Former minister accused of groping woman at church

2013-08-28T00:45:00Z 2013-09-05T18:50:45Z Former minister accused of groping woman at churchBy RICHARD WALKER T&D Staff Writer The Times and Democrat
August 28, 2013 12:45 am  • 

A former Cornerstone Community Church youth minister has been accused of groping a woman at the church’s Chestnut Street location.

Patrick Hattler, 36, was in Orangeburg Municipal Court on Tuesday to face a charge of first-degree assault and battery.

Orangeburg City Judge Barney Houser set bond on the Orangeburg man at $10,000 cash or surety, ordering he have no direct or indirect contact with the woman he is accused of groping.

Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Investigator Jennifer Haig asked the court for a no contact order for church members. The investigator said the woman has been receiving calls from members on the incident.

Officials of the 3,700-member church declined to comment Tuesday.

The 36-year-old woman was present for the bond hearing. Haig told Houser the woman did not want to address the court.

Hattler turned himself in late Monday after authorities obtained a warrant.

Lead investigator John Caddell told the court Hattler’s criminal history included several drug and traffic charges as well as an assault with intent to kill in July 2001. Hattler was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to that charge, Richland County records show.

The Orangeburg incident is said to have happened on April 3. The subject was fired immediately from his employment as youth minister and told he would have to leave the church, the report states.

The woman told investigators the church offered her counseling from within the membership or outside counseling at the church’s expense. She said she didn’t report the incident until Saturday because the man had been ordered by the church to stay away.

However, he had been returning to functions recently, the report said.

“What is 1481 Chestnut (Street)?” Houser asked.

“That’s Cornerstone Church,” Caddell said.

“It happened at the church?”

“Yes, sir.”

With the subject attending events, the victim said she told church staff she felt uncomfortable and intimidated. She said she was told the church couldn’t stop the subject from attending public events not sponsored by the church itself.

She then went to police.

She said on the day of the incident, she was in the cafe at the facility when the subject approached her saying he needed to show her the cafe operations since she would be starting a job soon.

She says that in a back room away from others, the subject pushed her against a wall where he groped her breast and sexual areas. She pushed him away, asking what he was doing. The subject then asked for forgiveness and stated, “Let’s pray.”

When he was arrested, Hattler said, “It didn’t happen like that,” the report stated.

* Contact the writer: or 803-533-5516.

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(31) Comments

  1. fhsmct
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    fhsmct - September 08, 2013 11:12 am
    Her actions speak for themselves? Your comment exhibits a lack of a basic understanding of the elementary elements of the psychology of sexual assault victims & a Christian compassion therefore! . . . .
  2. LettyRod
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    LettyRod - September 05, 2013 4:47 pm
    Yes, read the 2nd article, & if YOU don't see a problem of an alleged "attack" that supposedly took place in Feb (6 mos ago) to then only be reported to the Pastor in April,(4 mos ago) when someone else came forward making accusations & THEN wait until last week to report to the authorities," gaping holes" then there really is not much more to comment on, is there? Why did the 2nd woman have to follow the leader on these accusations? Just not sure ALL the truth is been brought forward is all.
  3. jimmccarthy844
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    jimmccarthy844 - September 05, 2013 1:30 pm
    The problem with all of this begins with the leadership of the church. The mop salesman turned
    preacher who would never pay his bills, is now running a church with over 3000 members and only concerned with making his 6 digit salary. Now that all of the details are coming out, he wants to help the police get to the bottom of this. Police should have been called when he found out. And now we have a preacher who wants to be mayor? The last thing we need is another crooked preacher turned politician
  4. 4U2ThinkOn
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    4U2ThinkOn - September 05, 2013 12:20 pm
    Learn all of that in CR?
  5. 4U2ThinkOn
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    4U2ThinkOn - September 05, 2013 12:16 pm
    Read the second article. Think it's filled with gaping holes too? Let me guess, the second woman to come forward was wrong also?
  6. GatorGirl
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    GatorGirl - September 05, 2013 12:14 pm
    LettyRod- I don't know either of the alleged victims or Mr. Hattler. I don't know who is lying but someone(s) is. It will all be straightened out by people qualified to do so. I do want to comment on your fourth point though. If the church members weren't supporting her why were they calling her??? They shouldn't have been calling her at all. To do so could be considered passing judgement & harassment. A more Christian approach to take would have been to pray for all & leave it in God's hands.
  7. LettyRod
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    LettyRod - September 05, 2013 11:14 am
    I am compelled to comment on what I do know & my opinion concerning this article...
    FIRST, I met Mr. Hattler working at the Starbuck's inside CORNERSTONE, he has only been kind, friendly & appreciative of compliments on how one feels at ease, in a quiet relaxing establishment with the feel of a big city café, often I'd sit in there breaking away for some peace of the craziness that is the office.
    SECONDLY, Mr. Hattler does not deny his past as people do change, learn, grow & own their lessons. He's not ashamed of his past, as it is those poor choices of the past that are his life lessons, those that has changed him.
    THIRDLY, I don't know the woman involved, therefore I can not speak ill of her, but her actions speak for themselves. An alleged attack occurring on April 3rd reported at the end of August? She felt "uncomfortable & intimidated" throughout church events following the April 3 alleged attack, but didn't feel "uncomfortable & intimidated" enough on April 3rd or soon after, to press charges then? Somehow it's not adding up.
    FOURTHLY, an order prohibiting church members from contacting her, speaks volumes, it's apparent that the members contacting her are not exactly rallying around her to support her on her accusations, on the contrary, otherwise why an order?
    Summing it all up, I don't believe the whole story has been exposed & much is left to the imagination, great writing for a fictional story, poor investigative reporting as facts are misconstrued from the gate, with misguided titling & gaping holes in the story.
  8. truthserum
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    truthserum - September 01, 2013 8:07 am
    The so called "victim" in this case attends church with her breasts almost completely exposed, flirts openly with both married and single men, picks up men in gas stations for one night stands, and is currently involved with a married man. Knowing this woman and how she conducts herself I believe it far more likely that she came on to Mr. Hattler and he turned her down. Women like this make it hard for the rest of us to report an ACTUAL assault.
  9. TrueLove
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    TrueLove - August 31, 2013 3:47 pm
  10. TrueLove
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    TrueLove - August 31, 2013 3:47 pm
  11. SavedbyGrace
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    SavedbyGrace - August 31, 2013 12:08 pm
    The leadership strive only to bring out the positive in people and do not judge anyone. The focus is to bring as many into the kingdom as possible before His return. He is alive and vibrant there and Satan does not like it. Thank God thru Him all can be saved by Grace.
  12. SavedbyGrace
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    SavedbyGrace - August 31, 2013 12:00 pm
    To all of you who have been negative and condemning toward the church, Cornerstone is and has been a place of love for the down and out and the hurting and the unlovely that other churches were uncomfortable helping. It is not a perfect church by any means because we have not yet been made perfect in Him but we long and look forward to the day of redemption when we will be perfect. With that I say, let the person without sin throw the stones.
  13. churchlady
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    churchlady - August 31, 2013 11:42 am
    Why speak negatives when you know nothing. Every church is filled with humans and that means each person with their own issues, problems, and sins. Cornerstone is a church that is trying to bring a community together to know Our God and Father. It is trying to bring down racial and cultural walls and repair the history of our community. God's grace is sufficient for us all. Let's not judge and stay open to forgiveness!
  14. zephbe
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    zephbe - August 31, 2013 10:43 am
    There are lots of churches in Orangeburg. Start attending another one.
  15. TrueLove
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    TrueLove - August 31, 2013 12:07 am
    The story doesn't even sound right in this article. Anybody in their right mind should know that there is a huge chunk missing. Ain't no devil in hell is going to stop a mighty movement of God!
  16. TrueLove
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    TrueLove - August 30, 2013 11:57 pm
    Elliemae, It is apparent that you have never attended this church. There is nothing cultish about this church at all. There are real people with real issues seeking a real God.
  17. TrueLove
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    TrueLove - August 30, 2013 11:47 pm
    Sickness13, If you base your church attendance on the sins of other people, you will not be stepping foot in anyone's church because all churches are filled with imperfect people, including you. If you have a personal issue going on, would you like for the pastor to get in the pulpit and announce it? I'm sure the church knows his background and gave him a chance. Jesus knows your background and gives you chance after chance. Do you know how many messed up people God used? Stop being judgemental
  18. fhsmct
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    fhsmct - August 30, 2013 5:52 pm
    If, in fact, he was supposed to stay away, why did he start coming back and why was he allowed to? AND, why are church members calling her? &, public or not, if an event is held at their facility/on their property, they DO have control of who is allowed or not allowed to attend, especially under those circumstances. . .
  19. truthorjustice
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    truthorjustice - August 30, 2013 11:45 am
    Let's see if the husky revela works.
  20. truthorjustice
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    truthorjustice - August 30, 2013 11:44 am
    Well, we have all heard about "Laying hands to cure the sinners."

    This went a little too far.
  21. nononsensegirl
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    nononsensegirl - August 29, 2013 8:57 pm
    well said Getitstraight! The facts are seriously lacking here!! I know the "victim" and the situation!
  22. nononsensegirl
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    nononsensegirl - August 29, 2013 8:50 pm
    #1 He wasn't a Youth Minister. #2 This is one sided. There are two sides to every story. Who says the victim is telling the truth??? I know the insides of this little tragic story.. and the ppl involved. I love how she waited from April-Aug to report it cuz she saw him @ a public function!
  23. Getitstraight
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    Getitstraight - August 28, 2013 11:23 pm
    Agreed with Know the facts. You people have no idea what you're talking about and neither does this author. You are seeing lies and slander from this paper and the girl responsible for all of this. He didn't sexually assault her. Those of you who know the whole story would know better than to throw false accusations. Also, Cornerstone is a great church and IS NOT a cult.
  24. KnowTheFacts
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    KnowTheFacts - August 28, 2013 8:19 pm
    I love how all of you are drawing conclusions based off of incorrect information posted in this article. First of all... he was NOT a youth minister... Second of all he was an employee of the cafe. Youth ministers and anyone working/volunteering with children do undergo background checks. This can happen anywhere (if it even happened as portrayed). Not taking up for his actions by any means IF it played out as described.My point here is that this article (as usual) doesn't tell the whole story.
  25. Elliemae
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    Elliemae - August 28, 2013 8:15 pm
    Thank goodness the " real " operations that go on within this organization has come to surface. For quite some time now, this organization has resembled more of a cult appearance than a place of worship, with so many acts of wrong doings being swept under the rug. And from what I understand this staff member was not terminated at the time of this crime, but instead recently. What a shame!!!! Makes me wonder if suspicions about other prominent leaders there are valid!! Never trust their leaders!!
  26. GatorGirl
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    GatorGirl - August 28, 2013 12:12 pm
    Sickness 13- You're probably right. If it has happened before I hope the victims come forward. Some years back there were things going on with some females & a man who was active in Cornerstone church. He worked with the young people in some capacity I think. He was found out & it was in the paper. I was shocked because I knew him. To be fair, this can happen in any church. The way they handled it wasn't good.
  27. Sickness 13
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    Sickness 13 - August 28, 2013 10:42 am
    Wow! I will have to agree about the back ground check,he worked with the youth at church. So does this mean that if you work at the church that they don't do a background check. I sure can say one thing, if the church members allowed him to attend things after this happened, I will NOT be stepping a foot back in cornerstone church. And if the director knew about this then who knows what else has happened in that church that people don't know about.
  28. GatorGirl
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    GatorGirl - August 28, 2013 7:11 am
    How disgusting & disheartening! WHY was he a youth minister with his background? My prayers are with the victim & that God will see her through this.
  29. pedingsgang
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    pedingsgang - August 28, 2013 6:22 am
    If Hattler did this, put him on a lonely cell block and let him find out how it feels to be groped and then ask if he'd like to "pray".

    And that's just it MD and hg, lots of times these perverts move from place to place before anyone make allegations. They are smart and generally target those they believe to be too timid to speak out.

    See his criminal history? And why wasn't a "no contact order for church members" obtained the first time?

    I'm all for second chances but not at others' expense.
  30. holygrail
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    holygrail - August 28, 2013 2:00 am
    Background checks for anyone dealing with children. This just sickens me.
  31. MrDude
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    MrDude - August 28, 2013 12:55 am
    Background checks for youth ministers, anyone?
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