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Filed under: 2020 Runoffs

Camper who attended Raphael Warnock church camp details abuse — ‘He should not be running’

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FEATURED

The memo:

  • A new report details horrifying allegations of abuse at a church camp overseen by Raphael Warnock.
  • A camper who was 12 at the time said counselors doused him in urine and made him sleep outside.
  • Warnock was arrested and charged for allegedly obstructing a police investigation into the camp.

A shocking new report describes Anthony Washington’s firsthand account of attending a church camp when he was 12 that was overseen by Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock and allegedly featured several instances of abuse.

According to now 30-year-old Washington, who described the experience in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, counselors at the camp tossed urine on him and locked him outside his cabin overnight.

The Free Beacon noted that Washington’s experience at the camp led to “a 2003 lawsuit that ended two years later, when Washington says he and his family received a large financial settlement.”

The Free Beacon also noted that Washington’s account of what occured “provides the first direct insight into the alleged abuse and neglect that transpired at Camp Farthest Out, which Warnock oversaw as senior pastor of Maryland’s Douglas Memorial Community church.”

“I don’t think nobody like [Warnock] should be running for damn Senate nowhere, running a camp like that,” Washington told the Free Beacon. “He should not be running for government.”

Warnock served as senior pastor at Baltimore’s Douglas Memorial Community Church for about four years, beginning in 2001. During his time there, one of his duties was to oversee the expansion of the church’s sleepaway camp.

“I just wanted to get the hell away from that camp,” Washington said. “I didn’t want to spend another day there. … That camp was real messed up.”

Detailing the court case that stemmed from the abuse Washington faced at the camp, the Free Beacon stated:

A court docket from the case shows that lawyers from both sides moved to dismiss the case “with prejudice” in May 2005, a resolution that frequently occurs when lawsuits are settled out of court. Officials from the courthouse and the Maryland state archives told the Free Beacon that they are unable to locate any records from the case. The lawyer who represented Washington’s family said he was unable to discuss the matter on the record.

Washington’s sister, Dominque, also attended the camp and confirmed her family’s involvement with the lawsuit when she was contacted by the Free Beacon. An additional source close to the Washington family reportedly affirmed the lawsuit was related to an incident when counselors “poured urine on [Anthony], at the camp.”

According to Washington, it was his first extended trip away from his parents as a child, and the young camp counselors had very little interest in overseeing those who were in attendance.

As punishment for wetting his bed, Washington stated that counselors made him sleep outside in the cold on the basketball court.

“I’m like, ‘Hell no I’m not, it’s cold out there,’” Washington recounted. “[The counselors] wouldn’t let me in the house, not at all. … Shut the door to the cabin, locked it. It was dark. There wasn’t nothing out there but the basketball court. I ain’t never experienced nothing like that. Like, you’re not in a tent, you’re not in nothing. You’re just out, God knows where.”

Washington also noted certain incidents which involved buckets of urine being tossed onto him.

“I went through that experience myself. I don’t even like talking about this shit. That shit happened. … It was like in a bucket. They would keep that shit in a bucket,” Washington said in the interview.

Washington also stated that he saw the counselors “grab kids” and that caused him to worry about his and his sister’s safety.

“I just knew that shit happened to me, and that’s what I was worried about, me and my sister,” Washington added.

Upon hearing of the abuse that allegedly took place, Washington’s mother was reportedly furious. According to Washington, his mother was “screaming” at those in charge of the camp on the phone and immediately went “to court.”

“I can hear her in there, screaming at them,” Washington said. “Next thing I knew, my mother was going to court. … I thank my mother for doing what she did. She is a life saver.”

According to Washington, a financial settlement in the case was eventually given to his family.

Warnock was arrested at Camp Farthest Out on July 31, 2002, after a Maryland state trooper said Warnock repeatedly disrupted her attempts to interview counselors and investigate allegations of child abuse. Warnock, along with another reverend at the church, were charged with “hindering and obstructing” police, however the charges were dropped later by the state prosecutor.

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 June 2003, nearly one year after Warnock’s arrest, the Department of Health denied Camp Farthest Out’s certificate to operate a youth camp.

A press release from Warnock’s Republican challenger, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), earlier this month highlighted that “arresting officers from the Child and Sexual Assault Unit had ‘never encountered resistance like [Warnock’s] at all.'”