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South Carolina pastor Dale Richardson accused of raping women behind church

Dale Richardson
Dale Richardson CBS/WLTX

(CBS/AP) LADSON, S.C. - South Carolina pastor Dale Richardson has been charged with kidnapping and raping several women at gunpoint, including two of them in a trailer behind his church. He is also accused of kidnapping a fourth who was not sexually assaulted.

According to an incident report, on a Saturday afternoon in July, the preacher picked up a woman and gave her a ride. When the 20-year-old tried to exit 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 Free Will Baptist Church in Ladson.

The report also said he later dropped the woman in a wooded area and threatened to shoot her if she turned around. The woman was able to identify Richardson from his picture on the church website, which also displays a short biography detailing how he became a Christian and then a pastor.

Meanwhile, Richardson has 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 community which is 20 miles northwest of Charleston. He is also charged with kidnapping a fourth woman.

During a hearing on Thursday, Richardson said he understood the charges against him but said very little. He was denied bond.

The church website says Richardson became the pastor of the church on June 9, 2010. He also graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia which is the college founded by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell. Richardson has a wife and two grown daughters.

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."

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