A 33-year-old Christian camp counselor is accused of sexually touching child, becomes first charged in abuse investigation in Wisconsin

Journal Sentinel [Milwaukee WI]

February 4, 2022

By Laura Schulte

Prosecutors in Waushara County have filed the first criminal charge to result from the attorney general’s statewide investigation into clergy and faith leaders accused of sexual abuse.

Remington Jon Nystrom, 33, was charged with one count of first-degree sexual contact with a child under 13 in connection with an incident that occurred in 2009, according to information from the Department of Justice. 

Nystrom was a counselor at a Mount Morris camp in Waushara County when, police say, he inappropriately touched a sleeping 10-year-old, waking the child. 

Mount Morris is affiliated with the Moravian Church of America.

More: ‘This is criminal evidence’: Advocates deliver boxes of documents regarding clergy abuse to attorney general 

The victim had not previously reported the assault to either church or legal authorities, prior to reporting the abuse to the Attorney General’s Office, according to the Department of Justice.

“This case is possible because of the report made by a brave survivor and the diligent work of investigators, victim service professionals, and prosecutors,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement. “We continue to ask anyone with information about clergy and faith leader abuse to make a report to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”

Nystrom, who is listed with a Wisconsin Rapids address in an online court database, was ordered held on a $5,000 cash bond on Friday. A judge also barred him from having contact with minors without another adult present and prohibited any contact with Mount Morris.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 14.

Kaul launched the clergy and faith leaders investigation in April after years of urging from survivors of abuse. By October, the Department of Justice had received more than 180 reports of abuse that were being investigated, including two that were forwarded to the Brown County District Attorney’s office in Green Bay for further investigation. 

Reports have involved clergy and faith leaders from multiple religious organizations, as well as some reports of abuse not related to any religious organization, according to the Department of Justice. Some reports include claims against multiple abusers. 

More: Wisconsin’s attorney general is investigating the handling of clergy abuse claims. Here is what we know.

Of the reports received, 80% were reports of abuse, while 20% were related to how an institution handled a claim of abuse, according to the department. The ages of those reporting abuse range from under 18 to over 75. About 40% of the people who have reported to the clergy hotline have not reported to a law enforcement agency or a religious entity before. 

Some reports can’t be sent on to local investigators, though, because they fall outside of the state’s statute of limitations. For criminal cases, victims of child sexual assault older than 45 can’t bring charges forward, and for civil cases, the ability to sue ends at age 35.

How to file a report 

To file a report, call 877-222-2620 or use the online reporting tool at supportsurvivors.widoj.gov. Both options provide the ability to file an anonymous tip.