Hidden camera found at Christian youth camp in Arkansas

SEARCY, AR (WMC/KARK) - A former Christian camp director is behind bars in Arkansas.

The man is accused of inappropriately and illegally recording someone without their permission.

Robert Powell, 45, is facing a felony charge of video voyeurism after a camera was found in a building at Camp Wyldewood in Searcy.

Jared Cox, Camp Wyldewood's chairman of the board of directors told KARK that it is believed to be an isolated incident.

"[A couple] found something on property in a building that they were renting that led to the allegation," Cox said.

White County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Phillip Miller said that while it's still early in the investigation, there is "no evidence of children being, recorded, targeted, or victims at this time."

Powell, who ran the camp for more than a decade lost his job Sunday, two days after he was arrested.

"I just thought this incident is completely inconsistent with his history," Cox said. "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?'"

Camp Wyldewood is closed until further notice. It placed the following statement on its website:

"Camp Wyldewood has a strong commitment to a safe and nurturing environment for our campers and guests. Upon learning of inappropriate and illegal actions conducted by camp director, Robert Powell, Camp Wyldewood's board of directors took immediate action, terminating Powell's employment and initiating an internal investigation. Based on current evidence, we believe this is a one-time, isolated incident of video voyeurism with no minors involved. This incident was not associated with any campers, camp functions, camp activities, retreats, or group rentals. There is no evidence of any other instances prior to what took place last week. We are fully cooperating with local authorities, and will assist in any ongoing investigative efforts. Camp Wyldewood strives to offer a Christian environment for all campers, guests, employees, and visitors. We are deeply saddened by the events that have transpired and make every effort to ensure our facilities are safe and secure for all."

The sheriff's office plans to do a sweep of the property this week, followed by allowing an outside consulting group to investigate, out of an "abundance of caution."

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

If you have any information about this case you're asked to call the White County Sheriff's Office at (501) 279-6279.

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