Lexington, SC (April 16, 2018) – Chief Terrence Green is announcing the arrest of Eduardo Elias Cornejo, age 34, who was charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct – Third Degree. On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Eduardo Cornejo turned himself into the Lexington Police Department and he was transported to the Lexington County Detention Center for booking procedures. Eduardo Cornejo was given a surety bond of $10,000 and he was released later that same day.
On February 22, 2018, a victim came forward to report a sexual assault by Eduardo Cornejo which had occurred in January 2017 within the Town of Lexington. The victim reported to officers that Eduardo Cornejo 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 sexual contact with him. The victim stated that after the encounter Eduardo Cornejo told her not to tell anyone of the assault.
At the time of the incident, Eduardo Cornejo was an Associate Pastor of the Columbia First Seventh-Day Adventist Church which is located on Riverchase Way in Lexington, South Carolina. In August 2017, Eduardo Cornejo was terminated as an employee and he and his family relocated out of state.
Due to information gathered during the course of this investigation, detectives believe that Eduardo Cornejo may have used his position as a pastor to coerce or persuade others to have sex with him or engage in other inappropriate activity. This information has highlighted the possibility that there may be others who have been sexually assaulted by Eduardo Cornejo and these victims are being asked to come forward by notifying law enforcement.
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.