Attorney: Text messages will help defend pastor

Dale Richardson listens to charges against him at an August bond hearing. (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

By Nikki Gaskins

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- For the first time, the high-profile attorney presenting a Ladson pastor accused of multiple rapes and kidnappings went on camera to defend his client.

Charleston attorney Andy Savage, is representing Dale Richardson. Richardson is the former pastor of the Freedom Free Will Baptist Church in Ladson.

Savage is representing Richardson for the July 25 rape and kidnapping of a 20-year-old woman in Charleston County. According to Savage, there's no proof that a crime was ever committed.

"He could essentially be looking at life without parole," stated Savage.

Savage admits he has his work cut out for him. His client, Dale Richardson, is charged with several rapes and kidnappings throughout Dorchester and Charleston counties.

"I'm not defending moral behavior. I'm defending criminal behavior," Savage said.

According to Savage, the alleged victims in each case have their own troubles with the law -- stemming from drugs and even prostitution.

"Legally, you can't engage in voluntary conduct and then cry wolf about it," Savage said. "We have communications we've received, text messages between some of these women who've made these allegations."

Savage says, in time, the truth about what actually happened will come out likely in a court of law.

"We've done a pretty thorough investigation before we took on the case in terms of the conduct of all the individuals involved--not just Dale Richardson and I'm not sure it's a clear cut case as everyone would think," Savage said.

Richardson is currently jailed at the Charleston County Detention Center.

"He has a very positive attitude," Savage said.

Savage says he's in daily contact with Richardson's wife of nearly 30 years and children.

"They're very supportive and they're very interested in his defense," he said.

The high profile attorney says he took on Richardson's case after members of the former-pastor's own church approached him, hoping Savage can save Richardson from a life behind bars.

"It was clearly universal with church members that he's a non-violent person," Savage said.

Savage says church members are not funding Richardson's defense. Instead, loved ones close to the former pastor are footing the bill.

Savage says he's not completely sure if he'll represent Richardson against the charges he faces in Dorchester County.