OSNELL, Ark. (ABP) – A Southern Baptist evangelist, and former camp pastor at LifeWay Christian Resources’ FUGE summer youth events, has been charged with video voyeurism in a home where he was staying as a house guest while preaching a revival at a Baptist church in Arkansas.
Sammy Nuckolls, who lives in Olive Branch, Miss., with a wife and young child, was released on $50,000 bond from Mississippi County Jail in Blytheville, Ark., after giving police taped verbal and written statements admitting he set up a secret camera to record video of the woman of the house taking a shower, according to media reports.
The woman told police in Gosnell, Ark., where the home is located, that she noticed Nuckolls had left several items in the bathroom as she prepared to shower, including an oversized pen. As she continued to get ready, she noticed the pen had a USB connection.
After she left the bathroom Nuckells went to retrieve the items, including the pen, and took them into his room. After he left the house she plugged the pen into a computer and discovered it was a spy camera containing video of her in the bathroom.
According to the Blytheville Courier-News, Nuckolls told police he had done the same thing to two other women in Mississippi and provided their names. Both were contacted by police and told they had been victims of a crime.
A graduate of Williams Baptist College, who received his master of divinity degree from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn., Nuckells served on staff at several churches before entering full-time itinerant ministry. He has been popular at youth events for his humor and use of magic tricks while preaching to gain and hold attention.
On a LifeWay blog posting that has since been removed, Nuckells said he has been involved with FUGE as a camper, youth pastor and camp pastor since 1995.
Started in 1979 as Centrifuge with a full-time staff to plan and lead Bible study, team-building recreation, track times, worship and other camp elements, the summer camp quickly grew to become an annual tradition for Southern Baptist youth groups across the country.
In 1995 a missions component was added to create M-Fuge, which went international in 1998. In 2005 the ministry expanded with XFUGE, which allows churches to have the experience of their own church camp without having to worry about big-ticket expenses like camp pastor, music, lodging and food.
For churches that can’t decide, there is a Combo Camp that lets groups choose components from Centrifuge staff for Bible study and recreation, M-Fuge for missions involvement and the close-knit bonding of XFUGE.
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.