Eight arrested in Dane Co. church child abuse investigation - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Eight arrested in Dane Co. church child abuse investigation

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Philip B. Caminiti Philip B. Caminiti
John R. Caminiti John R. Caminiti

MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County authorities say eight people from Black Earth and Mazomanie are facing child abuse charges in a sixteen-month investigation.

In November of 2010, former members of the Aleitheia Bible Church (ABC) came forward and told detectives about their concerns about the mistreatment of children.

The five men and three women arrested belong to ABC. Authorities say the church was formed in 2006, when some members of the Curtis Street Bible Fellowship broke away to start their own church, with a starting donation of between $500,000 and $600,000 from Bob and Lori Wick of Mazomanie.

One of the suspects arrested, Philip B. Caminiti, served as the head pastor for ABC. The small congregation held worship services and meetings at members' homes. Another suspect, Matthew Caminiti, was also an elder at ABC.

During interviews with detectives, Phil expressed his belief that the Bible dictates the use of a "rod over a hand" to punish children. He stated that children only a few months old are "worthy" of the rod and that by "one and a half months," a child is old enough to be spanked.

Throughout the investigation, detectives say other church members were open about this philosophy. They admitted using wooden dowels and wooden spoons on children's bare skin. The dowels were described as 12 to 18 inches long and the size of a quarter in diameter.

According to ABC church members, Phil Caminiti would instruct parents on spanking children as young as two months old. One person said children being emotional, grumpy or crying as behaviors that would constitute spanking with a dowel.

The victims include a total of twelve children ranging in age from infants to six years old. All of their parents described redness and bruising as common effects of the spankings.

Philip and John Caminiti are currently being held in the Dane County Jail. All of the children remain in their homes. Families are working with social workers from Dane County Human Services.

Authorities have released the following list of names and charges associated with the ABC investigation:

  • Philip B. Caminiti, age 53 of Black Earth

Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm; Conspiracy to Commit (8 counts)

  • John R. Caminiti, age 45 of Black Earth

PTAC of Mental Harm to a Child (4 counts)

Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (4 counts)

Mental Harm to a Child (4 counts)

  • Andrea L. Wick, age 26 of Mazomanie

PTAC Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (2 counts)

  • Timothy J. Wick, age 27 of Mazomanie

PTAC Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (2 counts)

  • Alina N. Caminiti, age 24 of Black Earth

PTAC Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (3 counts)

  • Matthew B. Caminiti, age 27 of Black Earth

PTAC Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (3 counts)

Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (2 counts)

  • Maria J. Stephenson, age 29 of Black Earth

PTAC Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (2 counts)

Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (2 counts)

  • Timothy D. Stephenson, age 28 of Black Earth

PTAC Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm

 

 

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