A judge ruled Tuesday afternoon there is probable cause to take the case against an 85-year-old Colleton County preacher accused of criminal sexual misconduct and kidnapping to trial.
Judge rules there is enough probable cause to send Stair case to trial.
Ralph Gordone Stair will stand trial on one rape charge and two other sexual assault charges as well as one burglary charge.
Detective Sgt. Ed Marcurella, the Colleton County detective who is heading up the investigation, said the FBI
interviewed some of Stair’s accusers, the ones who live out of state. He said Stair, who did not attend the
hearing, declined to answer questions with him after rights were read. Stair asked instead to see his lawyer, the detective said.
The accused cult leader was facing three rape charges but his defense attorneys today convinced a magistrate to reduce two of those charges.
Marcurella also said a warrant has been issued for the mother of one of the victims and the father of another victim for failing to report the alleged assaults.
Deputies say the case will first go to a grand jury before heading to trial. Ralph Stair was released on $750,000 bond in late January.
Part of the conditions of the release included electronic monitoring, forfeiture of his passport and no contact with his
accusers or persons under 18 at his compound. He must also grant unfettered access to law enforcement.
Prosecutors initially asked for $1 million bond in the case.