Fort Bluff founder booked: Former director Mike Crain turns himself in to sheriff's department

 

The founder and former executive director of a Rhea County Christian camp has been arrested and charged with three counts of sexual battery.

Mike Crain, 65, turned himself in to officers at the Rhea County Jail Friday after a grand jury issued an indictment for him on Oct. 5 for the felony charges.

Crain has garnered much recognition over the last 35 years for the creation of Dayton-based Fort Bluff Camp and the National Association of Christian Athletics as well as for his "Karate for Christ" martial arts demonstrations.

According to Rhea County Investigator Rocky Potter, two women have alleged that Crain groped them in the office facilities of Fort Bluff earlier this year. Both were employees at the camp, Potter said.

One of the alleged victims is a minor. The teen reported that Crain molested her while they were alone on two occasions this year - once in May and another time in August, according to police reports.

The other alleged victim told police she was sexually assaulted in August as well, Potter said.

Both women claimed that they were alone with Crain when the incidents occurred, according to police reports. In one case, the alleged victim was asleep and reportedly awoke to Crain assaulting her.

Potter said campers were probably on the campgrounds during at least one of the reported incidents.

Crain was released from jail after he paid a $5,000 bond.

In 1974, Crain and his wife, Naomi, founded Fort Bluff on Ogden Road, located atop Dayton Mountain.

According to Herald-News archives, the camp is host to about 10,000 children every year through its various camp programs and athletic events through the NACA.

According to a statement released by the organization, Crain had to step down from his leadership positions with Fort Bluff after suffering strokes in 2007. His wife Naomi was named as President and CEO in April 2008, the statement said. The camp's statement said that Mike Crain suffered from "progressive cognitive dementia."

Mike Crain still worked and lived on the campgrounds, though, according to Potter.

Days after the alleged incidents occurred in August, Naomi Crain left her positions with the camp, and Tim Walterbach was named Executive Director of Fort Bluff Camp.

According to Walterbach, the Crains have not been officially affiliated with Fort Bluff or the NACA since then. The released statement indicated the separation was a result of Crain's medical problems.

"Mike and Naomi Crain are no longer affiliated with NACA/Fort Bluff Camp," the statement said. "There was a mutual agreement for their separation. Mike's illness prohibits his and Naomi's involvement in the ministry of NACA/Fort Bluff Camp."

"We're saddened by the situation," Walterbach said on Monday.

The camp had no other comments to add to the released statement.

Michael Reneau can be contacted at michael.reneau@rheaheraldnews.com.