly, I was. Fortunately it was a brief one off but you can bet it had a huge influence, beginning with nightmares. Of course what Warren did was horribly wrong…crazy how we pass on the pain. And of course the pain of all the other aspects of MK life contributes.

    • Hey Audrey! Nice to hear from you. I agree that 58 years is a shockingly long sentence. Sandusky got 30 years but he was 68 at the time. It just ensures they will be spending the rest of their lives in prison. Does he deserve that sentence? Like you said, what he did was horribly wrong. Over 900 images of pornography found on his computer, and he admitted to sexually abusing Brazilian girls. We don’t know many he abused, or how many years this was going on. Who were these girls and what was the impact on their lives?

      I agree with you that abuse of MKs by (in our case) Africans was widespread. Didn’t we all get left with “babysitters” while both our parents were out and busy with the Mission’s work? I know of specific cases. Then when you got to school it carried on with the other kids and sometimes the staff. I believe there is not a single MK who isn’t touched by abuse, either experiencing it himself or seeing it happen to a friend or classmate.

      Should MKs who were abused be let off the hook when they become an abuser, or get a lighter sentence when they commit a crime, because of their past? New Tribes has been ignoring the abuse at their boarding schools for decades. ABWE knew about their doctor who was a pedophile and did nothing about it. SIM has staff members who have been accused and they do nothing. Frankly I am glad to see this handled by the court system and a judge who isn’t buying into the argument that missionaries should get special treatment.

    • I disagree with you… imprisonment would be just about right in Kennell’s case, as well as in similar cases. If MKs were abused by indigenous people, as you were, I’m very sorry, somebody should have been protecting the MKs, but that has nothing to do with Kennell.

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