According to state records obtained by The Washington Free Beacon, Maryland health officials deemed Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock’s early 2000s church-run summer camp to be unsafe to operate due to unreported child abuse allegations and safety-code violations.
Warnock previously served as a senior pastor at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, which operated Camp Farthest Out where suspected child abuse occurred.
In its report on the matter, the Free Beacon stated:
The records, from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, paint a picture of an environment where campers were routinely left unsupervised, staffers were not subject to required criminal background checks, and at least five cases of child abuse or neglect were brought against the camp’s director, who was ultimately forced to resign.
Inspectors from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene traveled to the campsite in 2002 and found multiple health and safety violations.
“Staff are not supervising campers,” a health inspector wrote in a report on July 31, 2002. “Conversations w/ medical staff & pool staff indicate that this is routine among the counselors. It was observed during inspection today.”
In its report, the Free Beacon also stated the camp had “no fire marshal approval.”
The camp had no fire marshal approval, no approval for the plumbing or electrical system, incomplete child medical records, inadequate child abuse reporting procedures, and insufficient CPR certification, according to the report. The health inspector observed around 80 children in the swimming pool with “only 2 lifeguards + 1 counselor present,” calling this a “[r]epeat violation from 2001.” A total of 11 violations were noted in the report.
The Free Beacon further noted that the newly revealed details surrounding the summer camp “raise new questions for Warnock, who has faced scrutiny over his 2002 arrest for allegedly hindering and obstructing a child abuse investigation at the camp by Maryland State Police.”
Warnock’s 2002 arrest was first reported by the Baltimore Sun. According to reports, when police attempted to investigate the allegations of child abuse, Warnock and Mark Andre Wainwright, a different pastor at the church, stepped in and even attempted to prevent a camper from talking to the police.
A press release from Warnock’s Republican challenger, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), highlighted that “arresting officers from the Child and Sexual Assault Unit had ‘never encountered resistance like [Warnock’s] at all.'”
Loeffler’s campaign also noted:
A civil lawsuit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City was filed against both Warnock and Wainwright, as well as Douglas Memorial Community Church of Baltimore, Camp Farthest Out, Corey Willis Ferguson, and two other individuals. The civil suit appears to have been settled in 2005, which is incidentally the same year Warnock left Douglas Memorial Church for Ebenezer Baptist Church. This civil lawsuit raises additional red flags about Warnock’s involvement in the child abuse investigation.
In addition, Loeffler’s campaign said “a crucial detail lies with Warnock’s co-defendant in the case, Corey Ferguson,” who was arrested three weeks after Warnock for second-degree assault.
Loeffler’s campaign said the new details “reveal that this situation is much deeper than originally known, and it leaves simple questions that Warnock needs to be asked,” including “Why were the police called to investigate child abuse in the first place?” and “What was Warnock’s knowledge or involvement – if any?”
For more details on the matter, click here.