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Summer camp of church led by Warnock faced child abuse allegations and health code violations

Warnock was arrested in 2002 for obstructing the Maryland police's investigation of the camp

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Raphael Warnock
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock on campaign trail. Nov. 2020.
(Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Updated: December 11, 2020 - 9:19am

Health officials in Maryland deemed a church-run summer camp affiliated with Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock unsafe to operate due to unreported allegations of child abuse and safety-code violations. 

The records, uncovered originally by the Washington Free Beacon, indicate that children who attended the camp affiliated with the Douglas Memorial Community Church were frequently left without adult supervision, and staffers who ran the children's camp were not subject to mandated criminal background checks.

The camp's director was the subject of at least five cases of child abuse or neglect before being forced to resign. 

In 2002, Warnock was arrested in Maryland for allegedly obstructing a child abuse investigation being conducted by the Maryland State Police. The charges were dropped. The arrest report of the incident states Warnock was "extremely uncooperative and disruptive" during police interviews with counselors. 

Records from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene indicate that in the early 2000's, the camp's director was "party to several findings of indicated child abuse or neglect brought on behalf of the following individuals while he was a camp counselor for the Camp." 

Additionally, staff did not supervise campers, and inspectors reported a consistent dearth of lifeguards per number of children using swimming facilities. The camp also had no fire marshal approval, no plumbing or electric system approval, and insufficient CPR certifications. In 2003, the state health department denied the camp's certificate to operate a residential youth program. 

Warnock was hired as the pastor for Douglas Memorial in September 2001. He has said that he served in that role for close to five years, during which time he oversaw the expansion of the church's summer camp. 

"As part of his vision for Douglas, Warnock wants to attract support from corporations and foundations to expand Camp Farthest Out, a 50-acre facility in Carroll County that provides a residential camp experience for disadvantaged children," reads a report from the Baltimore Sun in September 2001. 

Warnock is now competing against GOP incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler in Georgia in a runoff election that will help determine control of the Senate.