Dale Richardson, who had served as pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church in Ladson, S.C., is in jail on the charges. Dale Richardson was saved at a tent revival 32 years ago, was called to preach the Lord’s word in 2006 and, for the past year, had served as pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church, a modest red brick structure on a South Carolina side road running along a railroad track. Now he’s in jail, charged with kidnapping and raping three women at gunpoint — two of them in a trailer behind the church — and kidnapping a fourth who was not sexually assaulted.
According to an incident report, about noon on a Saturday last month, Richardson picked up a woman and gave her a ride. When the 20-year-old tried to get out of the car, Richardson allegedly pulled a gun, bound her hands, covered her head and took her to the gray-blue trailer home behind the church.
Richardson has since been charged with two other similar sexual assaults, both of which occurred last year. He is accused of bringing one of those women to the church trailer. The third woman claims she was raped in a wooded area outside nearby Summerville, a bedroom community about 20 miles northwest of Charleston. He is also charged with kidnapping a fourth woman.
The South Carolina Free Will Baptist State Association has suspended Richardson’s preaching credentials pending the outcome of the investigations because “the misconduct alleged against him is forbidden by God.” The Rev. Todd Smith, executive director of the statewide association numbering almost 120 churches, said in a statement the association would cooperate with investigators.
His education was also called into question as well. The registrar at Liberty University in Virginia says a pastor charged with kidnapping and raping three women at gunpoint never attended the university.