Saturday, July 04, 2009

Update on Jasmine Trail in North Carolina

As previously noted, there is an investigating being launched against Jasmine Trail Nudist Campground in North Carolina. The local district attorney has called in the FBI.

There have been a lot of questions about why anyone would investigate a nudist resort when there have been zero complaints against the facility.

It turns out that that a local NC school psychologist was arrested and charged with taking "indecent liberties with a minor and first degree sexual exploitation of a minor" by taking nude photos of a boy. Apparently investigators found that this man's online profile included Jasmine Trail and decided to expand their probe.

The report does not state the exact nature of the photos in question, but the North Carolina statute on first degree sexual exploitation of a minor is pretty clear that sexual activity is likely depicted.

The man in question, Johnny Clevenger, reportedly planned to visit Jasmine Trail but was arrested before he made the trip. Had he made it to the campground, he would have been greeted at the gate, engaged in conversation, filled out a registration form, and given a tour of the park. All this is according to the Jasmine Trail website. There is no mention if new visitors undergo any type of background check.

Since Clevenger was a school psychologist, are officials now investigating the school for hiring him? Did he belong to a church, a country club, was he a Scoutmaster, did he belong to any fraternal groups? Are those organizations also subject to scrutiny?

It's clear that these people as singling out Jasmine Trail and its members for criminal investigation based upon mere circumstance and common misconceptions. I'm certain that there is no way, no how, the owners and members of Jasmine Trail would have allowed Clevenger to remain on the property had he shown any sign of voyeuristic or other sexual behavior. He would not have been allowed to bring in a camera, and if he showed any sign of being overtly interested in children, they would have called the police.

Chances are the child who officials allege was exploited by the school psychologist would have been far safer at Jasmine Trail than wherever the exploitation took place.

There are bad people everywhere. With all the sex scandals in the US Congress, nobody is calling for an investigation of all Senators and Representatives. The Catholic Church has been dealing with hundreds of child abuse cases involving priests, but nobody is calling for an investigation of all churches. Singling out Jasmine Trail merely because one alleged pervert thought about going there is a fishing expedition designed merely to further the careers of elected politicians.

Because of the behavior of one man, who had no official connection to Jasmine Trail, this district attorney has called in the FBI to investigate photos which were on the park's website, is calling into question the fitness of the parents who practice naturism with their families, and wants legislation drafted to make it illegal for children to be naturists.

I have a bad feeling about this whole case. While I doubt that the FBI will find anything, just the fact that they are investigating is highly damaging to the Jasmine Trail's reputation, and certainly anyone planning a visit to the park will think twice about going, especially with children.

I'd like to see AANR and TNS encourage all of its members to go to Jasmine Trail on a designated day as a show of support, and call in the press. The nudist population in Pasco County was under similar attack several years ago from Rep. Mark Foley - perhaps they could pile into buses for the 12 hour drive to Jasmine Trail. Imagine hundreds of nudist and naturists from all over gathering to dispel the myths about the lifestyle and telling government to leave them alone.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the original stories about the school psychologist.

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