2 ministers no longer facing charges of hindering probe

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Charges against two Baltimore ministers, accused of interfering with an investigation of child abuse at a church-run camp in Carroll County, have been dismissed, a county prosecutor said.

A Carroll County judge granted a prosecutor's request Oct. 30 to drop charges against the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church in West Baltimore, and the Rev. Mark A. Wainwright, the church's youth minister. Warnock and Wainwright were arrested in August after a state trooper said the ministers prevented her from interviewing counselors as she investigated an allegation of child abuse at the church's Camp Farthest Out in Eldersburg.

Warnock said he merely insisted that the camp counselors, all teen-agers employed by the church, be allowed to have a lawyer present when they were questioned by police.

"What we decided was there was some miscommunication that had occurred with them," said Deputy State's Attorney Tracy A. Gilmore. "They were very helpful with the continued investigation. It would not have been a prudent use of resources to have prosecuted them."

The child abuse investigation is continuing, Gilmore said.

Warnock has been pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church, one of Baltimore's most prestigious African-American congregations, since last year.

Camp Farthest Out, established 40 years ago as an outreach ministry of Douglas Memorial, serves 300 inner-city children each summer.

"For 40 years, Camp Farthest Out has provided poor, inner-city youth a brief respite from neighborhoods where they routinely see people handcuffed and hauled away in police cars," Warnock said. "It is quite unfortunate that the overzealous actions of a few police officers resulted in our youth being subjected to this same ugly image."

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