Former pastor accused of kidnappings, rapes pleads guilty

Trial continues for former pastor accused of kidnappings, rapes

ST. GEORGE, SC (WCSC) - A former pastor accused of kidnapping and raping several women in Dorchester County has entered a plea agreement.

Dale Richardson, 49, agreed to a plea deal Wednesday in which he will plead guilty to three counts of kidnapping and three counts of criminal sexual assault, according to the judge presiding over the trial. As part of the deal, Richardson will spend 20 years behind bars, and must register as a sex offender.

Richardson is accused of pulling a gun on the accuser, taking her to a trailer behind his church, and raping her.

The guilty plea comes on the second day of the trial.

According to the assistant solicitor, the three victims wanted Richardson to spend more time behind bars, but they "wanted closure" and are happy "they can all begin to heal."

Wednesday's hearing in St. George started with testimony from a Verizon wireless specialist who examined Richardson's phone records. Richardson's attorney, Andy Savage, says the incident which his client is accused of was all part of a sexual fantasy and says Richardson and the accuser had prior contact before the alleged rape.

The specialist testified on Wednesday that there were some back and forth calls and texts between a phone number that was in the name of Richardson's wife and a prepaid number around the date of one of the alleged rapes in 2011.

On Tuesday, the victim stated Richardson put a pillow case over her head, bound her hands, and then took the pillowcase off before raping her. The alleged victim denies the two had ever spoken before.

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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