Crime & Courts

SC preacher accused of leading a cult arrested on sexual misconduct allegations

Ralph Gordon Stair, 84.
Ralph Gordon Stair, 84. Photo provided.

A South Carolina man who has been previously accused of sexual misconduct and of leading a cult in Colleton County was arrested Monday.

Ralph Gordon Stair, 84, was arrested by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Department and the State Law Enforcement Division on charges of assault with intent to commit first-degree criminal sexual conduct, third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary and three counts of criminal sexual conduct, according to a news release by the sheriff’s department.

Stair, the founder of Overcomer Ministry in Colleton County, has been the subject of a state and federal criminal investigation since October, the Post and Courier reported.

Live 5 News reported in October that Stair had been accused of preying on young girls and women. The station reported a video that surfaced apparently showed Stair cupping the breast of a 12-year-old girl during church service, adding “I’m gonna touch those things till nobody else can touch ‘em,” Live 5 News reported.

ABC 4 News described him as an “end times evangelist,” prophesying the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

A brochure from the ministry’s website states that about “70 saints” live at his farm near Walterboro, where they are “set apart from the world to be able to live a sanctified life.”

“We live in community homes of mobile trailers for each family or accommodations for brothers or sisters with common baths and common eating, all seeking to live together in love for God and each other,” the brochure states. “We go no where, no shopping or trips to see what have you. Your life will be here on the farm until Jesus comes.”

A SLED background check revealed Stair was arrested on several charges, including of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to ABC 4 News. But he was ultimately convicted of simple assault.

Cynthia Roldán: @CynthiaRoldan

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