Dale Richardson, the former pastor and accused serial rapist, could be going home soon.
Richardson, 48, has been behind bars for nearly two years awaiting trial, but a judge’s ruling will give Richardson the chance to wait for his day in court outside the jail walls.
On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Eugene Griffith Jr. set bail at $250,000 for Richardson, who’s charged with kidnapping four local women and raping three of them.
Despite the bail setting, one of Richardson’s attorneys with the Savage Law Firm, Scott Bischoff, doesn’t believe he’ll make bail right away. He must pay 10 percent of the bail amount in order for release.
“$25,000 is an awful lot of money to try and gather, so it will probably take some time,” Bischoff said. “I don’t expect him to be released any time soon.”
In August 2011, a judge had denied bail on Richardson’s charges in Dorchester County, but last month his attorneys filed a request to the court to reconsider that decision. During a hearing last month, a group of people showed up to support Richardson. His attorneys argued that denying bail was excessive because Richardson had no prior criminal record and his entire family lives in Summerville.
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 1st Circuit Assistant Solicitor Don Sorenson.
Prosecutors argued he would be a danger to the community. After mulling it over for a little more than a month, Griffith issued his decision on Wednesday. In addition to setting bail, Griffith ordered certain conditions for Richardson to follow, if he’s released.
Richardson must appear for all court dates, he’s required to be on GPS monitoring, he must live in his Summerville home where his wife resides. He will be on house arrest with the following exceptions: medical reasons, visiting attorney, visiting church or work. He must also must follow a strict sunset-to-sunrise curfew. Richardson is also restricted from having any contact with the alleged victims.
“I think it probably had something to do with the community support and the lack of prior record. There’s someone who’s going to be watching him 24 hours, seven days a week,” Bischoff said. “The community can be protected, and with lack of prior record, I think it was a fair thing for the judge to do.”
Richardson previously served as head pastor of Freedom Free Will Baptist Church in Lincolnville. Richardson is accused of taking a woman in North Charleston to a trailer behind Freedom Free Will Baptist Church on Lincolnville Road and raping her on Aug. 12, 2010, according to investigators.
Richardson also is accused of raping a woman at gunpoint on Jan. 5, 2010, and another woman on July 27, 2010, according to investigators. Authorities also accuse Richardson of abducting a woman on June 21, 2010, but letting her go without any sexual assault.
A trial date has not been set. On Monday afternoon, Richardson still remained in jail at the Dorchester County Detention Center.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.