Former Lexington Co. pastor charged with criminal sexual conduct, police say

Eduardo Elias Cornejo.png

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WACH)-- A Pastor from a Midlands church has been charged with criminal sexual conduct after a victim came forward about being assaulted last year.

According to the Lexington County Police Department 35-year-old Eduardo Elias Cornejo has been charged with criminal sexual conduct-third degree.

On Feb. 22, 2018 a female victim came forward to report that she has been assaulted by Eduardo in January 2017 within the town of Lexington.

The woman reported that Eduardo had met with her and used persuasion and physical force to have sex with her even though she repeatedly told him, no and made it clear that she did not want to have any sexual contact with him.

The woman said after the assault Eduardo told her not to tell anyone that they had intercourse.

At the time of the incident Eduardo was an Associate Pastor of the Columbia First Seventh-Day Adventist Church which is located on Riverchase Way in Lexington.

Eduardo was terminated in August 2017 from position for an unknown reason and relocated he and his family to another state.

During the course of their investigation detectives believe that Eduardo may have used his position as pastor to persuade others to have sex with him or engage in inappropriate activity.

Officers ask that anyone who has been sexually assaulted by Eduardo to notify law enforcement.

On April 12, Eduardo turned himself in to the Lexington Police Department.

He was transported to the Lexington County Detention Center where hew as given a surety bond for $10,000.

He was released later that same day.

Victims of criminal sexual conduct by Eduardo Cornejo, or those with information pertinent to this investigation, are asked to contact Detective Corporal Mike Lawler at 803-358-2067.

Those with questions and who are looking for resources can be assisted by the South Carolina Sexual Trauma Services by calling 803-790-8208, the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 803-771-7273 or by visiting their website for more information.

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