Former pastor and accused serial rapist Dale Richardson has been in jail for nearly two years while he awaits trial. His attorneys want him out on bail, but prosecutors say he would be a danger to the community.
Both sides made their arguments during a hearing in Dorchester County on March 13. One of the three women Richardson is accused of raping in 2010 was in the courtroom in opposition to any bail that could lead to his release, according to prosecutors.
A large group of people also showed up to support Richardson, 48, of Summerville, according to one of his attorneys with the Savage Law Firm, Scott Bischoff.
Circuit Judge Eugene Griffith Jr. is mulling it over and hasn’t issued his decision yet, said 1st Circuit Senior Assistant Solicitor Don Sorenson.
If a judge sets bail and Richardson posts it, then he would live with his wife in Summerville, according to his attorney’s motion document.
Richardson previously served as head pastor of Freedom Free Will Baptist Church in Lincolnville. Several members of the congregation wrote letters in support of Richardson for the bond hearing, according to court records.
Richardson also underwent an evaluation by forensic psychiatrist William Burke. According to defense attorney records, Burke concluded that Richardson does not appear to be psychopathic.
In August 2011, a judge denied bail on Richardson’s charges in Dorchester County. Attorneys argue that denying bail was excessive because he has no prior criminal record and his entire family lives in Summerville.
Instead, attorneys suggested a $10,000 bail amount, and that if released, Richardson be placed under house arrest and monitored through GPS. “What we’re arguing is that people can be safely maintained with GPS monitoring,” Bischoff said.
Richardson is accused of kidnapping four local women and raping three of them. On Aug. 12, 2010, Richardson took a woman in North Charleston to a trailer behind Freedom Free Will Baptist Church on Lincolnville Road and raped her, according to investigators.
Richardson also is accused of taking a woman that he had picked up on Jan. 5, 2010, in North Charleston to a dirt road off Mallard Road in Summerville and raping her at gunpoint. On July 27, 2010, investigators said he raped another woman behind the same church after picking her up in North Charleston.
Authorities also accuse Richardson of abducting a woman but letting her go without any sexual assault on June 21, 2010.
A trial date has not been set yet.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.