Trial for former pastor accused of kidnappings, rapes begins
DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The trial of a pastor accused of kidnapping and raping several women started in St. George.
The trial began Tuesday with a heated exchange between attorney Andy Savage, who is representing 49-year-old Dale Richardson, and a woman who says she was kidnapped and raped by Savage's client.
Savage said the accuser had prior contact with Richardson days before the alleged kidnapping and rape. The accuser denied it.
Authorities say Richardson offered the accuser a ride in June of 2012, and instead of giving her a ride to a gas station, he drove her to a trailer on the property of a church where he was a pastor and allegedly raped her in that trailer.
She said that Richardson put a pillow case over her head, bound her hands, and when they got to the trailer, Richardson took the pillow case off and allegedly raped her.
If convicted in this case of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping, Richardson faces up to 30 years in prison.
Savage said in his opening statement said the incident was a sexual fantasy and not a case of kidnapping and rape.
The former pastor is on trial this week for one accuser, according to the First Circuit Solicitor's office. The trial is expected to last most of the week.
Richardson was a pastor at a church in Ladson when authorities arrested him in July, 2011.
Authorities say the former pastor offered women rides, pulled a gun on them, then put pillowcases over their heads. Richardson then drove the victims to vacant trailers, where the alleged sexual assaults occurred, according to investigators.
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