Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff insisted he has no concerns "whatsoever" about the allegations of child abuse at a church camp once run by Democratic ally Rev. Raphael Warnock. In an attempt to divert attention from Warnock, Ossoff went on to falsely claim that his rival Sen. Kelly Loeffler has been "campaigning with a Klansman."
"Any concern that the allegations of wrongdoing by Rev. Warnock could possibly be a drag on the Democratic ticket next week?" one reporter asked Ossoff, just five days out from the Jan. 5 run-off elections in Georgia.
"None whatsoever," Ossoff responded without hesitation. "Rev. Warnock addressed this issue a year ago."
"And here's the bottom line: Kelly Loeffler has been campaigning with a Klansman," Ossoff added, unprompted. "And so she is stooping to these vicious personal attacks to distract from the fact that she's been campaigning with a former member of the Ku Klux Klan."
While encouraging voter turnout on Tuesday, Ossoff declared: "I mean, we deserve better than that here in Georgia."
In his remarks, Ossoff accused the incumbent of "campaigning" with Chester Doles, reportedly the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Doles also has ties to the Hammerskins with whom he marched in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In one since-contested picture, Doles posed with Loeffler at a recent campaign event in Dawsonville, Ga. He then posted the photograph to the Russian social network VKontakte on Friday with the caption: "Kelly Leoffener [sic] and I. Save America, stop Socialism!"
A spokesperson for Loeffler's campaign moved to denounce Doles and maintain that she had no idea who he was at the time.
"Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for," Loeffler campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson told the Associated Press on Sunday.
One America News Network's Jack Posobiec commented: "That @Ossoff clip just makes me laugh at this point. Democrats will lie straight to your face and never break character. Republicans would be falling over themselves to clutch their pearls."
Ossoff's baseless pivot attempted to distract from the actual firestorm Warnock is consumed in. Loeffler had previously leveraged an exclusive Washington Free Beacon report that revealed that a 12-year-old boy endured inhumane atrocities in 2002 at the sleepaway camp for inner city children overseen by Warnock. The senator called the incident "disqualifying" in her Fox News interview on Monday.
"It's disgusting," Loeffler described the abusive findings levelled against her rival. "It's really alarming, and frankly it should be disqualifying."
According to the victim who came forward to recount the events, counselors poured urine on the child and forced him to sleep outside as punishment for wetting his bed. What transpired at Camp Farthest Out in rural Carroll County turned into a 2003 lawsuit brought forward by the child's family. Warnock served as senior pastor at the time of the presiding Douglas Memorial Community Church in Maryland, where the camp was located.
Records from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene indicated that campers were routinely left unsupervised, staffers were not subject to required criminal background check, and five cases of child abuse brought against the camp director went unreported.
When health inspectors examined the place, they discovered multiple health and safety violations, including inadequate lifeguard coverage at the camp’s pool, lack of CPR certifications, insufficient camper health information, and insufficient plumbing or electrical systems.
Warnock was arrested when he and another reverend were accused of "hindering and obstructing" the Maryland State Police's child abuse investigation. A trooper claimed Warnock repeatedly disrupted her interviews with counselors, but the charges were later dropped by the state prosecutor.
Warnock will face Loeffler, and Ossoff will challenge Sen. David Perdue in the two Senate races that will determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress. If either Republican keeps their seat, the Senate will remain in GOP control. But if both Democrats win, the Senate will be split 50-to-50, affording incoming Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.