Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democratic Senate candidate challenging Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff race in Georgia in January, is under fire after reports resurfaced of his involvement in a 2002 child abuse investigation.
Warnock was first charged with obstructing a police investigation in 2002 after he and another minister at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Maryland allegedly prevented law enforcement officers from interviewing counselors from the church’s camp in Eldersburg following reports of suspected child abuse.
Police records obtained by The Federalist show that Warnock and another pastor not only discouraged the campers and counselors from talking with the state trooper on the case but also “subsequently tried to prevent a camper from directing police to another potential witness.”
Both men were noted as being “extremely uncooperative and disruptive” during the initial investigation, leading to their arrest. They were released and the charges were dropped later in the year. In 2003, a civil case addressing the incident appeared but was also dismissed, likely due to a settlement.
Warnock’s campaign claims that the allegations are “false attacks” from his political rivals and that the pastor involved himself in the situation to “protect the rights of young people to make sure they had a lawyer or a parent when being questioned.”
Loeffler’s campaign, however, noted that since the resurfacing of the allegations, Rev. Warnock has refused to answer any questions about the charges or the investigation.
“If Raphael Warnock wants Georgia voters to believe anything he says, he needs to come clean, answer these very simple questions, and explain what happened,” said Loeffler’s Communications Director Stephen Lawson.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Nathan Brand also called for Warnock to provide answers to Georgia voters.
“Georgians are disgusted to learn of these allegations against Raphael Warnock and are demanding answers,” said Brand. “Warnock must come clean about what happened, what was his involvement, and what was the nature of these child abuse allegations. Additionally, as the Democrats plan to run as a ‘team,’ does Jon Ossoff condone Warnock’s handling of the child abuse situation, and does he feel comfortable continuing to campaign alongside someone with such damning baggage?”
Republican Sen. David Perdue will be fighting against challenger Jon Ossoff in the Georgia runoff as well.
Warnock previously received pushback after it was revealed that he was the youth pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem when it hosted and praised communist Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
While Warnock’s campaign said he did not have a say in the decision to welcome Castro to the church, Sens. Marco Rubio and Loeffler slammed Warnock for the incident.
“I’m reminded of Senator Loeffler’s opponent, true story, 25 years ago he was a pastor at a church in New York that invited Fidel Castro to speak … they cheered him wildly … think about that, now 25 years later one of the pastors from that church wants to be the U.S. Senator from Georgia,” Rubio said.
“We do have a choice between socialism and the American dream … Marco is exactly right: Raphael Warnock celebrated Fidel Castro in his church. He has a Marxist ideology,” Loeffler continued.
In addition to praising a communist dictator, Warnock also repeatedly criticized and called police officers “gangsters and thugs” during sermons in 2015.
“So in Ferguson, police power showing up in a kind of gangster and thug mentality – you know you can wear all kinds of colors and be a thug. You can sometimes wear the colors of the state and behave like a thug,” Warnock said.
“When you think about the fact that America still warehouses 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see police officers act like bullies on the street,” Warnock added in another sermon.