Dale Richardson was saved at a tent revival 32 years ago, was called to preach the Lord's word in 2006 and, for the past year, had served as pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church, a modest red brick structure on a South Carolina side road running along a railroad track.
Now he's in jail, charged with kidnapping and raping three women at gunpoint - two of them in a trailer behind the church - and kidnapping a fourth who was not sexually assaulted.
According to an incident report, about noon on a Saturday last month, Richardson picked up a woman and gave her a ride. When the 20-year-old tried to get 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 church.
The report said he later dropped the woman in a wooded area, threatening to shoot her if she turned around. Police said 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.
Richardson has since 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 bedroom community about 20 miles northwest of Charleston. He is also charged with kidnapping a fourth woman.