Former associate pastor arrested for criminal sexual conduct in Lexington

Former associate pastor arrested for criminal sexual conduct in Lexington
Eduardo Elias Cornejo, 34, turned himself in to Lexington Police after a victim said Cornejo coerced her into having sex with him while he was an associate pastor. (Source: Lexington Police Department)

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - A former associate pastor has been arrested after a victim came forward and reported a sexual assault, leading to the discovery of other possible sexual assaults by the suspect during his time at Columbia First Seventh-Day Adventist Church in 2017.

Eduardo Elias Cornejo, 34, turned himself in to Lexington Police and was released on bond. The victim says that Cornejo 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 sexual contact with him. Cornejo reportedly told the victim not to tell anyone about it.

Investigators say that Cornejo may have used his position to coerce or persuade others to engage in sexual or other inappropriate activity with him. Police are asking other victims to come forward by notifying law enforcement.

Cornejo was terminated as an employee in August 2017 and relocated out of state, according to Lexington Police.

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.

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.