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?”
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.
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