Crime & Courts

Lexington County man charged with abusing boys

A 32-year-old West Columbia man has been charged with sexually abusing four area boys over a seven-year period that ended in 2007.

Eric Nelson Vancleave was arrested about 5:30 p.m. Friday at a West Columbia drug store by members of a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, a Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Saturday.

Vancleave is being held at the Lexington County detention center after a Lexington County magistrate denied bond Saturday afternoon. He now faces 16 criminal charges related to several alleged incidents spanning from 2000 to 2007.

The arrest follows a joint investigation by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Cayce Department of Public Safety and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and is based on arrest warrants obtained by the sheriff’s department and Cayce Department of Public Safety.

Police said Vancleave met and befriended the four boys while he was a member of Pavilion Ministries, an evangelical church on State Street in Cayce. Vancleave is no longer a member of Pavilion Ministries, the spokesman said.

Anyone with information about additional incidents in which Vancleave may have interacted inappropriately with children is asked to call Lexington County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 785-8230, the Cayce Department of Public Safety at (803) 794-0456, or CrimeStoppers at (888) 274-6372.

Citizens also can anonymously report information on the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s Crime Tip link at

- Bertram Rantin