Sex scandal could force Presbyterian church to sell land used for children's camp

A church sex scandal could spell the end of a beloved children's camp on Lake Michigan.

February 6, 2014 3:31:14 AM PST
Presbyterian Camps has hosted kids on Lake Michigan since 1899, but the fun could come to an end if Presbyterian leaders decide to shut down the camp and sell the land to a residential developer to pay for legal settlements in a sex scandal.

The vote is set for Saturday, ABC7 Chicago reports.

A conservation group is trying to derail that plan and wants to buy the property and keep it as a nature camp.

The lakefront vista about two hours from Chicago has been a Christian youth camp and family spiritual retreat for more than a century, but it was put in jeopardy when Reverend Douglas Mason was exposed as an alleged child molester, ABC7 reports.

For a decade, while director of a South Side ministry, Mason allegedly had sex with four minor boys, much of it on video.

The church now has loans that settled abuse lawsuits after the scandal, and they may sell the camp land to help pay those bills.

A Michigan land developer is reportedly offering $10 million, slightly more than the total that has been pledged by the newly-formed nonprofit conservation group.

Get more on this story from our sister station, WLS-TV.