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Eight Face Charges in Child Abuse Investigation

For more information contact:

Contact: Elise Schaffer, PIO Phone: (608) 284-6142
Email: Schaffer@danesheriff.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/21/2011

Issued By: Sheriff
View only releases from Sheriff

Eight people from Black Earth and Mazomanie are facing Child Abuse charges following a lengthy investigation by Dane County Sheriff’s detectives.  The investigation began in November of 2010, when former members of the Aleitheia Bible Church (ABC) contacted authorities with their concerns about the mistreatment of children. 

 

Individuals facing charges are:

 

  • 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

 

All eight people, five men and three women, belong to ABC.  The church was formed in 2006, when some members of the Curtis Street Bible Fellowship broke away to start their own church.  Philip B. Caminiti served as the head pastor/elder for ABC.  The small congregation held worship services and meetings at the homes of Phil Caminiti and other members.  Matthew Caminiti was another elder at ABC, which was started with a donation of between $500,000 and $600,000 from Bob and Lori Wick of Mazomanie. 

 

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, the church members were open with detectives about their “spare the rod, spoil the child” philosophy.  They described using wooden dowels and wooden spoons on the bare skin of children, starting as young as 2 months old.  The dowels were described as being 12” to 18 “ long and the diameter the size of a quarter.  According to ABC church members, Phil would instruct parents on how to utilize rods for spankings.  One person described the children being emotional, grumpy or crying as behaviors that would constitute a spanking with a dowel.  The victims include a total of twelve children ranging in age from infants to six years.  All of their parents described redness and bruising as common effects of the spankings. 

 

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

 

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