Neighbors shocked by allegations against Ladson pastor - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Neighbors shocked by allegations against Ladson pastor

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By Nikki Gaskins
ngaskins@abcnews4.com

LADSON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Neighbors are reacting to a Ladson pastor accused of what a judge calls a "heinous" crime.

Dale Richardson, 46, is accused of kidnapping and raping a 20-year-old woman.  On Friday, a judge set his bond at more than half a million dollars.

Richardson is the pastor of Freedom Free Will Baptist Church.  He's been preaching at the church for more than a year.

Homeowners near the church say the allegations against Richardson are hard to swallow.

"It just makes you sick," said Dave Severt who lives about two miles from the church.  He moved to Ladson from Bluefield, West Virginia three weeks ago.

"This is the prime example of a hypocrite," said Keisha O'Neill who also moved near the church recently from Jedburg.

On July 27, North Charleston Police say Richardson offered a young woman a ride on Midland Park Road.

After she got into his truck, police say he then put a pillow case over her head, took her to an abandoned mobile home and raped her.  White pointing a pistol at her, police say he eventually dumped her off on Carolina Commerce Parkway.

"I feel badly for everyone involved and it makes all Christians look bad," said Severt.  "We're all human. We're all going to mess up.  But by goodness, that's just irresponsible."

O'Neill believes Richardson's alleged actions could cause members of his own congregation to leave the church.

"To see people like that that are corrupt, it's sad to see that.  It makes people turn away from going to church," said O'Neill.

"You wonder why it happened at all," said Carol Magnussem who also lives near the church.

For Carol Magnussem, the crime Richardson is accused of committing is hard to comprehend.

"It's really a shame when people that we trust to be responsible let us down like that," said Magnussem.

Richardson has a wife of more than twenty years and two grown daughters.

ABC News 4 contacted the South Carolina Free Will Baptist Church Association about the case; however, the executive director said he had no comment.

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