A South Carolina religious leader is facing prison after numerous girls and women have come forward accusing him of rape and sexual misconduct.
Authorities on Monday arrested Pastor Ralph Gordon Stair on a bevy of charges, including criminal sexual conduct, assault, kidnapping and burglary, the Post and Courier reports.
Stair, who also goes by the name Brother RG Stair, is a radio evangelist who broadcasts around the world.
He has a 130-acre commune in Walterboro, South Carolina, where about 70 people live.
Stair’s followers give up “worldly goods and monies to the Lord,” according to the church’s website.
Investigators began looking into Stair after videos of improper behavior were posted online.
In one video, 16-year-old Natosha Lehr described how she was raped by Stair while working at the commune.
The videos have since been deleted, but they prompted other women who say they were victimized by Stair to come forward.
Another video shows Stair touching underage girls, in one instance cupping and patting the breasts of a 12-year-old girl while other church members watched.
“How old are you, hon?” Stair asked the girl.
She said she was 12, at which point Stair replied, “getting right close to it now,” suggesting she was near the age of 13, which Stair believes is the acceptable age for girls to begin having sex, according to the Christian Post.
Stair then placed his hand near her breasts in front of the congregation.
“I’m gonna touch those things till nobody else can touch ’em,” Stair said about the girl’s breasts.
In Lehr’s video, she claimed Stair raped her over five months while at the compound.
Lehr says Stair touched her bottom and breasts while lifting her shirt. He later allegedly fondled her breasts and rubbed her vagina, asking her, “do you feel good?”
The teenager reported the encounter to her mother, but the assaults did not stop. The teen later told her 21-year-old sister who lives out of state; she suggested that Lehr contact police, the Post and Courier reports.
Lehr has since moved to Pennsylvania with family and says she is glad Stair has been arrested.
“Everybody’s happy now,” she said in an interview with the newspaper.
“I hope the whole compound actually shuts down.”
Pamela and Hannah Brown, a mother and daughter, have also said Stair raped them. Pamela, 44, claims Stair pressured her into having sex outside on a path near the commune’s cafeteria in April.
Hannah, 19, claims Stair would grope her repeatedly and would ask her if she wanted to please God.
“This is God’s will. If you love God, you should do this,” Stair would allegedly say to the teen.
Stair is facing a litany of criminal charges, including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct; one count of first-degree assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct; one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor; one count of second-degree assault; one count of kidnapping; and one count of first-degree burglary.
He was accused of similar crimes in 2002 after two women alleged he raped them repeatedly, but the preacher denied the claims and pleaded to less-serious charges.
[Feature image: Colleton County Sheriff’s Department/Ralph Gordon Stair]