Stripper Who Made Allegations Against Swaggart Has History of Minor Arrests
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Officials confirmed Tuesday that the woman who claims in Penthouse magazine that she performed sexual acts for television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart has a string of arrests in the New Orleans area.
Swaggart’s attorneys distributed documents showing that Catherine Mary Kampen had been arrested in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes on various charges, including theft and issuing bad checks.
The documents were distributed at a news conference Monday during which Swaggart vehemently denied knowing Kampen and threatened to sue the magazine.
Kampen, a 38-year-old stripper, claims in the March issue of Penthouse that she was Swaggart’s ″sex slave″ for six months. The magazine quotes Kampen as saying Swaggart demanded that she perform sadomasochistic and degrading acts.
Swaggart was defrocked by the Assemblies of God last year and saw his international ministries rocked by allegations that he paid a New Orleans prostitute to perform sex acts for him. He confessed at that time to an unspecified sin but never discussed the accusations made by the prostitute, Debra Murphree.
On Monday, Swaggart accused Penthouse of trying to destroy his ministry through a ″diabolical and slanderous″ story.
″Feel free to publish anything you like,″ Swaggart warned the magazine at a news conference Monday, ″but be prepared to back it up in court.″
Penthouse Publisher Bob Guccione said in a statement Monday that he stood behind the story.
Penthouse spokesman Sy Presten said the terms of Kampen’s contract with the magazine prevented her from talking to the press, but ″we’re working on setting up a press conference next week.″
Kampen’s arrest record is mentioned in passing in the Penthouse article. Art Harris, who wrote the piece, said the arrests were minor.
″You wouldn’t expect someone who got into this situation to have the background of a nun,″ he said Tuesday.
Harris refused to comment on charges by Ronda Shear, co-owner of the strip- tease telegram service that employs Kampen, that the woman had concocted the story after seeing a Penthouse story on Murphree.
According to records distributed by Swaggart’s lawyers, Kampen was arrested in Jefferson Parish on Dec. 30, 1986, and charged with criminal damage to property and theft of under $100. Kampen was convicted and paid a $200 fine and court costs, said Linda Simpson of the district attorney’s office.
On Aug. 17, 1973, Kampen was arrested and charged with issuing worthless checks in St. Bernard Parish. She was given one year’s probation and fined $40.
Kampen was arrested in New Orleans on Jan. 10, 1972, under the name of Cathy M. Smith, and charged with using a stolen driver’s license and forged receipt to get $53 from a department store. Court records confirm she was fined $100 and received a suspended six-month jail sentence.