Residents: Church under investigation is rumored to be a cult

WCSC CBS News 5, South Carolina/October 12, 2017

By Harve Jacobs

Colleton County, South Crolina -- People who live near a Colleton County church that’s under investigation say they’ve heard rumors it’s a cult.

The Colleton County Sheriff’s Officers began an investigation into Overcomer Ministry after a video surfaced allegedly showing the Rev. Ralph Stair allegedly cupping the breast of an underage member of his church. 

The sheriff’s office says the video shows Stair touching the 12-year-old girl’s breast during a church service that was videotaped.

Word spread quickly through the Canadys community where the Overcomer Farm and Ministry are located.

“Horrible, horrible, horrible,” said Leslie Salley who lives a few miles from the farm. 

“It’s a cult. That’s all you ever hear people say,'It’s a cult,'” Salley said.

Trina McLaughlin who lives near the farm says Stair and his followers have never given her any trouble. 

“I’ve heard those allegations for years. If that’s going on, I wonder why these people continue to follow them, I don’t know,” McLaughlin said.

“Honestly we never paid attention other than the community rumors that it’s a cult. I don’t think they really interact too much with other people,” Salley said. 

On Thursday afternoon, a church member was seen leaving the property to get the mail. 

But there were no signs of Stair. 

Salley says her husband has seen him but has never spoken with the preacher. 

“No because he’s kind of creepy,” Salley said. 

The State Law Enforcement Division is working with the sheriff’s office on the investigation into Stair.

Stair and his followers have declined to comment. 

So far no charges have been filed against Stair.

In 2002, he was accused of sexually assaulting two underaged female church members. 

Stair wound up pleading guilty to a lesser charge of assault and battery and got credit for time served. 

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