Suit to be filed against Stair?

A civil lawsuit against the leader of a Canady's religious community is likely, according to Troy Knight of the Lanier and Knight Law Firm.

The Press and Standard/July 19, 2002
By Libby Roerig

"We are currently in the process of interviewing and investigating," Knight said. " We haven't pinned down the exact causes of action."

Currently being held without bond at the Colleton County Detention Center, Ralph Stair, 69, of the Overcomer Ministry, is facing sex charges, which include two counts of breach of trust, two counts of criminal sexual conduct, unlawful burying of a body without notice or inquiry and failure to get authorization for the removal of a dead body.

A self-proclaimed prophet, Stair is the leader of a long-time religious community in Canadys known as the Overcomer Ministry. He also preaches each day for hours over AM, short-wave radio and the Internet to a worldwide audience of followers. Stair's religious community, for which its residents must sell all their worldly possessions and sever ties with family members and friends before entering, is approximately 100 persons strong, according to reports.

The Summerville-based law firm has interviewed 12-15 former followers of Stair's, he said. Because not everyone was grieved in the same way, the lawyers will be pursuing different "theories of recovery," such as wrongful death and unjust enrichment, according to Knight.

Stair has been confronted with allegations of neglect from family members of a recently deceased follower Stan Bean, 27. Though an autopsy revealed Bean's cause of death to be from a cerebral herniation, his father says his son could have been saved with proper medical care.

The Overcomer Ministry does not use the services of medical doctors.

Two other of Stair's followers, Dennis Mann Bush, 36, and David Maratto, 57, both also of Canadys, are also facing charges, including unlawful burying of a body without notice or inquiry and failure to get authorization for the removal of a dead body. Both men were released on $10,000 personal recognizance bonds, according to Lt. Mike Brown of the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Bush and Maratto are accused of burying the body of infant Jonathan Bush sometime in February 1994 without the authorization of the Colleton County Coroner, according to the arrest warrant. Additionally, police say they moved the body without authorization from authorities.

SLED exhumed the remains of the baby at the Overcomer Ministry's property on June 27. The body was autopsied, and the investigation into the cause of death concerning the baby is ongoing, according to SLED.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.