SUMMERVILLE — A Dorchester County preacher with a criminal past was arrested Monday and accused of exposing himself last year to a 5-year-old girl who attended his church.
Marion Leon Kosier Jr., pastor of Harleyville Christian Church, surrendered alongside his attorney at the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office in Summerville, sheriff's Maj. John Garrison said. Kosier is charged with committing or attempting a lewd act on a child younger than 16.
The girl's parents on Monday night said they had found no evidence to suggest that anything other than the alleged exposure took place. Kosier's wife said his attorney is working to have the charge changed to indecent exposure.
Lil Kosier said her husband is innocent.
"He has never been alone with this child," she said. "It's just someone trying to ruin him."
Marion Kosier, 48, a bus line ticket agent and part-time minister, had a brief stay at the Dorchester County Jail in St. George on Monday. Authorities said he was on suicide watch because he threatened to kill himself. Hours later, however, he was released after posting $35,000 bail.
His wife of 21 years was waiting for him outside.
Kosier was a close friend of the Summerville girl's family. An affidavit accuses him of walking into the girl's bedroom sometime between April 1 and Sept. 1, 2008, with his pants open and his genitals exposed.
Her parents said the girl didn't immediately report the incident, but when she told them about it weeks later, they felt a devastating sense of betrayal.
The girl's parents said that after she told them about the incident, they learned that Marion Kosier was a registered sex offender.
He had been arrested on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor in August 1984. In November of that year, he was convicted of a lesser offense of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of probation, according to State Law Enforcement Division records.
Kosier served fewer than three years behind bars before he was eligible for release on probation in April 1987, said Josh Gelinas, communications director for the state Department of Corrections.
Kosier was arrested again in August 1995 and charged with exposing himself and committing a lewd act on a minor. The Associated Press reported that, at the time, he was pastor of Branchville Baptist Church and that he resigned two weeks before two girls accused him of exposing himself when they came to his house to sell doughnuts.
He pleaded guilty and a year later received a six-month suspended sentence, along with two years of probation. He also was required to attend sex offender counseling, SLED records state.
Garrison said Marion Kosier wasn't arrested for the Summerville incident until this week because investigators wanted to be thorough and have medical experts interview the girl.
The girl is now age 6. Her parents said Marion Kosier has continued to preach at the church since the allegation was made.