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Arrest of Brother Ralph Stair confirmed on multiple charges

Colleton County Sheriff’s Office personnel arrived at the Overcomer Ministry at 12680 Augusta Highway early Monday morning to take Ralph G. Stair, the leader of the religious compound, into custody on eight criminal charges.
Lt. Tyger Benton, public information officer of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said a large contingent of law enforcement officers arrived at the church compound Monday at approximately 7:30 a.m. to take Stair, 84, into custody.
The charges, all filed by the sheriff’s office investigators, include three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and single counts of assault with the intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, second-degree assault, first-degree burglary, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
Stair was transported to the Colleton County Detention Center on the charges and is expected to have a bond hearing Monday afternoon.
The sheriff’s office personnel arriving enmass at the compound were joined by agents of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations.
Thom Berry, public information officer for SLED, said the state agents and their federal counterparts were at the Overcomer Ministry armed with a search warrant for the compound.
Berry said the search was part of an active and on-going investigation and the investigation work by SLED is continuing. He explained, “We will go where it leads us.”
The Colleton County began an investigation of Stair in early October and a few days later, requested SLED’s assistance in that investigation.
The local investigation was started after the sheriff’s office learned of two videos that showed up on the You Tube website on Sept. 30.
One video focused on a young woman who alleged she was targeted by Stair’s sexual advances while she was at the Augusta Highway compound.
The second video, a collection of clips of Stair’s church services, allegedly showed him suggestively touching underage females during church services.
Monday’s allegations against Stair based on the video are not the first time he has been accused of inappropriate contact with an underage female.
Stair appeared in Colleton County General Sessions Court in November of 2004, approximately two years after being charged with improperly touching two of his young female church members.
In that court appearance, Stair, as part of a plea agreement, pled guilty to two reduced charges — assault and battery — and was given two 30-day jail terms with credit for time already spent in custody.

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